Some love stories change us for ever.
For the last seven years, Mary O’Connor has waited for her first love. Every evening she arrives at Ealing Broadway station and stands with a sign which simply says: ‘Come Home Jim.’
Commuters might pass her by without a second thought, but Mary isn’t going anywhere. Until an unexpected call turns her world on its head.
It will take the help of a young journalist called Alice, and a journey across the country, for Mary to face what happened all those years ago.
Only with the help of others will she finally be able to answer the question: where on earth is Jim?
Format: Ebook, Audio, Hardback (April 2021) | Paperback 6 January 2022
Source: Copy received for review
“Some people choose to see what they want to see”
My thanks to Laura of PRH for the tour invitation and for the review copy. I’m delighted to be sharing my review on paperback publication day.
For seven years Mary has been standing outside Ealing Broadway station each night after her supermarket shift holding a handmade sign ‘Come Home Jim’. Commuters push past her, oblivious. Except that one night she isn’t invisible and her vigil goes viral.
Mary meets James (Jim), a doctor, whilst working as an events organiser in Belfast and theirs is a whirlwind relationship. Mary has never met anyone like Jim and the two characters seem to fit so well together that I couldn’t understand what had happened for Mary to end up alone and waiting outside the station six years later.
Over the course of the book, with the present day being 2018 the story goes back to earlier timelines to give glimpses of their life together and the challenges in their relationship.
Mary is an engaging character, easy to sympathise with but also I found her frustrating at times. At first I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t accept what was to be and try to rebuild her life. She volunteers at Nightline, a crisis telephone centre but when she receives calls that are rather too close to home, that fragile stability that she has made for herself is rocked to its core.
This is such a moving and thought provoking book. Focussing on mental health and the inability to properly communicate one’s fears and needs, there are several characters suffering in one way or another who all need a helping hand. Mary made a promise to Jim and is determined to keep it, whatever the cost. Her vigil attracts the attention of a journalist, Alice (who has her own issues, both personal and professional) and together with Kit, another Nightline volunteer, they decide to help Mary.
This is very much a character driven story, beautifully written with a tender touch and may strike a chord with so many people on the several issues it touches upon. Lest you get the wrong idea, there are times of humour, especially with Alice and Kit, whose pairing was a joy. I loved the mystery running through the story as to why Jim disappeared, where he went to; and more importantly, will he come home? A wonderfully enjoyable read. One to recommend.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Abbie Greaves studied at Cambridge University before working in a literary agency for a number of years. She was inspired to write her first novel, The Silent Treatment, after reading a newspaper article about a boy in Japan who had never seen his parents speak to one another before.
Abbie lives in Brighton.