What if you could only watch as your bright future slipped away from you?
Sally Cummings has had it tougher than most but, if nothing else, it’s taught her to grab opportunity with both hands. And, when she stands looking into the eyes of her new husband Peter on her perfect wedding day, it seems her life is finally on the up.
That is until the car crash that puts her in a coma and throws her entire future into question.
In the following months, a small part of Sally’s consciousness begins to return, allowing her to listen in on the world around her – although she has no way to communicate.
But Sally was never going to let a little thing like a coma get in the way of her happily ever after…
For a whole range of reasons – mainly my total inability to say “no” to a new and interesting book! – it’s been a little while since I read and reviewed a book published by Choc Lit. It was that beautiful cover that first attracted me to Please Release Me by Rhoda Baxter, published for Kindle on 10th September. But then I started seeing people talking about it on-line – and everyone seemed to really love it. And then I started to read it – and they were right, it was a really lovely read which I thoroughly enjoyed.
My thoughts follow, but first I’m really delighted to welcome author Rhoda Baxter to Being Anne with a quite perfect guest post. Over to you Rhoda…
I was struggling to think of a topic to write about, when I noticed that you were from Wetherby. I only know where that is because I passed it on my way to visit Martin House Children’s Hospice. I’ve supported hospices since, as a teenager, I heard how little money they got from the government. Despite the valuable work they do, most hospices rely heavily on charitable donations. I will be donating half my author royalties from Please Release Me to Martin House. Let me tell you why.
Talking about a hospice for children with life limiting conditions, I could tell you things that would break your heart, but that would be a bit of downer, so instead, let me tell you about a game of What’s the time Mr Wolf.
It’s raining. Rivulets run down the large windows around the sitting room and it’s so dark out it could be night time. Inside, the lights are on and there’s a game going on.
‘What’s the time mister wolf?”
“It’s one o’clock.”
The children are a mixed bunch. They are of different ages, backgrounds and ability. Some have additional needs – a walking aid here, an epilepsy helmet there. Others are able-bodied siblings of poorly brothers and sisters. At least one child is recently bereaved.
Adults sit on the sofas surrounding the children. Some of them, smiling people wearing big name badges, are carers. The others, still looking worn out despite a day or two of respite, are parents. One mum is cuddling a baby on her lap, while a carer is setting up the gravity milk feed to go in the tube that runs into the baby’s nose. This is Martin House.
“What’s the time mister wolf?”
“It’s two o’clock”
‘Mister Wolf’ is in a motorised wheelchair, turned to face the wall. She whirrs round and peers at the others through narrowed eyes to see if anyone is moving. The child with the walking aid wobbles. No one comments.
In the background someone in NHS uniform wheels out some bulky equipment. The equipment is being returned because its user no longer needs it. And not in a good way. The parents all glance up and then look away, torn between the knowledge that it will happen to their family at some point, and the relief that it’s not them yet.
“It’s three o’clock.” Whirr.
One little boy is unable to hold the theatrical position he’s frozen into and lowers his leg.
The accused tries to look innocent.
One of the carers says “you did move, really.”
He pouts and stomps off to join her on the sofa, where he’s given a cuddle enthusiastic enough to make him smile again.
Whirrr. Mr Wolf is facing the wall again.
The other children all take a step forward. They’re getting quite close to the wheelchair now.
“What’s the time Mr Wolf?”
All the adults look up. Curious to see how this is going to work out. The wheelchair takes a few seconds to turn around; plenty of time for the others to run away. But they don’t run. They stand there, tense, ready to dash.
The wheelchair completes its turn. The girl in the chair shouts “Go!”
Suddenly there are kids everywhere, running, shrieking. The wheelchair zips past in pursuit. They disappear in a noisy mass down the corridor. One of the carers runs after them.
“Did they plan that beforehand?” says one of the dads.
“Don’t think so,” says a carer. “I’ll just go check they’re all okay.”
The children, with mutual understanding, had adapted the game so that their friend could play. The mum with the baby looks down at the child on her lap, who has fallen asleep. “That’s lovely.”
Everyone smiles. Their children are wonderful. All of them.
This is Martin House.
Please Release Me is now available on Amazon Kindle. 50% of author royalties will be donated to Martin House Children’s Hospice – click on the hyperlink to find out more about the wonderful work they do, and how you can help. Thank you so much Rhoda.
My thoughts on Please Release Me
I could so easily spoil your enjoyment of this book by going into the way the story develops, but I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. You’ll see from the blurb that Sally is in a coma after an accident on her wedding day. Husband Peter, who’s struggling badly, visits her daily at the hospice – then he meets Grace, also struggling after the loss of her mother. The relationship between those three main characters had me totally engrossed until the very end.
This isn’t a conventional triangular story, it’s the product of an exceptional imagination, but totally believable and so beautifully handled. Grace is such a likeable character, and your heart aches for Peter, but it was Sally who really captured my heart – you won’t like her at the start, but I guarantee you’ll grow to love her. Absolutely wonderful writing, highly readable, really enjoyable, and I was quite blown away by the story – unmissable.
My thanks to netgalley and those lovely people at Choc Lit for my advance reading e-copy.
Rhoda Baxter writes smart contemporary romantic comedy. She likes to write about people who make her laugh.
In real life, she’s a former scientist who now works in intellectual property. She writes when her kids are asleep. She likes to pretend that sleep is for wimps. She also hears people chatting in her head but that had nothing to do with sleep deprivation. No way.
She lives in East Yorkshire, where the tea and cake is excellent.
Rhoda is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and her first book, Patently in Love was shortlisted for the RNA new writing award in 2012, it also came in the top 10 of the P&E poll (romance) in 2012. You can find out more about Rhoda and her books by visiting her website.