Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Books Read: Sere Prince Halverson - The Underside of Joy

Source - Received from Waterstones to review

No one can love her children like she does, can they?

With a wonderful husband, two animated kids and an extended family who regard her as one of their own, Ella counts as her blessings. Yet when her soul mate Joe tragically drowns, her life is turned upside down without warning, and she finds that the luck, which she had thought would last forever, has run out. When Joe’s beautiful ex-wife, who three years earlier deserted their children, arrives at the funeral – Ella fears the worst. She is right to.

Ella discovers she must struggle with her own grief, whilst battling to remain with the children and the life which she loves. Questioning her own role as a mother, and trying to do what is right, all she is sure of is that she needs her family to make it through each day. Yet when pushed to the limits of love, Ella must decide whether she is, after all, the best mother for her children?

I'm glad that I saw the Facebook post by Waterstones asking for reviewers for this book as it's truly a moving read and will definitely be in my top 10 books read this year.  It's a poignant story of what can happen when tragedy strikes and pulls the rug from under your comfortable life.

When Ella arrives in the town of Elbow following her divorce, she does not expect to fall in love so soon and become part of an instant family but that's precisely what happens when she meets single father Joe and his two children, Annie and Zach.  She becomes the centre of a loving family, with a husband who adores her, children who call her mommy which is what she's always wanted but couldn't have, as well as in-laws who've welcomed her into their extended family.

But her world crashes around her when, three years later, Joe is killed but at least she has the children to cling onto. Everyone is shocked when Joe's ex wife makes an appearance at his funeral and soon afterwards asks for access to the children she left behind.

Ella soon finds out that things were not quite as clear cut as Joe had told her, although Paige had initially left with no contact, she had been writing regularly to Joe and the children and had requested access but he'd hidden this fact from them all.  Can Ella and Paige come to an agreement that will enable them both to be involved in the children's lives?

It's hard to believe that this is a debut novel as it was extremely well written and handled delicate topics such as postnatal depression, infertility, custody battles very sensitively.  I think I connected with this book emotionally as I've seen personally how custody cases affect all involved not just the adults but the children too.

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