A missing boy. A missing book. A missing husband. A woman who must find them all to find herself. On the night Bernadette finally has the courage to tell her domineering husband that she’s leaving, he doesn’t come home. Neither does Conor, the little boy she’s befriended for the past five years. Also missing is his lifebook, the only thing that holds the answers. With the help of Conor’s foster mum, Bernadette must face her own past, her husband’s secrets and a future she never dared imagine in order to find them all. Exquisitely written and deeply touching, The Mountain in My Shoe is both a gripping psychological thriller and a powerful and emotive examination of the meaning of family … and just how far we’re willing to go for the people we love
I really didn’t know much about this book before opening it as I missed reading quite a lot of reviews during the Blog Tour since I had just started blogging and was still discovering all the great blogs to follow. I have to say the cover and title really drew me to this book and it has been on the top of my TBR for the past few weeks.
The story begins with a brief introduction from ‘The Book ‘followed by Bernadette, who coincidently can’t find said book. The Book is not only missing, but it’s also a main character in the novel which, along with Bernadette, play a significant part in a little boy’s life. I was immediately drawn to Bernadette’s character. I liked her within reading just the first few pages and that has to be because of Louise Beech’s fantastic writing.
Conor is a foster child living with foster mom Anne and to say he’s had a hard life is an understatement. This is where the book really hit home and touched me in a major way because many years ago I used to work as a foster care social worker with many kids on my caseload exactly like Conor. I just felt a connection to the whole story but to Conor especially as Louise Beech so eloquently showed his resilience, desire to belong, and his ability to trust and love even though he had been let down by so many people in his life. Her writing struck a cord with me as it was elegant yet heartfelt. There wasn’t any complicated back and forth shifts in time or unreliable narrators (which I’ve grown very tired of); this was a story that held drama, some mystery, suspense at the right times, and so much depth of emotions of caring people trying to make the best of their situations and hoping against hope there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.
I’ve waited several days to write this review as I just wasn’t sure how to put into words how special and powerful I felt this book was. Conor’s story could be and has been so many children’s stories (sadly) and it just brought back so many memories for me. When a book can do that, I attribute that to a wonderful story and outstanding writing as is the case with this novel. I enjoyed reading this so much. The one (minor) critique I have is that the clinical assessment parts sprinkled throughout somewhat disrupted the pace for me. However, this could be because I already knew this information from doing the job. One thing’s for sure, I’ll be first in line for Louise Beech’s next book!
Many thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my copy. I’m happy to provide an honest review.