by Julie Lawson Timmer Arrow, Paperback, £6.99
This is one of the most moving books I have read in years. Julie Lawson Timmer picked an awesome challenge for her first novel and has come up with a cracking story. Keep a box of tissues handy at all times.
It captures the full trauma as successful lawyer Mara makes a personal decision after four years of suffering Huntington’s disease; she gives herself five days to put things in order before taking her own life. Her husband Tom and daughter Laks are not to be told until he discovers the body.
A thousand miles away, Scott also has five days until his world falls apart. He and his wife, Laurie, had spent a year fostering an eight-year-old boy, Curtis, when they discover the boy’s mother is due out of prison in five days and insists that she wants the boy back. Laurie is delighted, and she is expecting their first child. Scott realises he can do nothing to intervene.
The two key characters are in touch in an Internet site where they and others express their joys and sorrows and the days tick by.
It is a dramatic tale told with pathos, understanding, and plenty of emotion. A capital read and a first-time novel which prompts me to ask: “What comes next?”