A tender story of abandonment, loss and never giving up hope.
A really emotional read. Loved it.
About the Book
Mary O’Connor has been keeping a vigil for her first love for the past seven years.
Every evening without fail, Mary arrives at Ealing Broadway station and sets herself up among the commuters. In her hands Mary holds a sign which bears the words: ‘Come Home Jim.’
Call her mad, call her a nuisance, call her a drain on society – Mary isn’t going anywhere.
That is, until an unexpected call turns her world on its head. In spite of all her efforts, Mary can no longer find the strength to hold herself together. She must finally face what happened all those years ago, and answer the question – where on earth is Jim?
What I thought
This is the second novel by Abbie Greaves. Her debut novel The Silent Treatment still sits on my TBR shelf and after finishing this book I’m really looking forward to reading that too.
As I begin to set out my thoughts in this review I read the blurb for the book first, as I never like to give anything more away than what is already told in the book description. I see it mentions for fans of JoJo Moyes and though I have only read two of Moyes’ books I know exactly what they mean. It did remind me of Me Before You even though it follows a completely different story line.
The themes running through are of loss, abandonment, depression, especially depression in men. We are all aware now, that men are so much more reluctant to talk of their hidden emotions and feelings of despair. This book highlights so well, and with such heartfelt compassion the effects of keeping feelings buried not just for the sufferer but for their loved ones too.
The narrative slips back and forth in time. Starting out with Mary standing at the station with her placard of “Jim Come Home” she waits there every evening after work, where she has waited for the last 7 years, eternally hopeful that one day Jim will see it and return. She just needs to know he is safe.
Gradually through the chapters that slip back to when Mary and James (Jim) first met, to those early years of the love and passion they both felt for each other, we get to learn what happened with their relationship. Meantime, in the present, we meet Alice. Alice in her early twenties has always wanted to be a journalist, so far she works for the local paper covering trivial stories. After a chance encounter with Mary at the station, Alice wants to know Mary’s story, but there’s more to it than just getting a scoop to try to save her job at the local rag, she recognises that desperate sense of loss in Mary that Alice knows only too well herself.
In spite of the great sadness that pervades the story, there are so many light hearted moments too. Without going into the story too much, Kit, a young city banker is also one of the main characters throughout the book and it is his relationship with Alice that brings a lightness and humour to the narrative.
They are all fantastic characters, each with their own life story to tell. It’s a very emotive book which has caused me to shed a tear or two on more than one occasion whilst reading. I really enjoyed it, and with such a beautiful ending too.
♥ Happy Reading ♥
Thank you to Cornerstone for an advance review copy of this book via Netgalley.
The book publishes today in both e-format and hardback.