Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Guest Book Review: Amanda Prowse - A Mother's Story

Reviewed by Emma Crowley

I deserve all this because I did the worst thing a woman can do. The very worst. 

Jessica's wedding was like a fairytale. She looked radiant in a dress strewn with crystals. Her Dad conquered his nerves and made a tearful speech. And her gorgeous husband Matthew declared himself the luckiest man alive. Together, Jessica and Matthew feel like they can take on the world. 

But when their beautiful baby girl is born, Jessica is gripped with panic and fear. She can't tell anyone how she feels. Even when her life starts to spiral out of control... 

This is her story. A mother's story.

Amazon links: Kindle, Hardback or Paperback

Warning: Make sure you have tissues within easy reach before you start this amazing book. Amanda Prowse is certainly not one for resting on her laurels and knows not to keep her dedicated fans eagerly waiting for too long between each release. Amanda's last release Christmas for One was only published in December (and was reviewed by myself for  the blog) but luckily for us she is back with what is undoubtedly her best book yet and will keep all her readers hooked on such a sensitive subject which was dealt with in a superb way. A Mother's Story is a thought provoking, well written, if at times hard to read (through the tears that is), book that after a run of not so great books had me enthralled right from the prologue where we encounter a character being checked into some sort of unit or clinic. We don't know what the circumstances are but from reading just a few paragraphs I was keen to keep going and find the answers to numerous questions.

The book opens as we meet Jessica Maxwell and Matthew Deane as they are celebrating their wedding day, sometime later Jessica is recalling what a wonderful day she had as she married the man of her dreams. Coming from two totally different upbringings she feels she has the met the man she was destined to spend the rest of her life with. Matthew has made her complete and her love for him radiates from the pages, she needs him and just can't get enough of him. Jessica maybe more so than Matthew has a real need for strength and love in her life. I'm not saying Matthew doesn't love Jessica but she can be very up and down. Jessica requires Matthew to be in her life and she clings to him, he is her safety blanket as once her parents had been for her all through her childhood. She seems so stuck on Matthew like she can't exist without him taking the term rock a bit too far.

Soon the story is interspersed with diary extracts from Jessica's time in some unit. We don't know why she is there but I was left confused as to what could have happened that caused such a turnaround in her once apparently fantastic life. The writing in the diary is of stark contrast to the Jessica the reader initially becomes familiar with.  The differences are distinctive between the Jessica we now read about compared to the young woman experiencing the first heady days as a newlywed. It's like we are reading about two totally different characters but yet we know they are the same person but something devastatingly traumatic has brought such a turnaround in Jessica and as we progress we slowly unravel the clues. It was a clever method to use the diary entries throughout the book as it gave real hints at the drama that was to come.

We discover how Jessica becomes pregnant but the birth does not go to plan but yet she still has a beautiful daughter Lily. From here the book took a whole new level of just absolutely mind blowing writing filling me with emotions I never thought I could experience whilst reading a book. Not having any children myself (teaching five year olds is enough for me at the moment) it is the sign of a truly talented author who can have you identifying with and feeling such strong emotions for what Jessica is going through. You have great empathy for her as post-natal depression can affect any woman who has given birth. Yet Matthew, her parents, in laws and best friend Polly are always there for Jessica. It is admirable how they stick through her through thick and thin doing their best to support Jessica and try to bring her out from under this black cloud. But this description really just sums up how she is feeling 'She stared out of the window and felt awkward, like a guest that didn't know or understand the rhythm of the house'.

Too say anymore would ruin the story but it is clear Amanda is passionate about the subject matter of this book . The writing flows seamlessly throughout and she divulges the story with such compassion for her main character. At no point does the narrative become stagnant or come to a stand still. As a reader we are kept hooked and turning the pages wanting to know what will happen but at the same time reluctant to discover if our conclusions can be confirmed or denied. The author was brave to tackle the subject of postnatal depression but she has done it with such a genuine sensitivity and care that you really would hope any woman reading this book and experiencing the same feelings and issues would take heart and seek help as this is not something that can be dealt with alone but rather with the help of experts and those around you.

A Mother's Story is an outstanding piece of work that has without doubt doubt catapulted Amanda Prowse into a new league and will unquestionably earn her plenty of new readers as well as deeply satisfy her loyal followers. She had me in the palm of her hand from the word go right through to the conclusion where amidst tears aplenty  I was reluctant to leave the characters behind. This is not easy for an author to do  but Amanda has achieved this having written such a remarkable story that deserves to be read by many.

I'd like to thank Laura at Midas PR for sending us a copy of this eBook and Emma for this fantastic review.

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