Rosie is starting to feel more than a little taken by granted by her family. Despite being a busy primary school teacher, a job she loves, she is still expected to do pretty much everything at home for her heart surgeon husband Tom and their four children. I expect that many working mums will have a lot of sympathy for her! She really wishes that her family would just think occasionally about helping out a bit round the house and that her life could change a bit. What she doesn’t know is that it is about to change dramatically. While driving she hits a teenage boy, just a glancing blow really, and a secret which her husband has long held is suddenly exposed. At the same time, she is diagnosed with breast cancer. With her life seeming to be spiralling out of control, Rosie makes the decision to leave home for while to focus on getting well and dealing with her emotions surrounding her husband.
I thought the structure of this book worked really well. It is told through the perspectives of both Rosie and Tom. I liked how there were large sections told by each of the characters rather than it moving rapidly between the two. It meant that as a reader, you had a real insight into how each character was feeling and coping. Sometimes there was a slight crossover as they both described the same point in time but mostly their thoughts and experiences moved the story forward. The author made both these characters very believable and showed they both had their flaws. I felt that Rosie’s reactions to being taken for granted to her husband’s secret were completely understandable. I was a little surprised at how she dealt with her cancer treatment as I would have thought that she would have wanted the help and support of those closest to her. While reading her sections, I found Tom to be completely self-centred and really quiet oblivious to Rosie’s needs. However, when reading his sections, I began to understand him a bit more. My sympathies moved between the two at various points of the narrative.
It was interesting too seeing how Rosie’s family coped after she left. They really had to pull together to keep their household running smoothly, although one of her sons, Adam, didn’t cope well at all. I had a wry smile when Tom says at one point “It’s nice of you to say I’m doing a good job, but Rosie did it for years and I don’t think anyone ever told her they admired her.” I’m sure that is something which many mums will identify with.
I really enjoyed reading Change of Life and finding out how all the family coped with the changes they experienced and re-evaluated what was important to them. I found it a compelling read, quite emotional in places and it was pleasing that the main character was older than many of the women portrayed in contemporary fiction. Anne Stormont skilfully drew all the strands of her story together so that by the end of the book, the different characters within the family, and their friends, had their futures well indicated with hopes and opportunities for them all. All in all, a most satisfying read.
Change of Life was published in June 2014 and is available in paperback and as an e-book. I bought my copy from Amazon. At the time of writing, the ebook is only 99p. You can order a copy online here
From the back of the book
Be careful what you wish for…
Wife to heart surgeon and control freak, Tom, and mother to four adolescent children, Rosie feels taken for granted as she juggles family life and her work as a teacher. She longs for a change of life.
When she hits a teenage boy with her car, her life explodes into uncharted territory. The boy is Robbie – and Rosie discovers he is part of a terrible secret that Tom has kept for seventeen years. Then Rosie is diagnosed with breast cancer.
Rosie leaves home and begins the fight for her life. Meanwhile Tom, is forced to learn what it means to be a husband and father. He struggles to keep his family together and strives to get his wife back.