This book was gifted via Netgalley from Penguin Random House UK for an honest review.
As the Moone family prepare to celebrate Christmas a tragedy strikes, leaving them with a terrible loss that they need to learn to live with. As they come to terms with the heart ripping event, the reader is transported back to 1978, to the day when Murtagh Moone meets his future wife Maeve.
This book is one of those stories that stay with you long after you have finished. You leave it behind, feeling emotionally spent. The author writes so beautifully, you find yourself completely invested in the characters, hoping for a beautiful outcome. But life, isn't like that, and Cullen shows the reality of mental health and how it can destroy a family built with love, trust and happiness. When tragedy strikes within the book, it's highly emotional and you know right from the beginning where the story will end. But then light appears as the family finally learn to live with the change they never realised was coming.
One of the aspects, I really enjoyed was that it is a historical novel, it dealt with an era I rarely find in books. Cullen brings the 70's and 80's back to life with vim and vigour.
The setting for the book is magical. The tiny Irish island the family move to, is like a land from the past. No cars, one pub, very few shops and a tiny village where everyone knows your business. A stunning setting to live in, but not one to make life easy for someone suffering with severe mental health problems. The ending completely surprised me and I was annoyed with myself for not seeing the subtle signs placed throughout the plot.
Helen Cullen is fast becoming a favourite author of mine. Her writing is so descriptive and almost poetic in nature. She builds a world for you to immerse yourself in. She gently leads you through a complex and harrowing situation that takes place over a thirty year period. Helen Cullen has shown she isn't a one hit wonder. Her writing has developed, showing that she can write about anything and hold your complete attention. I loved her first book, The Letter of William Wolf, but I absolutely adored this one.