When sound designer Su, a divorced mother of one daughter, falls in love with Jeremy, a widowed father of two sons, they want to build a new life together. As neither of their houses in Worcester is big enough for a family of five, they decide to build a dream home in farmland outside the city.
For Su, it’s an opportunity to heal the past wounds of betrayal and loss, while failed entrepreneur Jeremy sees a chance to finally impress his overbearing father. But with financial misjudgements, secret transgressions and lies creating cracks where this new family attempts to blend into one, will they ever be able to cement their ‘happily ever after’?
Alison Jean Lester was born in the US and has also lived for years in the UK, Singapore and Japan. She is the author of novels Yuki Means Happiness, Lillian on Life, Glide, poetry, short stories, plays, and non-fiction books on communication. She currently lives in Worcestershire, England.
My thoughts: this clever book charts the high points and the intense lows of a relationship in a blended family. Su is a sound engineer and mother of one teenage girl. Jeremy is slightly feckless and has two sons – Ned and Tom. Ned is still young enough to need a mother, while Tom is dealing with the drama of being a teenage boy. Su falls in love with these boys and when her and Jeremy’s relationship falls apart, it is leaving not only the house they’ve built, but the almost stepsons she struggles with.
Jeremy’s unbelievably stupid actions cost him everything, he throws away love, happiness and family by acting appallingly. He’s a bit of a child in many ways, living off an inheritance, he’s never really worried about how to pay for things or getting a job. Su has been supporting them while he “project manages” the house build. Only she has no idea about the amount of debt he’s got into – the bit where he breaks and then throws away a lamp that cost over £1000 made me gasp in genuine horror. What an insane waste of money.
The final straw is awful, the secrets Su discovers hidden on his laptop will make you feel a bit sick. He’s not a murderer, but what he was contemplating is really grim. I can totally understand Su’s immediate reaction and anger. Her hurt too, this is a man she trusted, she loved and who abused that.
As an examination of a modern relationship, this is an intelligent and very 21st century book. The children are the ones who lose the most, especially angry, confused Ned, who doesn’t remember his biological mother (she died when he was very young) and now seems about to lose Su, who he calls Mummy. Compelling and at times painful reading.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.