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The story of a mother’s loss and a mother’s love
on 7 March 2016
This is how the author describes her book and it sums up this touching story brilliantly.
Robert is married to Celeste and they are still recovering from the loss of their 8-year-old son, Jack, to leukaemia. This scenario must be every mother’s worst nightmare and the description of this terrible event is so real, to quote from the book:
’Celeste’s grief had gushed and flowed around her like a terrible flood of pain, forming an impassable moat, hemming her in and forcing him out. She had shrunk into herself like a tortoise resentful of the light. Jack had taken her heart with him, leaving his father with nothing but the shell.’
Sixteen months have passed but the raw grief has affected Celeste so much she is going through her days on automatic pilot even giving up her successful business making embroidered quilts and bedlinen and neglecting everyone around her.
Her life is completely changed when Robert’s sister, Georgia, returns from Australia to live in England and needs someone to look after her son Bruno for 5 days whilst she sorts out her new house. Bruno is exactly the same age as Jack and Celeste cannot even consider looking after him and assumes that Robert’s parents, Huxley and Marigold will be able to step in as they have always done with their grandchildren. However, Marigold suddenly has far too many things to do and Celeste has no option but to have Bruno.
Her first instinct is to reject him and do as little as she can with him but Bruno is full of energy and infuses the house with a child’s presence. He plays with Jack’s toys and goes into Jack’s room and slowly Celeste warms to him and her resentment begins to turn to joy. Bruno begins to collect strange items, a peacock’s feather, a horseshoe, a dead butterfly and he also appears to be having conversations with an imaginary person.
Celeste finally learns to let her son go by realising that life must go on and that there is still joy in the world. Bruno not only helps her to start living again but there is a twist at the end regarding his connection with Jack which is very moving.
l really enjoyed this book, the style of writing is simple but very descriptive and you empathise completely with Celeste as she learns to care again for another little boy and start to get her life back. I would recommend reading this book to anyone who has children, it is only 100 pages long but I will remember it for a long time and yet again I feel the need to read more of this author.
Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review.