About the Book
On the night Bernadette finally has the courage to tell her domineering husband that she’s leaving, he doesn’t come home. Neither does Conor, the little boy she’s befriended for the past five years. Also missing is his lifebook, the only thing that holds the answers. With the help of Conor’s foster mum, Bernadette must face her own past, her husband’s secrets and a future she never dared imagine in order to find them all.
Exquisitely written and deeply touching, The Mountain in My Shoe is both a gripping psychological thriller and a powerful and emotive examination of the meaning of family … and just how far we’re willing to go for the people we love.
How to be Brave was one of my favourite novels from 2015 so I was really looking forward to reading Louise’s new novel. It’s a completely different type of novel, whilst both books are about survival this one was also more of a thriller.
Conor is a young boy in care who gets into a stranger’s car after school. Very anxious to find him are Anne his foster mother and Bernadette who has become his friend through a voluntary friendship scheme. Bernadette has become very close to him through the scheme and he thinks a lot of her. She hasn’t told her husband about their friendship sensing that he would disapprove and stop her going. She had been planning to leave her husband on the day that Conor disappeared but he failed to come home from work.
I worked out fairly early on who Conor was with but I don’t think it was ever meant to be a shock. What is important is why it happened and Conor’s life up to that point. The book tells both Bernadette and Conor’s story throughout but there also chapters from his lifebook. This was a book that would be given to Conor when he turned 18 and it would give him an idea of his family history. These chapters were at times devastating to read, but as well as highlighting the bad side of our care system it also showed that there were those who wanted to do the best for him. It would be wrong to judge people in this novel. Conor’s mothers story was in its self very upsetting and due to her own childhood she was ill equipped to provide the best care for her own children.
Conor was an amazing character, I loved the chapters that he narrated. They showed a need to trust, to love and be loved and also an amazing sense of humour. What was absent was a level of self-pity, he just accepted that his life was a little different to other people. He showed anger but also remorse for any hurt he caused.
There were twists and heartbreak but also friendship and love in another fantastic and heartwarming novel from Louise Beech.
With thanks to Karen Sullivan for the copy received.