This post was originally published at Novelicious.com and is now at WritingTipsOasis.com. WritingTipsOasis.com acquired Novelicious.com in June 2022.
Reviewed by Susan Lobban
Anna is pregnant with her first baby and has big plans for her family of three. When Freya is born, however, she is not quite the bundle of joy Anna expected and her plans are thrown in disarray. After a lot of soul searching, Tobias convinces his wife that her dreams of moving to France do not have to be shelved.
Anna and Tobias forge forward and find a farmhouse in Languedoc, but they have to share it with a plethora of wildlife and a hippy tenant called Lizzy. Every day is a challenge coping with Freya’s mental and physical difficulties. Anna can’t help but bond with her daughter, but Tobias is throwing himself into work. Even though they live in the same house, they are living very different lives. Anna feels lost and she doesn’t even have her usual sanctuary of cooking as her French kitchen is over-run by rodents.
Life may not have turned out as Anna planned, but she is determined that it will not remain a mess forever.
Anna and Tobias may be fictional, but their story is not. It is actually based on the author’s own struggles with her daughter, who has cerebral palsy. I felt, when reading, that I was getting a true insight into the difficulties parents in this situation must face.Both parents react to the arrival of their first baby in very different ways and I could totally understand both points of view. As a mother, I felt Anna’s pain and it just melted my heart every time Freya responded in a positive way – especially when she snuggled her knitted rabbit for the first time. Tobias’s response to bury his head in the sand is understandable, but it does start to wear thin when it leaves Anna feeling like she is a single parent. I wanted to shake him and get him to realise he should focus on what Freya can do rather than what she can’t.
Reading this book was a rollercoaster of emotions; heartbreaking one minute, uplifting the next. Rather than being a hard book to read, it is written in a heartfelt way that makes you fall in love with little Freya and fills you with hope that this fragile family can survive. The characters they surround themselves with add some much needed light relief and prove that you can find support in tough times in the most unexpected places.