A story written beautifully in 3 parts depicting life in its entirety, with tragedy, grief, secrets, inner strength and ability to move on
Part 1 : Jan 2012 : introduction to the two main characters Ed and Rachel
Ellie and Ed Moran with newborn Oli live a happy life till Ellie dies in a car accident, which Ed’s brother, Simon was driving. Ed is devastated and is barely able to survive the tragedy, just living on for his child, Oli. But Ed is still unable to talk to Simon about the details of the accident which took the life of his young wife.
Rachel with her best friend Mo share a flat together. Rachel is in childcare, looking after babies while parents are at work. She lives a life of a carefree girl but has her own personal problems, with her dad selling their family home and missing her mom, even after so many years of her death.
Part 2 : March 2012 : meeting of Ed and Rachel
Ed gets baby Oli to the child care where he meets Rachel for the first time. He is dealing with his own grief, doubts about his dead wife and Simon’s silence about the accident. There are more questions than answers. Rachel helps him by looking after Oli and by being there for him at his points of breakdown as she too understands loss. But in her eagerness to help Ed, she abuses his trust in her and makes a mistake of opening the secret, hidden in the cupboard. Ed comes to know, considers it a betrayal and they separate. A beginning of something is squashed abruptly.
Part 3 : September 2016 : paths crossing of Ed and Rachel
Ed and Rachel meet again after 4 years. Rachel is his son’s primary teacher and initially there is awkwardness followed by discussions, secrets revealed, mystery solved, anger vanquished, forgiveness given, and friendships regained . Love starts budding ultimately….
Both Rachel and Ed are well characterised, their transformation and maturity over the course of time is both gradual and dramatic. Ed’s feeling of helplessness, his grief over his wife is written with a lot of pathos, I could literally feel his pain emanating from the pages. His finding the situation unbearable and taking steps to start anew is admirable. Self discovery is amazing….
Rachel on the other hand is an insecure, unsure, wine loving, fun girl who has a lot growing up to do in the first half. One mistake changed her world, broke her heart but brought out her inner strength and determination. Her growth from a girl without an aim to a woman going back to school and retraining, was like a butterfly emerging, strong and sure. It was an absolute pleasure to see her as a teacher, radiating self confidence and happiness yet her heart stumbling when she meets Ed after 4 years..
Anna Mansell in her second novel after how to mend a broken heart, has written a beautiful prose, where words are chosen with love and the story just flows seamlessly. Anna understands what makes a romance stand out. She adds a bit of suspense and mystery and a whole lot of strength, finding oneself and second chances. There are times when time heals all hurts and fate plays its mysterious hand… Que sera sera..
An advice which Rachel gives Ed when she comes to know of his loss and baby Oli…
Bitterness and anger, it changes nothing but our hearts. It makes us ill. Acceptance and learning to cope, to manage, to find a way to put on the face of someone who is dealing with it on the days when you aren’t, that’s what you need to find..
That’s life and we all need to find the inner strength and make peace with the circumstances and face it head on.. That’s all we need to do and that’s all we can ever do….
Brilliantly shown.. Ms. Mansell.
I received an ARC from NetGalley and publisher Bookouture and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.
My rating : 4.5 stars
About the Author
Anna had a brush with ‘fame’ as a magician’s assistant back in 1977. Having failed at acting, singing and professional murder mystery parties (she was ALWAYs the one to die!), she fell to something much more solitary: writing. How To Mend a Broken Heart was her first novel and her life was not on the line in order to write it, or Since You’ve Been Gone. Anna lives on a dairy farm in Cornwall with her two children, her husband, and her ex-racing greyhound, Olive Dog.
Since Rachel lost her mother she has drifted through life, never settling down. Then she meets Ed, recently widowed and with a new baby, and is compelled to help him and his son. Ed is struggling to cope, and his friends and family all tiptoe around his grief.
Then Rachel discovers something Ed’s wife was hiding from him – something that changes everything. But she knows that memories of lost loved ones are precious, and should be protected at all costs…
Can Rachel help Ed learn to live in a world where his wife is no longer around to tell her side of the story? And can Ed help Rachel to finally open her heart to a happy future?
Publication date : 28th July 2017
Publisher : Bookouture
Language : English
Available on Amazon
Grief mystery romance and fate