As the war in Vietnam stutters to a close, a heavily pregnant Faith flees America for a new life in England. Leaving behind everything she knew, including the mystery of what happened to the father
of her unborn child after he went missing behind enemy lines. Three decades on and her son, thirty-something slacker Dan, knows he’s wasting his life in pubs, nightclubs, and his dead-end job. That all
changes, though, when a man with storied eyes and an old army jacket introduces himself as the father Dan never had a chance to know.
But is Jacob, a battered and broken war veteran, really who he claims to be? As Jacob’s true purpose in seeking him out becomes clear, Dan comes to understand that his life is very far from meaningless and that the choices he makes might have deadly and irredeemable consequences.
Readers who enjoy genre-bending books that play with themes of reality and identity will love The Heart Ladder!
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Sibby Spencer is an author, poet, podcaster and regular book reviewer for BBC Radio Derby. She enjoys playing around with the themes of reality and possibility, and creating characters who are very human in their flaws – yet capable of revelation and redemption. She loves getting lost in a good novel, swimming in the sea, learning new things and dancing in her kitchen. She lives in Derbyshire with her husband and two children.
My thoughts: this started off one way and then went somewhere very different. Dan is a somewhat aimless young man, working in a bookshop by day and hanging out at clubs and parties, getting wasted with his friends by night. He’s in love with his colleague Fiona, but won’t admit it. When a stranger appears, claiming to be his dad, Jacob, MIA in Vietnam years ago, he’s not sure what to believe.
He’s also getting involved with an activist group, but one that perhaps can’t be trusted, the leader Quinn, is charismatic but there’s a darkness in him and Dan might just be dragged into something terrible.
Can Dan learn the truth before it’s too late? Who is the man claiming to be his missing father? Why has he appeared now? The book takes a sudden twist that throws the whole plot so far in a different direction, but if Dan can learn the truth, he might be able to stop disaster in its tracks and find out about his past too.
Dan was a bit of a useless man to begin with, and he isn’t very nice to his mum, Faith, or Fiona at times, he seemed a bit lost. When he finally learns some things about Jacob, he realises he needs to change and fix his relationships. In doing that, his whole life gets better. I liked Faith and Fiona, I’m glad they got on. Dan needs them both to steady him and help him grow up a bit. An interesting and quirky read.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.