What’s this book about?
From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes the moving story of a man whose life is changed in an instant. How do you start again when you lose the only love you’ve ever known?
When Nick’s wife Kerry falls ill and dies, he realises for the first time how fragile his happiness has always been, and how much he’s been taking his good life and wonderful family for granted. Now, he suddenly finds himself navigating parenthood alone, unsure how to deal with his own grief, let alone that of his teenage son, Olly.
In the depths of his heartbreak, Nick must find a way to navigate life that pleases his son, his in-laws, his family and his friends—while honouring what Kerry meant to them all. But when it comes to his own emotions, Nick doesn’t know where to begin. Kerry was his childhood sweetheart—but was she really the only one who could ever make him happy?
And in the aftermath of tragedy, can Nick and his son find themselves again?
Here’s what I thought…
Well, Amanda Prowse has done it once again and delivered a beautifully written novel that will tug at your heartstrings and pull out all your emotions! In a slight twist to her usual strong female protagonist, The Light in the Hallway features a central male character and focuses on the loss of a loved one and how it affects family dynamics from a male point of view. Nick was with his wife Kerry from a young age and become a young father too. This meant that he didn’t proceed with his dreams of going to university but settled down happily to family life. Nick and Kerry’s life together wasn’t perfect but when he loses her to cancer and becomes a single parent to son Olly, he’s lost as the life with Kerry is all he has ever known. So it was wonderful to see him examine what he truly wanted from his life going forward. This was especially interesting for me to read as he was a “people pleaser” and often they are so busy looking to achieve the happiness of others that their own is forgotten. It’s a trait often focused upon only in women so it was refreshing to see this from a male perspective.
My favourite part of the narrative though was the father and son relationship that changed and grew after Kerry’s death. It was so poignant and helps to squash the myth that men shouldn’t talk about their emotions and keep them in check. It’s a well known fact that talking about feelings and acknowledging mental health issues is incredibly important for men so it see this cleverly done as the basis for this open and honest relationships between father and son was very much welcomed. There were also flashbacks in the narrative to Nicks childhood and his friendship with his two closest friends (Alex and Eric) as boys. These scenes provided an engaging and entertaining background to their friendship, explaining their adult connections and once again showing that men need that support from their peers as well as their family.
Once again there were a few tears being held back towards the end (oh who am I trying to kid-they were all over my face leaving me a snotty, blotchy mess!) as a perfectly crafted ending took me to a place where I was happy to leave Nick. Amanda’s books always feel like I’m catching up with old friends and I imagine her characters scattered all across the country-living their lives as if they are real people and getting on with whatever life throws at them. She has a wonderful gift for bringing her characters to life for her readers and I can’t wait for more of them to pop out of her head and come to meet us.
Highly recommended by me.
Meet the author…
Amanda Prowse likens her own life story to those she writes about in her books. After self-publishing her debut novel, Poppy Day, in 2011, she has gone on to author twenty-two novels and six novellas. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages and she regularly tops bestseller charts all over the world. Remaining true to her ethos, Amanda writes stories of ordinary women and their families who find their strength, courage and love tested in ways they never imagined. The most prolific female contemporary fiction writer in the UK, with a legion of loyal readers, she goes from strength to strength. Being crowned ‘queen of domestic drama’ by the Daily Mail was one of her finest moments. Amanda is a regular contributor on TV and radio but her first love is, and will always be, writing.