What an absolutely wonderful book. It’s so beautifully constructed so that each strand is interlinked and full of meaning. I loved it so much.
As the book begins Nick Bairstow is about to lose his wife after she fell ill. Because she’d been ill for a while it feels in a way like he lost her ages ago. Yet the blow is still huge, not only for Nick but for his son, Olly, and their extended family too. The story is about how Nick navigates through the immediate aftermath of his loss, balancing building a new life for himself against mourning for the only woman he has ever known.
I thought Nick was a fantastic character, an all-round good guy. But actually the book is peppered with a great cast. Nick’s friend from childhood, Eric, is brilliant and I really liked Bev too, a workmate of Nick’s who might just possibly become something more. I also really loved the fact that this book is set in Yorkshire with all the flippin’ ‘ecks, Yorkshire wit, and down to earth matter of fact way of going about things.
In between following Nick in his grief, we are treated to some sections from 1992 when he was a 10-year-old boy. I thought these sections were so good as Nick, Eric and their other friend, Alex, in their desperation for a bike take up a challenge set by Nick’s dad. I thought the author wrote the childhood points of view really adeptly.
This is only my second Amanda Prowse book (I know, where have I been?!) but I think she’s on a mission to break my heart with every one. There’s a simply lovely bit towards the end of this book that set me off with the tears. This is a book that’s full of heart, full of humour, full of friendship. It’s just perfect.
Nicola Smith, Short Book and Scribes, 5/5
The Light in the Hallway by Amanda Prowse
Lake Union Publishing 9781542041171 pbk Nov 2019