Wednesday 29 March 2017

Review: The Hope Family Calendar by Mike Gayle

Tom Hope is broken. Ever since his wife Laura died he hasn't been the same man, and definitely not the same father. Luckily for Tom his mother-in-law Linda is around to pick up the pieces and look after his two struggling daughters, Evie and Lola.
But Tom getting arrested on the first anniversary of his wife's death is the last straw for Linda.
In a last bid attempt to make Tom reconnect with his daughters she takes drastic action and leaves for Australia. With two fast-maturing daughters Tom has to learn how to accept his responsibilities and navigate the newly discovered world of single fatherhood - starting immediately.
With only himself to rely on, will Tom fall back into grief or finally step up and be the father his girls need?

Review: Oh it was so great to be back in the world of Mike Gayle's writing again. I don't know why it took me so long to pick up another of his novels, this one has been sitting on my TBR for so long and I just loved every moment of it! Mike Gayle writes a fabulous male lead, of course, and his books are always so character driven, it is hard not to be swept along by them. I listened to this one as an audiobook and the person that narrates the Mike Gayle audiobooks that I have listened to always does a great job.

This is basically the story of a father having to cope with the loss of his wife at the same time as having to cope with being a full time dad again. There is also a parallel storyline involving his mother in law Linda and her own journey of self-discovery. I loved the relationship that that two characters have and that they do have such a strong relationship still after their respective wife and daughter leave their lives. Of course there are some really emotional moments in this book, when you are dealing with grief, what do you expect. I loved reading about Tom's relationship with his children though and his struggle to try and live up to his wife's way of doing things sometimes leads to some really funny moments as well!

I liked Tom as a c character, he is not without his flaws and so was easy to relate to from the word go. He grows as a person as well as as a father over the course of the novel and this was great to watch. As I mentioned above, Linda also plays a key role in the novel. The way it is structured is that there is a Tom chapter followed by a Linda chapter, and it generally follows that form over the whole novel. She too has a journey of self-discovery and this really opens up the audience of the book. We have lead characters, one male and one who is older, something which Mike Gayle does incredibly well.

Of course there is a little romance thrown into this book as well as new friendships. I loved reading about these relationships, there were some real aww moments for me, and not just when Tom has a in with his daughters. There is so much to love about this book and if you are new to this author, this would be a great starting place. I think this is definitely something fans of this genre should be adding to their TBRs, but also something for those of you who prefer an older protagonist, or a male lead. A great read!

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