Category: Contemporary Fiction, Relationships, Book Review
Leanne and her teenage daughter Abby have recently been forced to move from London back to Kesterley-on-Sea, to Ash Morley Farm where Leanne grew up. Leanne’s husband Jack, Abby’s father, killed himself over a year ago, and the pair are still reeling from the shock waves caused by the tragedy.
Leanne Delaney finds herself and daughter Abby back at Ash Morley Farm, Leanne’s childhood home, following the suicide of her husband and the death of her Aunt Glory. She is the main beneficiary of Glory’s will and, along with Glory’s home, also inherited her vintage shop, Glory Days. Abby is not coping well with recent events and the corresponding adjustments in her life, making her relationship with her mother a volatile one at best. She is angry, feeling guilty and confused, unable to get to grips with, much less articulate especially to her mother, her destructive underlying feelings and lashes out, with her mother bearing the brunt of her angst.
Wilkie, Leanne’s mother, and Leanne share the farm with family friend Klaudia and her children, Mia and Adam, each family having their own space. Klaudia is suffering the backlash from Brexit and is unsure whether she will be sent back to Poland or be given permission to stay in the country.
Leanne was remembering with distaste how some people in Kesterly, mostly from the notorious Temple Fields estate but even some who’d known Klaudia for years, had started treating her differently after the referendum. Klaudia wouldn’t ever repeat what had been said to her, but the news had been so full of the sudden surge of resentment that it hadn’t been hard to imagine.
When the opportunity arises to foster a child, Leanne, who has inherited her mother’s tendency to reach out and help those in need, needs no urging to put herself forward. Ten year old Daniel Marks has been in care since his father had been tried and convicted of murdering a young girl. There had only been the two of them since Daniel’s mother died and Daniel is thrust into a world that doesn’t treat him kindly.
Believe In Me is a story of new starts and second chances, peopled by engaging and sympathetic characters who draw the reader in. Wilkie is a wonderful example, warm, caring and not afraid to stand up for her beliefs. Daniel’s story, on the other hand, is heart breaking but sensitively handled. Even though his name is changed he’s bullied and abused, moving from foster home to foster home, until he arrives at Ash Morley and slowly becomes absorbed into the family. I love how he never loses his belief in his father’s innocence no matter what people think or say to him.
This touching story incorporates several important and emotional issues, including racism, the justice system and children coping, or not, with tragedy and loss. I loved the concept of Ash Morley Farm and the little community of family and friends that lived there.
I chose to read and review Believe In Me courtesy of NetGalley and the author/publisher.
Susan Lewis is the bestselling author of thirty-five novels. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol. She lives in Gloucestershire. To find out more about Susan Lewis, visit her website or join in on Twitter or Facebook.Susan is a supporter of the breast cancer charity Breast Cancer Care: http://www.breastcancercare.org.uk and of the childhood bereavement charity Winston’s Wish: http://www.winstonswish.org.uk