The Idea of You by Amanda Prowse
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publishing Date: 21st March 2017
Source: Received from the author in return for an honest review!
Number of pages: 332
Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)
With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter dares to hope that she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.
But the reality of becoming parents proves much harder than Lucy and Jonah imagined. Jonah’s love and support is unquestioning, but as Lucy struggles with work and her own failing dreams, the strain on their marriage increases. Suddenly it feels like Lucy is close to losing everything…
Heart-wrenching and poignant, this latest work by bestselling author Amanda Prowse asks the question: what does it mean to be a mother in today’s hectic world? And what if it’s asking too much to want it all?
I was blessed with my wish of becoming a mum happening almost immediately after I’ve decided it’s THIS moment. However, there are many, many women who are not as lucky as I was and it is hard for me to imagine how it must be for them, to live in the world full of ads with happy mums and toddlers, in this world full of pressure when you’re still judged on the fact if you’re a parent or not. It’s a different situation if you don’t want a baby – I respect it and understand it – but how hard must it be when you can’t have a baby and desperately want to have one? Amanda Prowse deals with those – and much more – issues in her newest release “The Idea of You”, which, as a huge Amanda’s fan, I’ve been impatiently waiting for.
The author also admits that she’s gone through the same difficult situations as her character and I can only say hats off to Ms Prowse, as it must have been really hard and painful to write this story, to open the old wounds, to remember. I don’t know how it is to lose a child – thanks God for this – and I think that the author has wonderfully (if I can use such word) and with a lot of understanding and sensibility brought closer the feelings and emotions accompanying such events in life.
As usual, the writing in this book is beautiful, gentle and it draws you immediately into the heart of this story. It is a real rollercoaster of emotions, bringing the characters so easily and effortlessly to life. They all feel so realistic, with all their ups and downs, with their flaws and problems. The author puts her heart and soul into her words and characters, you can really feel this! What I also love in this author’s writing is the fact that she never judges her characters, she lets the readers to make their own mind about them, about the situations they are in and always when reading her stories I have a feeling that she really knows what she’s writing about, with it making the story so much more genuine. She writes about issues that are difficult to tackle, yet there is so much honesty in the storytelling, so much bravery and understanding and the books, also “The Idea of You”, just turn out to be incredibly realistic, down – to – earth and honest.
The story is told from Lucy Carpenter’s point of view, however the chapters are interspersed with letters. Letter that are incredibly honest and genuine, that are full of sorrow, sadness and hope, and those letters made for one of the surprises that I didn’t see coming. I was scared that Amanda Prowse is going to make Lucy’s miscarriages incredibly difficult and that there are going to be so many of them in this story that it’s going to make us stop falling for Lucy. Yes, the miscarriages are a truly heavy subject – especially as there are so many women who have had to deal with this problem, so how shall you write about it without hurting someone, insulting or bringing back the awful memories – but Amanda Prowse has wonderfully managed this subject. She has also incredibly well captured Lucy’s desperation, her longing for her own baby, this awful feeling when you want to start your own family and it was not meant to be. I fell for Lucy and I also understood her desires, and you’ve no idea how much I kept my fingers crossed for her. However, Lucy is not obsessed, as I was afraid she’s going to turn out eventually, and it’s a big brownie point to the author for making Lucy like this.
Amanda Prowse puts Lucy and Jonah through so many problems on their way to happiness. She tries their strength and their courage, tests them in any possible way but let’s be honest, life is not a bed of roses, it’s full of obstacles and it rarely happens that you get what you really want, so this story is about ordinary characters, people like us. I was really scared that the love Lucy and Jonah shared could not make it through those turbulent times, especially as we shouldn’t forget a rebellious 16 – year – old Camille, Jonah’s daughter from his first marriage, who comes to visit and this visit brings a very unexpected surprise, but also troubles. But even with all those problems, you could see that Lucy and Jonah just love each other, that the sparkle is there, no matter what. I was also thinking how hard it must have been for Lucy to suddenly get a brand new step – daughter. Camille might have been already a teenager, but a child is a child, and what with Lucy not being able to have her own children it for sure wasn’t easy for her. She tried so much with Camille and often it back – fired but still she never gave up on making an effort.
Amanda Prowse is a queen of writing raw, unbelievably honest and emotional stories. She can effortlessly get into her characters’ heads and tell us their stories as if we were witnesses to them, as if we were there. Also, as her novels are so true to life there isn’t always a happy end to them – but it only makes them even more realistic and closer to your own heart. There is also a great balance between sad and happy – it’s rather sad story but the author masterfully created it in the way that it’s never an overwhelming feeling. But as much as I love this author and all her books always bring a lump in my throat and often make me cry crocodile tears, this time I missed those things. Don’t get me wrong, it was a beautiful book, full of emotions and feelings and difficult topics that not everybody would dare to write about but I missed this “something” that makes Amanda Prowse’s books so spectacular – hence the 4 stars rating this time. Still, I truly loved this gentle book about families and parenthood, about being open and understanding, about how it is to long to have a baby. Don’t be shy of this book even if you’re not the target audience – it is written in such a way that you’re going to fall for Lucy not only because of her misfortune. There are many other subplots and the author touches upon many issues that you as reader can for certain relate to. Recommended!