A missing boy. A missing book. A missing husband. A woman who must find them all to find herself. On the night Bernadette finally has the courage to tell her domineering husband that she’s leaving, he doesn’t come home. Neither does Conor, the little boy she’s befriended for the past five years. Also missing is his lifebook, the only thing that holds the answers. With the help of Conor’s foster mum, Bernadette must face her own past, her husband’s secrets and a future she never dared imagine in order to find them all. Exquisitely written and deeply touching, The Mountain in My Shoe is both a gripping psychological thriller and a powerful and emotive examination of the meaning of family … and just how far we’re willing to go for the people we love.
I believe everyone who read Louise Beech’s debut: How To Be Brave agreed that it would be extremely hard to top it. And yet, The Mountain In My Shoe is a truly wonderful book that is just as good as its predecessor, maybe even better. They are completely different when it comes to plot, but they both share many traits, like narrating touching stories and focusing on children.
As some of you know, I wasn’t feeling very well this past week because of a terrible cold, so I really wanted a book that made me forget about all that. That book turned out to be: The Mountain In My Shoe and I couldn’t have chosen a better medicine.
This book is about Bernadette, a young woman trapped in an unhappy marriage who happens to befriend Conor, a 10-year-old who has spent all his life in foster care. When I read the blurb, I didn’t understand how a grown woman could be such good friends with a kid, but the book explains it perfectly and it’s all part of a beautiful initiative. The same night Bernadette’s husband doesn’t come home, Conor also disappears. What happened to Richard and where did Connor go? Can Bernadette save his young friend before it’s too late?
My favorie part of The Mountain In My Shoe (and there were many) was the use of the different perspectives. And while Bernadette and Conor were truly amazing characters and I loved reading about them, the best POV in this novel was undoubtedly THE BOOK. I don’t want to say much so as not to spoil anything, but I absolutely adored reading each entry in the journal and getting to know Connor better. It was sad and tragic, sometimes hopeful, but always captivating.
Louise Beech has the ability to make you care about characters you’ve only known for a few pages, or even paragraphs. I loved the cab driver and also Mark, even though they didn’t play a big part in the story. How is that possible? Well, it takes a truly gifted writer to be able to achieve that.
As I stated in my review, the only thing I didn’t like (or at least, I liked less) about How To Be Brave is that I felt it wrapped its ending way too soon. That didn’t happen in The Mountain in My Shoe, as I believed it had a fantastic conclusion. However, I do have to say that I found the “mystery” a bit predictable, even though this might have been on purpose. I guess I wanted a surprising twist (as usual, I know, I can’t help it). Anyway, the “mystery” got revealed way before I expected, something which I appreciated and allowed the story to concentrate on finding the whole truth.
Don’t miss this book if you want to read an emotional psychological novel and an unforgettable story about friendship and family. Can’t wait for the next one, Louise!
Orenda Books, 2016
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