It’s a real pleasure today to be joining the blog tour for Picking Up The Pieces by Jo Worgan, published by Urbane Publications on 8th November, available as an ebook and in paperback. It’s not the first time I’ve featured the author here on Being Anne: Jo was my guest in October 2016 – you’ll find the interview here – to tell me more about her debut novel, An Unextraordinary Life (published under the name Jo Hollywood), and about her life and her writing. Jo writes really excellent book reviews on her blog, Brew and Books Review – and this latest was a book I really looked forward to reading.
Kate has a six-year-old autistic son, Sam. She has started a new life to escape her controlling and abusive boyfriend Jake. She believes that the past is behind her and that she and Sam are safe. But after spotting Jake through a misted-up cafe window, Kate knows that Jake has found her.
Kate confides in her neighbour Matt, a man running from his own past. He seems to offer a genuine chance at happiness for her and son Sam, but Jake is determined to get them back at all costs….
Picking Up The Pieces is an original, moving and gripping page-turner about a woman’s search for happiness as she fights to protect her autistic son’s future.
I’m not a mother, and sometimes can find it difficult to identify with such fierce love and the drive to protect your child – but this book was such a powerfully drawn portrait of the relationship between a mother and her autistic child that it really couldn’t fail to move any reader. The realities of living with autism were just perfectly recreated – particularly those unalterable routines and rituals that make life sustainable, with the moments of sheer joy illuminating a way of life that at other times seems quite unbearable. The perceptions of others too are exceptionally well handled – ill-founded observations about rudeness, the need for greater discipline, with no perception that disruption of what the child views as “normal” can have such an immense impact.
This book is, in part, a romance – and a strong and believable one. Matt, who moves in next door, is escaping a failed marriage – and I liked very much the insights into his life and feelings. His relationship with young Sam is well done too – and the fact that they are comfortable with each other gives you confidence that Matt is one of the good guys, even if he’s rather less able to manage his adult relationships. And there’s also a thriller element, as Jake – a chillingly drawn manipulator – tracks down Kate and Sam, with an uncertain agenda and a real threat to their new lives.
The book is well written – particularly the relationship between Kate and Sam – and I did like the way supporting characters were introduced, with their own sub-plots and relationships. The whole story – as it says on the cover – was one of love, hope, and new beginnings for everyone involved, and I very much enjoyed it.
About the author
Jo Worgan is a freelance copywriter, columnist and book blogger. She has published 4 non-fiction works aimed at parenting children on the Autistic spectrum, based upon her experiences as a mother of an autistic son. Writing is what she truly loves, and Picking up the Pieces is her second novel following her first, An Unextraordinary Life. Today Jo lives in Lancashire with her husband of 19 years and their two young sons. When she is not busy writing, she likes to take her boys to the local museums, cafes, cinema, the Lake District and lots of playgrounds.