It is a day that starts like any other day. But when Samantha is called by the hospital to say her fifteen-year-old daughter Keira has been hurt and is in a coma, and Julia’s daughter Grace comes home covered in blood, refusing to speak, two mothers’ lives come crashing down.
More than ten years ago – when their daughters first started at pre-school and formed an instant bond – sweet-natured single mum Julia and PTA queen bee Samantha had become unlikely friends.
For years, the two families’ lives were intertwined. Barbecues, dinner parties, sleepovers for the children. But then the girls drifted apart, with Keira falling in with the popular crowd, and Grace becoming quieter, more introverted, pursuing her dream of being an artist; and their mothers’ lives drifted apart too.
But now their lives have collided again. And Grace won’t tell Julia anything about what happened. But as Samantha’s daughter fights for her life– Julia is forced to ask herself: what is her own child hiding?
She can’t believe her gentle-natured girl could have done something terrible. But Grace is keeping a secret. And if it’s what Julia fears it might be, she could lose her daughter forever. Could she lie to protect the child she loves with her whole heart?
It’s no secret that Emma Robinson is one of my favourite authors. I know when I pick up one of her books that I am going to have my heartstrings tugged and her latest book is no exception. The thing is that when there is a dilemma between two characters, Emma has a way of making sure that we, the readers, are caught up in that dilemma with the characters and it feels impossible to choose a side. In this book it is Samantha and Julia who are on opposite sides. Samantha’s daughter is fighting for her life having been seriously injured and Julia’s daughter seems to be involved – but to what extent and why?
I went back and forth between the two mothers, feeling Samantha’s panic and fear as she sat next to her unconscious daughter, not knowing if she would wake up. And feeling Julia’s growing panic and fear as she fought an inner battle between her sense of what needed to be done and her instinct to protect her emotionally fragile daughter. Even when Julia made some poor decisions I could feel the desperation behind her choices.
I really liked the family dynamics – Samantha’s close family unit, and divorced single mum Julia but with a supportive ex husband. The characters and the way they relate to each other all feels natural and unforced. And I really loved the strong themes of friendship and how it can change.
I had one quibble which I strongly doubt anyone outside the medical profession would pick up on so I won’t elaborate on that and risk spoilers, and it didn’t affect or detract from the story itself anyway. The book does have some sensitive subjects but they are dealt with compassion and empathy.
Another winner that makes me wonder what I would do if I was a Samantha or Julia🤔