Published 10 April 2014 by Penguin
Rachel is looking for her beautiful day. She’s worried about everything: being a good mother, money and starting a new job.
Philip is a lost soul in the world and he could do with a friend.
They are just about to meet and when they do everything will change. Rachel and Philip don’t know it yet, but they each have what the other needs. They can save one another, and not in the way you might expect.
This is a story about finding happiness and love in all their forms. And how sometimes you can find them in the most unlikely of places
Rachel Bidewell is a thirty something mum of three children, her husband Dom has left her for a younger woman and she needs a job. She finds work as a Residential Care Assistant at Clifton Avenue Residential Home, which helps adults of all ages with learning disabilities. So, armed with an unreliable and miserable live-in au pair to help look after the children, Rachel starts her new job with some trepidation.
Also new to the Centre is Philip. He is in his thirties, and has spent his entire life living with his mother, who has recently died. He has severe learning difficulties, has no life experience at all and can’t even clean his own teeth. Rachel is assigned to be his key worker and what follows is a beautifully written poignant story of hope, caring, happiness and anger and, ultimately, acceptance and love.
I really connected to the character of Rachel straight away. She was just so normal and whilst she does her best to do the right thing by everybody, she doesn’t always get it right. Her personal life is chaotic, her ex-husband constantly undermines her and the children, especially the eldest 11 year old Alec, are clearly unhappy with the situation but Rachel is by nature a caring person and when she is given the chance to try and help Philip come out of his withdrawn state and interact with the world a bond develops between them. Of course, not everything goes to plan and whilst the story is incredibly serious and moving, there is plenty of humour and drama to keep you turning the pages, along with some expertly drawn characters who will make you laugh, cry and scream with frustration.
This is such an accomplished and beautifully written piece of work, it’s hard to believe that it’s a debut novel. The author’s experience as a Residential Social Worker clearly shines through and it’s the realism and her first-hand experience of the care system that makes this such a compelling read. I really enjoyed it and would certainly look forward to any future books by Kate Anthony.
My thanks to Real Readers and the publisher for the ARC to review.
About the author:
Kate Anthony grew up in the Midlands. On graduating, she began working as a residential social worker firstly with young offenders and later with vulnerable adults. She then joined the BBC, working as a producer in comedy for some years before moving to an independent production company as a drama producer. She lives close to Brighton with her family.
You can follow Kate Anthony on Twitter