The Wish by Alex Brown
Publishing Date: 17th May 2018
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review, thank you!
Number of pages: 416
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction, Romance
Sam Morgan knows he messed up with his wife Chrissie and daughter Holly – he wasn’t there when they needed him most, but now he’ll do anything to put his family back together again. Until then, he’s living in the picture-postcard village of Tindledale helping to renovate the Blackwood Farm Estate for its elusive new owner.
Jude Christmas is coming home for good this time. She’s taking over the antique shop in Tindledale, the place where she grew up and she’s going to make sure she’s there for her friend, Chrissie, and Goddaughter, Holly. They certainly need her right now.
“The Wish” introduces us to Sam, who’s coming back home – he’s been living in Singapore because of his job for over a year. His marriage is in jeopardy and his daughter Holly has been diagnosed with diabetes. Sam is desperate to make everything right, but when he returns to Tindledale he realises that it won’t be too easy – his wife Chrissie is determined to end their marriage, even though Holly’s biggest dream is for her parents to get back together and to have a loving family again. Sam is resolute to prove to Chrissie that he’s back for good and that he’s serious now.
Jude moves back to the village from Los Angeles and opens an antique shop. She’s Chrissie best friend and Holly’s godmother and she hates to see them so upset. Holly trusts Jude and asks her to help her with her plan to bring her parents back together. The question is, is it possible or is it too late already?
“The Wish” is another book that is set in this gorgeous village of Tindledale but, even though there are some old characters on the scenes, it introduces us to some very new ones and it can absolutely be read as a stand – alone, as there really is no need on any catch – up. The story is told by narrators, those of Sam, Chrissie, Jude and Holly and it was great to hear their points of view. They all add this extra insight into everything that is going on, not only with their lives but also in relation to other characters and what makes them tick. Also because of this multiple points of view the story progresses relatively slowly, as it also focuses on the villagers, and gives us insight into the characters’ lives but nonetheless, the pace is right.
Now, guys. Don’t get me wrong. I love an Alex Brown book, I do, but this novel had some weaker points that just bothered me too much. Firstly, I had big problems with Chrissie, one of the main characters. In fact, I’ve never warmed to her – she came across as a very spoiled and very hesitant and to be honest to this moment I’m not sure what she wanted to achieve alienating Sam. She wanted a great life and she agreed Sam can work abroad but then she changed her mind and went all offended. Yes, I understand, Sam could step it up a notch, yes, he put his job before everything other, but he wanted to make amends and he didn’t do this for himself, he was trying to provide for his family. The way Chrissie behaved was childish and I just couldn’t help but roll my eyes at the scenes with her. Yes, I do get it – she was alone and was having a hard time juggling the house, Holly’s diabetes, loneliness, and I didn’t expect her to be ecstatic at Sam’s comeback but really, this blowing hot and cold, this indecision, the fact that she was so bitter and unhappy when – in fact – she didn’t have a reason just didn’t sit with me. Somehow, I just couldn’t connect to her! I’m not sure why, I never before had this problem with Alex Brown’s characters, I can’t put my finger on it, it’s just she felt superficial. I’m sorry, but it’s the way I feel. All the characters were nice, don’t get me wrong, but I wanted them to be more than nice, to be more three dimensional. I wasn’t sure if we should fall for Chrissie or for Sam – but it’s my problem, guys, so don’t worry, and really, other than that it was so typical Alex Brown’s book, full of tenderness and love and I had a feeling the author has written this book with her heart on her sleeve, it was so honest and authentic and delivered absolutely brilliant story.
Then there were the repetitions – there came a moment that I thought that if I read the “Get Mum and Dad Together in Time for My Birthday” sentence once more I’m going to cry. Then at every possible opportunity the repetitive mentions that Chrissie was Jude’s best friends, that Holly had diabetes… It was as if we were supposed to forget about it and the author felt the need to remind us about it at every potential convenience.
The story had some twists and turns, which is a great thing, but each time I had a feeling that they’re being explored from above, from below, right and left, like with the above mentioned diabetes or Sam fixated on the fact that Holly may need a kidney transplant, even though there was not a single indication that this might be possible at all. So we belabour the topic through few chapters and then it’s over, nothing more, and it just felt as if the story was so chopped. The few chapters where Sam was obsessed about his blood group, there were so many heavy hints on this what’s going to happen, and I only thought that Alex Brown could really do this better. It was also too predictable for my liking.
There was this hard to put into words feeling of genuity in this story. It was not over – done, it sounded realistic and down – to – earth, even if sometimes the characters acted and reacted like drama queens – well, actually, we all sometimes act this way, no? It touched upon different issues, such as betrayal, lies and medical conditions, this all seamlessly blended. Even though it was not my favourite Alex Brown’s read, I will still recommend it – it was steady enough, it was a heart – warming, lovely and charming tale. It actually ticks all the box for a perfect summer read – there is enough drama and enough humour, there is a budding and an old romance, it’s funny and also touching at the right heartstrings. And of course it has the greatest asset ever – Alex Brown’s wonderful, colourful and light – hearted writing style, and she can so beautifully write about emotions and feelings.