Published: Lake Union Publishing
Date: January 10th 2023
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
As Nora and her British Army officer husband, Gordy, pack up yet another home and leave the sun of Cyprus for the drizzle of England, she can’t shake a feeling of regret—at her failure to follow her own dreams, but also, if she’s honest, at having ended up an officer’s wife at all, drifting through a life of temporary homes and temporary relationships.
Since losing her parents at a young age, Nora’s life has been lacking an anchor: someone or something to make her feel secure. Her marriage has been her only permanent relationship, and just as even that appears to be fizzling out, a tragedy forces Nora into the role of legal guardian to her seven-year-old nephew, Ted. Faced suddenly with a responsibility she never dreamed of, how can Nora possibly offer the boy the kind of unconditional love he deserves, when she’s never experienced it for herself?
But as she navigates the precarious and unfamiliar world of parenthood, Nora begins to see herself through Ted’s eyes, as someone worthy of love and even joy. When she’s welcomed into the previously intimidating huddle of mums at the school gate, she has to wonder: is it too late to smash down the other barriers she’s built—and to have a second chance at a happy marriage with Gordy?
Picking Up the Pieces is a great title for this novel. There are quite a few pieces to be picked up. Nora is really not feeling fulfilled or happy in her marriage and it seems her husband is exactly the same. She has had a tough upbringing that has left her rather stand offish and not trusting of people, especially friendly overtures, her early childhood also put her off having children because she felt she wouldn’t make a good mother.
Her sister – much younger – is struggling unbeknown to Nora. Kiki was just a toddler when they lost there parents and life was even stranger still from then on. Depression dogs Kiki and in spite of great friends and a beautiful young son, she is just not coping. When Nora gets a call to come and take care of Ted because Kiki is ill, its one of the biggest challenges she has faced.
I found this a really page turning book, staying up at night to finish it. I loved the characters and their struggles. The themes of mental illness, loneliness, marriage difficulties, childhood wounds on the one hand and friendship, kindness, and on the other, being willing to be honest and explore really difficult issues. My heart went out to Ted, I loved how Nora grew and changed.
All in all a memorable read.