Nancy is four, nearly five. She talks all the time: in the car, on the way to nursery, to her extrovert older brother, to her collection of bears. But then, one February morning, everything changes. Nancy’s mum and dad split up. Her father Patrick moves away from their Bristol home to Newcastle. And Nancy stops talking.
Eva is forty-four, nearly forty-five. She didn’t expect to be the third wife of a much-loved household name, but eight years ago, she and semi-retired bad boy Michael Quinn fell in love. Eva knew marrying a much older man meant compromises, but it was the love of a lifetime for them both – until Mickey dies suddenly, leaving Eva alone with his gossipy diaries, their two pugs, and a distressing voice in the back of her mind, wondering if perhaps she’s sacrificed more than she meant to.
While Nancy’s parents negotiate their separation, the question of weekend contact is solved when Patrick volunteers his sister Eva’s house. It’s in Longhampton, an hour out of Bristol, with plenty of room for her to get to know a niece and nephew she’s barely met – even if Nancy continues to refuse to speak. Patrick is sure it’s just a phase but his soon-to-be-ex-wife is worried that something more traumatic lies at the heart of their daughter’s selective mutism.
Meanwhile, Eva begins to read through Mickey’s diaries, and with every page she’s forced to confront a view of her marriage that turns everything she believed about her late husband, her self – and her own heart – on its head. The fortnightly presence of two children in her peaceful, grown-up home – one constantly singing and performing, the other wordless and sad – initially drives Eva and the two pugs, Bumble and Bee, to exhaustion, but as spring turns into summer, a trust slowly begins to form between an anxious little girl with a heartbreaking secret, and a woman who has realised too late that what her soul yearns for is the love of a child.
All I ever wanted isn’t the usual kind of book I go for, however I came across this one and thought I’d give it a go. I struggled at first. Nothing really seemed to be happening and I like my fast paced books. I quickly came to the realisation that this wasn’t a fast paced book, it was so much more.
As I said, it took me a while to get into it but when I did, I thought it was brilliant. It always amazes me when a book takes you by surprise.
I really enjoyed the way the author touched on very real issues about very real family problems such as, divorce or separation and the impact it can have on the children. Of the way that grief can turn into isolation and loneliness. I can imagine what it’s like to go through something like this and how they are dealt with.
I found myself getting frustrated at times too. The anxiety between Patrick and Caitlin, the tension. I yelled so many times and had to put my kindle down several times to readjust my attitude. It says something about a book that can make you do that. That can give you the feels. Praise goes to the author for this accomplishment.
Although this wasn’t my typical book, I’m pleasantly surprised to have found it.
Happy Reading 🙂
I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book.