Whenever I pick up an Amanda Prowse book, I know that I am going to find myself engrossed in the story and so it was with The Light in the Hallway. I always find that there is something about her characters which I find so relatable. She writes about her characters with great insight into their emotions so that it’s hard not to be touched by their situations. Her characters are ordinary people, like people you may know and that’s what makes her books so addictive. The situations they find themselves in are situations you will identify with, may even have been in yourself.
Nick married Kerry when they were both in their teens with a baby on the way. He gave up his dream of going to Uni, going to work for a large local employer. Despite this, he has few regrets and a happy life with Kerry and their son Oliver. When Kerry dies in her mid thirties at a hospice, Nick has to cope with losing the love of his life and working out how he and Oliver will move forward. The first chapter was heartbreaking to read and Amanda Prowse was really spot on with showing not just Nick’s grief but the way Kerry’s death affected all her family. The unspoken rules of what was and wasn’t allowed for the newly bereaved were a bewildering maze for Nick to negotiate. The difficulties of how to keep connections in a family when the person who connected you is gone were clear as was the hurt and anger sometimes felt.
Not only was there a big hole in his life from the loss of his wife, Nick also had other major changes to cope with as their son, Olly, moved away to University. I think many parents will identify with the worry over their child not settling at Uni and feeling overwhelmed. This was another loss for Nick albeit in a different way. Throughout the book it was lovely to see the bonds between father and son grow stronger despite the physical distance between them and despite some other challenges.
Each chapter ends with a scene from 1992, a year when Nick and his lifelong friends Eric and Alex were building a bike. But more than that, they were building lasting friendships and learning skills and attitudes which would stand them in good stead for the future. They learned about what really matters in life, they learned to take pride in their work and they learned how to value things. I loved this insight into Nick and his friends as young boys and you could see the good men they would become.
The light in the hallway of the title was both an actual and metaphorical light, shining a welcome and lighting the way. As with all Amanda’s books, I was completely caught up in the characters’ lives and all that was happening and simply could not put the book down, devouring it in only two days. The Light in the Hallway is a heartfelt, emotional and hopeful story and one I loved!
My thanks to publishers Lake Union for my review e-copy of the book from Netgalley. The Light in the Hallway will be published on 11th November in paperback, ebook and audiobook formats. You can pre-order your copy here: The Light in the Hallway
From the back of the book
From the bestselling author of The Girl in the Corner comes the moving story of a man whose life is changed in an instant. How do you start again when you lose the only love you’ve ever known?
When Nick’s wife Kerry falls ill and dies, he realises for the first time how fragile his happiness has always been, and how much he’s been taking his good life and wonderful family for granted. Now, he suddenly finds himself navigating parenthood alone, unsure how to deal with his own grief, let alone that of his teenage son, Olly.
In the depths of his heartbreak, Nick must find a way to navigate life that pleases his son, his in-laws, his family and his friends—while honouring what Kerry meant to them all. But when it comes to his own emotions, Nick doesn’t know where to begin. Kerry was his childhood sweetheart—but was she really the only one who could ever make him happy?
And in the aftermath of tragedy, can Nick and his son find themselves again?
About the author
Amanda Prowse likens her own life story to those she writes about in her books. After self-publishing her debut novel, Poppy Day, in 2011, she has gone on to author twenty-two novels and six novellas. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages and she regularly tops bestseller charts all over the world. Remaining true to her ethos, Amanda writes stories of ordinary women and their families who find their strength, courage and love tested in ways they never imagined. The most prolific female contemporary fiction writer in the UK, with a legion of loyal readers, she goes from strength to strength. Being crowned ‘queen of domestic drama’ by the Daily Mail was one of her finest moments. Amanda is a regular contributor on TV and radio but her first love is, and will always be, writing.