I started with Little Miracles. Julia, Charlie and young son Hadyn visit Charlie’s family in Spain, but their visit is overshadowed by the demands of Charlie’s work, the expectations of the family about their forthcoming wedding, and a secret that Julia has never got round to sharing. After a family argument, Julia takes Hadyn to the beach, despite the approach of a storm – in the ensuing chaos, Hadyn disappears. While all the signs indicate that Hadyn is dead, Julia refuses to believe it and begins an obsessive search for his possible abductors. Although he feels the loss every bit as keenly, Charlie turns to work to fill the void. It really seems that Julia is simply having difficulty coming to terms with Hadyn’s death, and their relationship inevitably suffers.
I rarely like first person narrative – this story is told in alternating chapters from the perspectives of Julia and Charlie – but in this instance it really works. The book isn’t fast paced, and its strength is in the way it gets under the skin of the two main characters, with their complex thoughts and feelings. There are times when their pain is almost too much to bear – the writing is excellent in the way it explores their emotions.
The ending is a little ambiguous. This book was originally published in 2009, and reviews at the time make it clear that it coloured people’s reactions to the book as a whole. I can fully understand that – I felt the same, so I was glad I could then go on to read Finding You which is billed as a “standalone sequel”.
I must say that I think I might have struggled a little with this one had I not started with Little Miracles. I just think I would have missed out on the emotional complexity of the characters that is explored so thoroughly in the earlier book, along with the little details about the context of Charlie’s work and relationships and Julia’s unconventional upbringing.
Born in Chiswick, Giselle Green was brought up in Gibraltar where she has extensive family. She returned to the UK to study Biology at King’s College London, followed by an MSc in Information Science at the City University. She is also a qualified Astrologer, with a particular interest in medieval astrology.