Sunday, 3 April 2016

Review - The Way We Were by Sinead Moriarty

There’s something about Sinead Moriarty’s books that I just absolutely love - her writing is consistently first-class and the stories she produces are always brimming with emotion and full of drama from beginning to end. The Way We Were, Sinead’s latest novel, was absolutely no exception and I have to say it was sensational. It completely blew me away and was everything I thought it would be and more. 

In this novel we meet Alice and Ben who live with their two daughters, Jools and Holly, in London. With Alice working as a GP in her own practice and Ben working as a surgeon, they juggle a busy work schedule with looking after their two children which isn’t always easy. However, Ben’s mind is firmly elsewhere and he is so desperate for some adventure that when an opportunity comes up for him to go on a humanitarian trip to Eritrea he jumps at the chance, ignoring Alice’s desperate protests. Having lost her parents in a car crash she is fearful of losing Ben and having her family torn apart and her fears become a reality when, one day, she receives a call from the foreign office informing her that her precious husband is believed to have been killed by a landmine. Although not known to the foregin office or Alice, Ben has been kidnapped so what happens when he eventually manages to return to her two years later? Can they pick up where they left off? 

This novel is told from the perspective of different characters, namely Holly, Alice and Ben, and this absolutely worked in this book’s favour although I would have liked to have seen some written from Jools’ perspective. Nevertheless, thanks to the story being presented in this way, I was able to form a very clear picture of what was going on and got a really good insight into what the characters were feeling and exactly what they were all going through. It made me feel like I was a real part of the family and I felt that I was able to connect with them and what they were all experiencing. I have to say that I was particularly struck by Holly’s chapters who, despite being the youngest member of the family, was wise beyond her years and cared so much for those around her.

The Way We Were features a number of different themes that come together to create a story that is guaranteed to pull on any reader’s heartstrings. At the centre of it all is the theme of grief where we see the characters deal with it in a different way but who all end up feeling guilty and blaming themselves for what happened. Then there was the theme of family and friendship shining through with everyone coming together and supporting eachother to get through what was an extremely difficult time for all. We also saw the theme of self-harm come into this novel which added a whole new dimension to this book and raised a number of questions of its own. 

After finishing The Way We Were, one thing that’s certain is that Sinead remains firmly on my list of favourite authors and I will never hesitate to pick up a book that is written by her. All in all it was a truly magnificent novel that despite it’s relatively sombre theme also contained some more humerous moments meaning that whilst reading this book I felt every single possible emotion. It was one of those books that was so beautifully written that I never wanted it to end and certainly never wanted to put it down. 

I would like to end this review by saying a massive thank you to the publishers for sending me a copy of this book. It was a privilege to receive and read such an incredible novel!