The Mountain in my Shoe by Louise Beech – Blog Tour.

 

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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.

My Review

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.

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How to be Brave

imageI am certain that How to be Brave is going to be a huge success. Based on fact, there are two stories running throughout the novel and both are equally addictive. Natalie and her nine year old daughter Rose are struggling to accept and adapt to the fact that Rose has been diagnosed with type one diabetes. To make the injections that she needs to survive less of a battle Natalie starts to tell Rose about her great grandfather (Colin) who was adrift in a lifeboat for over a month during WW2. She adds to the story by reading an excerpt from Colin’s diary that was found in a box of items that belonged to his wife.
The other story focuses on Colin and his fellow survivors after the ship they were travelling on was torpedoed by the enemy. They had to find land before they ran out of supplies, cope with the blistering heat, some injuries and a constant companion -a shark.
At times I was very emotional. Reading about everything that Colin and his friends had to endure, understandably terrified, but still at times trying to make light of their situation.. And then at the same time reading about Natalie and Rose’s relationship being affected by the diabetes. Both very much alike they had to get past the anger and frustration that the diagnosis had brought. But reading about the events that occurred in 1943 helped them both.
I adored this novel. I did cry quite a lot. I don’t think I’ve cried so much over a book since reading Charlotte’s Web when I was about six years old! But while it didn’t make me laugh as such I did smile a few times. The relationship between Mother, Daughter, Colin and his friends was really quite special.
How to be Brave will definitely be one of my top ten books of the year. It’s a hard act to follow.
With massive thanks to Orenda Books for sending me a copy of this novel.