Saturday 16 December 2017

Review: Fiction: The Day You Saved My Life by Louise Candlish

Sphere, £6.99
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A terrific tension and sense of unease runs through the pages of Louise Candlish's eighth novel about four ordinary people whose accidental meeting causes havoc.

When a toddler falls out of a boat into the Seine, a heroic stranger dives in to save him and in that moment, several lives are changed forever.

Single mum Joanne has brought her daughter Holly to Paris in an effort to beat Holly's post-natal depression. Holly is instantly lifted out of her lethargy when her son Mikey falls into the water.

She tracks down James, the handsome stranger who rescued her son and there is an instant attraction. This doesn't go down well with James's wife Alexa who had organised a romantic weekend in Paris for the power couple's wedding anniversary.

All four characters become embroiled in a struggle that will ultimately redeem or ruin them.

While Holly and James seem to think that fate has brought them together, hell hath no fury like Alexa, who is eaten up with spite and desperate for revenge.

Although glad that Holly seems to have overcome her depression, Joanne is terrified her daughter will make the same mistakes she did. She is haunted by a secret guilt over a childish act of revenge which left her abandoned by her family and for which she is still being punished.

As the story progresses, Joanne's secret is unlocked and we find out why she is extra protective towards Holly.

With the protagonists propelled either happily or kicking and screaming towards a satisfying end, the reader may be surprised to realise they've been enthralled by and empathised with, what are, in effect, four anti-heroes.

A clever take on love, loss and deceit by Candlish and a good summer read.

Ann Dunne

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