The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells - Virginia MacGregor
One ordinary morning, Norah walked out of her house on Willoughby Street and never looked back. Six years later, she returns to the home she walked away from only to find another woman in her place. Fay held Norah's family together after she disappeared, she shares a bed with Norah's husband and Norah's youngest daughter calls Fay 'Mummy'.
Now that Norah has returned, everyone has questions. Where has she been? Why did she leave? And why is she back? As each member of the family tries to find the answers they each need, they must also face up to the most pressing question of all - what happens to The Mother Who Stayed when The Mother Who Left comes back?
From the author of What Milo Saw, comes this powerful, emotional and perceptive novel about what it takes to hold a family together and what you're willing to sacrifice for the ones you love.
This is the second book by Virginia MacGregory I have reviewed - the first was What Milo Saw. The book is in the same style, in that it is told from the perspective of a child, and how insightful that perspective is.
Right at the beginning of the book when Norah (The Mother who left) turns up and Willa asks who she is - she gets told by her sister Ella "it's no one". Willa's classic inward response is "She doesn't care what Ella says the woman definitely doesn't look like a no one". For me that line sets the rest of the book up as Willa spends the book trying to find out who the "no one woman is" and like all children just keeps asking questions, as it just doesn't all add up in her world.
Although I enjoyed the book it did get a little drawn out. The weekend that the book is mainly set across made me feel like I was living it in real time, a little like the TV series 24! Especially when the same scene was played out from a different characters perspective. Also there is a constant reference to foxes - which I can understand from a child's perspective, but did get a little too unbelievable towards the end especially when the dog was brought into this somewhat magical existence.
I kept reading as I wanted to understand why someone would return after walking out on her children six years previously. I really felt for Fay as the "Mother who stayed" who looked like she was destined to lose the life she had built overnight. It did get me thinking about what would that be like?...........what happens to The Mother Who Stayed when The Mother Who Left comes back?......
The plot line was helped by not only seeing the story through the eyes of Willa but also the grown ups. But then I got annoyed in equal measure with the characters of Norah and Fay as they both seemed to have no ability to stand up and fight for what they wanted.
A good read overall and certainly a very different subject and perspective than I have read before.
I'm giving it 4 out of 5 stars mainly because of the foxes! and it was a little drawn out in places.
My thanks go to Netgalley for a free e copy of this book to review.