With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter dares to hope that she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.
But the reality of becoming parents proves much harder than Lucy and Jonah imagined. Jonah’s love and support is unquestioning, but as Lucy struggles with work and her own failing dreams, the strain on their marriage increases. Suddenly it feels like Lucy is close to losing everything…
Heart-wrenching and poignant, this latest work by bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: what does it mean to be a mother in today’s hectic world? And what if it’s asking too much to want it all? (From goodreads.com)
Published March 21st 2017 by Lake Union Publishing
I hadn't read anything by Amanda Prowse before reading this. I'm not sure why, I had a couple of her books on my Amazon wish list and had already identified that she sounded like an author I'd really enjoy. Since returning to blogging earlier this year, it was one author I saw a lot of praise for over on twitter, and her latest book, The Idea Of You created quite a bit of excitement among bloggers and I had it marked as a must read. So when I got a surprise email from netgalley with an invitation to read it, I accepted straight away. That was yesterday, and after downloading, taking a quick look and then finding myself finishing the whole book in a few hours, I can definitely say I will be reading more of Amanda's work very soon!
The Idea Of You is a touching and thoughtful book, telling the story of Lucy; almost forty and desperate for a child. Having married later than those around her, she's aware that time is running out, so when she finds out she is pregnant, she and her husband Jonah are delighted. But sadly, it's not to be, as Lucy faces miscarriage in early pregnancy. Only a few chapters into this book and already I felt connected and that this story would resonate with me. I have two children, but before my first child was born I too suffered a miscarriage and Amanda Prowse captures in startling honesty the feelings I remember having back then - of panic and fear to begin with, the indignity of the hospital cubical, the overwhelming feelings of loss, emptiness and guilt afterwards, with sensitivity and care.
What surprised me about this book was the development of Lucy throughout, as more 'roles' for this character were introduced or revealed. I think there's an aspect of Lucy that a lot of us can relate to, and again, I found myself nodding in agreement or having a memory evoked just by a turn of phrase or expression. I particularly thought the fraught and emotional relationship between Lucy and her step daughter was well written, convincing and honest. Each chapter ends with a letter written by Lucy, and it isn't clear until almost to the end who she is writing too. I wasn't expecting the turn the story took with regards to this, and it added an even extra layer of depth and back story to the main character.
This is an emotional book, and I had a lump in my throat several times throughout. Amanda Prowse's writing is heartfelt, intimate and sincere - an author's note explains why the subject of this book is close to her own heart and her honesty, experience and understanding is palpable. Lucy's journey isn't smooth or predictable, it is human. Yet among the ups and downs lies a tender and heart-warming tale of family and acceptance. I won't be leaving it long before I do read some more of Amanda's books and will look out eagerly for future releases.
(I read an advanced ebook copy courtesy of Netgalley)