Matt Webster’s life is changed forever when he returns home from work to discover his wife has not only walked out on their marriage but has also abandoned their four-year-old son. Thrown in at the deep-end trying to juggle a demanding career in media with child-care, proves to be a massive learning curve for Matt but ultimately, a situation which brings rich rewards and Josh soon becomes the centre of his life.
I really enjoyed this; it’s always refreshing to read relationship-focused novels dealing with marriage and children from the male point of view, and I especially liked the blend of domestic tragedy with non-patronising, observational humour. The secondary characters are equally fleshed-out and add realistic colour such as Matt’s elderly father, and the absconded wife’s predatory best friend.
Fran, trapped in a soulless marriage with a controlling bully of a man and an indifferent son, lives for her sensitive, secret lover. They hatch a plan to make a new life together. But when the final rendezvous goes awry, she is left with a heart-stopping race to retrace her steps and resume her old life before her indiscretion is discovered. But what has happened to Jack? His silence is painful and confusing. Jack is married to Helena, trapped in a marriage with a needy, volatile, wealthy woman dependent on alcohol and irritated by Jack’s lack of creativity and earnings. But as their relationship begins to fragment, Fran finds the strength to break free of her destructive marriage to discover not only does she have the wherewithal to be truly independent, she’s found the confidence to build relationships based on truth and reality.
Such clever writing, in that my allegiance was with Fran, the ‘other woman,’ the whole way through, and not Helena. Full of tension, especially throughout Fran’s half of the story, and so addictive! It really kept me turning the pages. And as well as a pacy plot moving between Fran and Helena, there is real depth to the characters – whether we like them or not – a reality-based insight into relationships, love and marriage, and children. I love how the entire cast knits together, how they rise and fall by their own hand. It delivered all the elements I enjoy in a novel.