Published by Michael Joseph (Penguin)
Available in ebook, hardback, audio (15 October 2020)
Source: Audio book provided by publisher for review
ABOUT THE BOOK
Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock . . . midnight.
The old millennium turns into the new. In the same hospital, two very different women give birth to two very similar daughters.
Hope leaves with a beautiful baby girl.
Anna leaves with empty arms.
Seventeen years later, the gods who keep watch over broken-hearted mothers wreak mighty revenge, and the truth starts rolling, terrible and deep, toward them all.
The power of mother-love will be tested to its limits. Perhaps beyond . . .
Because Of You is Dawn French’s stunning new novel, told with her signature humour, warmth and so much love.
My thanks to Chloe of Penguin Random House for the invitation to review and take part in the audio book tour for Because of You. I’m rather an audio book novice – I have this terrible habit of falling asleep whilst listening to books – its not boredom – especially not in this case, but rather a voice in my ear soothing me to sleep!
I had seen so many good reviews of this, I couldn’t pass this by, especially as it was narrated by Dawn French. I’ll get on to the book in a moment, but just a quick word about her narration. It was excellent and made the book for me. She did accents and inflections so well, it was so easy to tell which character she was voicing and she even managed to convey the frustration and eye rolling of some characters!
The story begins on New Years Eve, on the cusp of a new millennium. Mothers-to-be Hope and Anna are in a London hospital giving birth however only one of them will leave with a baby.
Both women are very different. Hope is 20 years old and a cleaner, however she is ambitious and has plans. Her boyfriend Quiet Isaac, is from Sierra Leone and an engineering student. with strong family values. Their baby was unexpected but nevertheless, much wanted.
35 year old Anna is a quiet and resolute person, unhappily married to Julius, an MP and a more obnoxious man you could not meet. An adulturer, pompous and narcissistic. The only person he loves is himself. She really wants this baby to have someone to love.
The story switches back and forth from the aftermath of that night to the next 18 years and we see how lives implode from a decision that has devastating consequences.
Oh my goodness. This was such an emotional read with a difficult subject at its heart but amongst the emotional turmoil there is humour too. Dawn French handles the story with warmth and somehow even though a wrong has been done, the leading female characters feel so credible that you really care about them. In fact they all have vivid personalities, including the minor characters. There are those like DI Thripshaw that provide the comedic and toe curling moments with his malapropisms and crassness whilst his colleague DC Debbie Cheese provides the empathy.
Because of You is a story of a mother’s love, loss and sacrifice and shows how those bonds between a mother and child can never really be lost. I have to admit to being rather wet-eyed by the end. You may well need tissues. There might be some aspects that seem rather far-fetched but for me there could have been no other other way for the story to go.
I really enjoyed listening to the audio version and definitely recommend this audio book – I do also have the print book on its way which I will read as I’m sure there were some parts of the audio that I missed – my fault for late night listening! I bought a book and ticket bundle from the Southbank Centre to watch Dawn French in conversation with Bernardine Evaristo – which is very interesting and entertaining. Dawn talks about her writing generally, why she wrote this book, and also gives a reading from it. The event is still available to book until 26 October if anyone is interested and can be viewed with 7 days live stream access (ticket prices £5 or £25)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dawn French has been making people laugh for thirty years. On purpose.
As a writer, comedian and actor, she has appeared in some of the UK’s most long running, cherished and celebrated shows, including French and Saunders, The Comic Strip Presents …, Murder Most Horrid, The Vicar of Dibley, Jam and Jerusalem, Lark Rise to Candleford, and more recently, Roger and Val Have Just Got In.