I’m Joanne and I’m passionate about reading! I enjoy a wide variety of books but would say my favourite genres are contemporary fiction or thrillers and I also enjoy a good love story. I love hearing about what others are reading and look forward to sharing what I am reading. I am a member of two book groups plus the wonderful Book Connectors on Facebook so have plenty people offering inspiration about what new books to read. And plenty people to share details of what I’ve been reading. I review for Lovereading and Netgalley, as well as sharing my reviews on Amazon, GoodReads, Twitter and Facebook.
Please see my review policy page for details of what I like to read and how to contact me. Portobello Book Blog Review Policy Page
I am a big fan of Amanda Prowse’s writing and you will find many of her earlier books reviewed on my blog. The most recent was Mr Portobello’s Morning Paper which of course I couldn’t resist given the title! Today is publication day for her new novel The Day she Came Back and I’m delighted to share my thoughts on this book.
Eighteen year old Victoria has lived with her gran since the death of her parents from drug related causes when she was just a baby. Her grandmother Prim has been a wonderfully supportive influence in her life encouraging Victoria to be the best she can and always being there for her. So you can imagine her devastation when her grandmother dies suddenly and unexpectedly and a woman comes to her funeral who claims to be Victoria’s mother. Not only is she dealing with her grief over her grandmother’s death but also with the realisation that she has been lied to all her life.
All the emotions of shock, grief, even guilt will be so recognisable by anyone who has experienced a loss. Anger, guilt, fear, confusion: they’re all laid bare and all totally convincing. It made me feel very protective of Victoria, wondering how it would feel to be completely alone and how to cope so young. Victoria is the same age as my younger daughter and I was trying to imagine her having to cope with all that Victoria went through. One particular part of the story that really resonated with me was when Victoria realised “that she was now the sole custodian of the family history, the keeper of all these memories”. Anyone who has lost a parent will recognise that feeling that it’s not just their physical presence which has gone, but also all their stories.
Following Prim’s death and the meeting with the woman claiming to be her mother, Victoria showed her immaturity with some of her decisions and in the way she treated some people including her loyal and loving friend Daksha and her grandmother’s companion Gerald. I was on occasion annoyed and disappointed with her but then I had to remind myself that she was really young and hurting. She really needed someone to guide and advise her. It was good though to see her learn from her mistakes and begin to mature over the course of the novel.
The Day She Came Back is a novel about love, sacrifice and the power of forgiveness. As with all of Amanda Prowse’s books, I found it to be a very engaging read and one where I really believed in her characters, particularly because of the sensitive and insightful way she writes about their emotions and actions. This is a powerful and compelling family drama, an emotional and uplifting read.
My thanks to Sarah at Book on the Bright Side for inviting me to be part of the tour and for my review copy of the book from Netgalley. The Day She Came Back is published today by Lake Union in paperback, ebook and audiobook formats. You can order your copy here: The Day She Came Back
From the back of the book
From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes a story that asks: how do you forgive the family that lied to you, and love the mum you never had?
When her loving, free-spirited grandmother Primrose passes away, Victoria is bereft, yet resilient—she has survived tragedy before. But even her strength is tested when a mysterious woman attends Prim’s funeral and claims to be the mother Victoria thought was dead.
As the two women get to know each other and Victoria begins to learn more about her past, it becomes clear that her beloved grandmother had been keeping life-changing secrets from her. Desperate for answers, she still struggles to trust anyone to tell her the truth.
To live a full and happy life, Victoria knows she must not only uncover the truth, but find a way to forgive her family. But after so many years, is trusting them even possible?