Delighted to have a guest review by Linda T of Believe in Me written by Susan Lewis, on the blog today. Published by Penguin Books, it is out now in eBook and physical copy. Thank you to Penguin Books for our ARC copy for review.
- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Arrow (26 July 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1784755613
- ISBN-13: 978-1784755614
Leanne and her teenage daughter Abby have recently been forced to move from London back to Kesterley-on-Sea, to Ash Morley Farm where Leanne grew up. Leanne’s husband Jack, Abby’s father, killed himself over a year ago, and the pair are still reeling from the shock waves caused by the tragedy.
Also living at Ash Morley farm is Leanne’s mother Wilkie, who is a rock for everyone, and family friend Klaudia and her two children. Klaudia has to face the backlash of xenophobic feeling post the Brexit vote, and is on tenterhooks to hear whether she and her children will be sent home to Poland.
Hoping to move forward and mend the wounds her family has suffered, Leanne decides to foster a child. And when she’s told that Daniel’s father is in prison for murder, she hardly bats an eyelid. But as Daniel becomes integrated into the family, Leanne starts asking herself questions about his father’s conviction. Is he really guilty? With the help of friend and ex detective Andee Lawrence, Leanne sets out to right the wrongs of the past.
Susan Lewis is the bestselling author of thirty-eight novels. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol. She lives in Gloucestershire.
For further information about Susan Lewis visit www.susanlewis.com
This is the first book by Susan Lewis I have read and was passed a pre-publication edition by Kelly of Love Books Group to read and review.
The back of the book tells you that “Leanne and her family have many issues, but they all believe in second chances, so when the opportunity arises to foster a child, Leanne is quick to open her doors. However, Daniel Marks, the foster child is a 10-year-old boy whose father is in prison for murder”.
I was really looking forward to reading this book because I think we all deserve at least one-second chance and I don’t believe that the sins of the father should be visited upon the son. In my eyes, Daniel is an innocent boy looking for a loving home and more than deserving of a chance to be a child without the weight of his father’s prison sentence hanging over him.
The beginning of the book draws you into the bosom of the family from Leanne who is doing her best after her husband Jack’s suicide, to her teenage stroppy daughter Abby, her absent in America daughter Kate, her aging but still so full of life and vitality Mother Wilkie and her friend and business partner Klaudia and her 2 children, all living in various properties including an old farmhouse, converted barn, stables and old bakery that makeup Ash Morley Farm. I absolutely loved all the characters and they were all so well painted that I pictured them all straight away and loved reading about them and I worried about them when I wasn’t reading and was eager to read on.
There is a love interest for Leanne along the way in the form of Tom but this is such a minor storyline and for me wasn’t really necessary, but I really enjoyed the inclusion of Klaudia as a Polish refugee and her 2 British born children and the story of their campaign for “Kindness For All” to demonstrate that we are all the same and deserve love and kindness and a safe home and her fight for permanent residency.
We meet Daniel on the first page, but then he doesn’t come to live with the Delaney family until almost halfway through the book and for me, this was a disappointment in the story. I wanted more of how Daniel was welcomed and integrated into this normal loving family than just half of the book because for me he was the central character of the book. When he was fostered with Leanne and her family it was such a joy to read that it gave me a warm feeling about how foster parents and their families are such wonderful members of society and take on children that have often been passed around from one abusive home to another. They welcomed Daniel into their family without hesitation and prejudice about his previous behaviour or situation and literally turned his life around, especially when Leanne takes up the case of his Father’s court case and prison sentence and actually believes in Daniel when he tells her his Dad could not and did not harm that child in question. I won’t say any more, but get your tissues ready for the end of the book.
I would give this book a 4* rating, and the only reasons for that are that I wanted Daniel to live with his foster family for more than half of the book and the cover of the book, in my humble opinion, does not reflect the story. I prefer a cover to either give you a sense of what the story is about or draw you into picking the book up, and this did not happen for me, (sorry Susan Lewis).
By Linda Tilling for Love Books Group
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