Saturday, 20 May 2017

Book Review - The Hope Family Calendar by Mike Gayle - Back Catalogue Books - #AroundTheUKIn144Books #Surrey

Back Catalogue Books is my new regular Saturday feature, focusing on books that are not the latest releases. There is going to be a mix of Q&As and also reviews, depending on what I have the space for. 

If you are an author wanting to take part in Back Catalogue Books then please do email on gilbster at gmail dot com and I'll whizz the questions over to you. 

I hope everyone enjoys this weekly look back at some of the slightly older books that are about but still great, going to aim to read books that have been out for at least 6 months, and that I eventually make a dent in my TBRs as a result of it!

Given I downloaded this in July of last year, I can't help but think its definitely valid for this feature, and about time I read it!  

Amazon UK
Title: The Hope Family Calendar
Author: Mike Gayle
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: 16th June 2016
Rating: 4.5 Stars

Tom Hope is broken. Ever since his wife Laura died he hasn't been the same man, and definitely not the same father. Luckily for Tom his mother-in-law Linda is around to pick up the pieces and look after his two struggling daughters, Evie and Lola.

But Tom getting arrested on the first anniversary of his wife's death is the last straw for Linda.

In a last bid attempt to make Tom reconnect with his daughters she takes drastic action and leaves for Australia. With two fast-maturing daughters Tom has to learn how to accept his responsibilities and navigate the newly discovered world of single fatherhood - starting immediately.

With only himself to rely on, will Tom fall back into grief or finally step up and be the father his girls need?

Far more serious in places than the average Mike Gayle novel, this is one family's journey to come to terms with the death of Laura, husband to Tom, and daughter to Linda, and mother to Evie and Lola. One year on from her death, and Linda is at her wits end, as Tom is still deep in grief but turning into a workaholic and barely spends any time with his daughters, while she has moved in and taken over Laura's role. 

Linda realises there is only one thing she can do to force Tom to take control of his own actions, and make him step up to the world of single parenthood, and she flies off to Australia for 6 months, despite it hurting her to be separated from her grandchildren. 

The book is told from both Tom and Linda's perspectives and on the whole it is an uplifting story, there are moments that will make you smile, and Mike Gayle's normal wit is definitely there to shine through in places, such as Clive, Tom's new friend. 

I loved reading about what Linda was getting up to Australia, and how she was coping. She has her ups and downs but its lovely to read about. Tom on the other hand struggles big time at first, and slowly learns and remembers how to be a parent. He is scared of doing the wrong thing, but his daughters are generally great girls and I especially loved Lola the youngest. 

Tom over the course of the book experiences a real rollercoaster of emotion, as he tries to get life back on track for him and the girls. Sometimes he is a typical non thinking man, others he is a compassionate father and goes to great lengths to make sure he can fulfill promises to his daughters. 

The Hope Family Calendar is a pleasureable story that I think would give griefing people some hope at the end of the tunnel. Tom and Linda both do a lot of growing in the novel, and after part 1 was finished, and the story was moving in the right direction, I found it very hard to put down, as I was enamoured in their story, while crossing my fingers that things would work out well. 

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Hodder for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

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