Review

Picking Up the Pieces Amanda Prowse

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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.

#IMWAYR

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.
Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.

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Welcome in to another It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Hope you all had a good week. We just hit a cold wet patch in our summer, just when things were going along so well. I guess we’ll be back on track soon enough.  I have just been doing the usual, some reading, some quilting, some viewing. I loved the third season of All Creatures Great and Small but they only have 7 episodes to a season, I wish it was double that!

What I read last week:

Picking Up the Pieces  is a review book.
A Wish For Winter  was from my shelf. I enjoyed it – loved the setting and the characters, the book talk, though I did find it a bit slow moving.
Tell Me A Story I thoroughly enjoyed, it was one of my slow reads, a chapter a night. I haven’t really read anything by either Pat Conroy or Cassandra King Conroy but I’d like to now.

What I am reading now:

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Slow and steady reads.

Up next:

Probably something short like a novella as I wait for Prince Harry’s book to publish. 

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2023

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a place to meet up and share what you have been, and are about to be reading over the week. It’s a great post to organise yourself. It’s an opportunity to visit and comment and er… add to your groaning TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started on J Kaye’s blog and then was hosted by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn here at The Book Date.
Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels or anything in those genres – join them.

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Welcome in to 2023.   May it be one to shower blessings on you all.

What I read last week:

What I am reading now:

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Listening to…

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Ongoing Slow Reads

Up next:

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Last Week’s Posts

First Book of the Year

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Review

The Art of Hiding. Amanda Prowse

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Published: Lake Union
Date: 22nd August 2017
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 290
Genre: Mainstream Fiction
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Rating:
4.5 stars            Add to Goodreads

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In The Art of Hiding, Amanda Prowse tells a story of a woman who seems to have lost almost everything. Nina has come from a poor background but has been caught up in the love and promise of nice things and a worry free life from her husband Finn.  When her husband dies in an accident she has two sons, a fifteen year old and ten year old, and she is about to find out all the things that Finn has been hiding from her.
Nina and her boys have lived in a large house, the boys have gone to an elite school and Nina has never worked since marrying Finn. She has been safely ensconced in her large house taking care of all the needs of her boys and husband. Now according to her sister that is not really healthy and as the days unfold, Nina’s sister Tiggy just might be right.  Where are those rich women when Nina’s world falls down around her. Well like rats leaving a sinking ship – they are gone.
When Nina returns with her two boys to her home town, it is really, really tough. Declan the ten year old is in shock, Connor her fifteen year old is by turn sullen with flashes of caring at odd times. Nina needs a job, but… how many jobs is she qualified for? Well very few or none actually.
The neighbourhood is a far cry from what they have been used to, but step by step they all make their way. Nina has guts and aided by her sister Tiggy she slowly finds her way forward. She begins to examine her life and choices, who was she… who is she now? It is difficult, her boys are struggling as you would expect, they are all grieving.  But there are unexpected offers of support and the people they meet are quite different to those they once knew.
This is a very realistic story of grief, shock and loss. Of being thrown in the deep end with the choice of sinking or swimming. It is about family and what it means to have true friends and the place of money in happiness.
I really liked the book and found myself returning to it any moment I had.