I remember when a few years ago Nicola Thorne informed on the jacket of her latest book that due to a car accident she would never again be able do do a work of fiction.
At the time, I still had a few books of her large production unread, but the news made me infinitiely sad. Firstly, because of the author herself, her health and how she was doing. Secondly, being an egotist, the thought of there being no more new Nicola Thorne novels to look forward to.
Eight days ago I discovered her new book here on Amazon. Three days after, it landed in my post box and this morning at 05.30 I finished it.
Nicola Thorne has indicated this might be a book a bit different from the rest of her production. Perhaps. It is surely different, in as much as we learn through Eleanor's story what really happened to the author and how profoundly it changed her life. But qualitywise, the book is no different from the rest of Ms Thorne's excellent production. The book is, however, purely fiction, apart from the accident itself and Eleanor's hospitalization - and Eleanor's cat Melody, who is based on the author's beloved and eccentric pet Pinky!
"On a day like today" could only have been written by Nicola Thorne. Her insight into life's different circumstances, people revealing their true selves. Into values, or lack of them. Into life. Nobody else could have written it so to the point and mind-opening.
From the first pages, describing the horror of the accident, the days in intensive care and the long weeks of hospitalization - I was hooked. Not pleasant reading, one would think, but through the author's pen it was actually made interesting. Realistic to the the point of being rather pragmatic. No moaning about the pain, the helplessness, the humilitation - simply telling it as it was.
As Eleanor is finally allowed to return to her home, she must adapt to an entirely new life. In front of her lie months, probably years of treatment and partly healing, since she knows she will never be completely the same. Used to be a strong woman in charge of her life, Eleanor must face being dependent on other people's help. However,a main joy takes place as a direct result of the accident when her daughter Alex comes to stay. Mother and daughter have always had a somewhat strained relationship, but the accident changes this and brings the two closer together than ever.
I will not go into further detail, only urge new and old readers not to miss this one. A fine, thoughtful, wise and splendidly written book by one of England's all time greatest novelists.
Nicola Thorne will probably not be writing as much as before. Still, I dare hope she finds some new ideas so tempting that she simply cannot resist!