The Mountain In My Shoe by Louise Beech ~ Suspenseful #Psychological #Drama @LouiseWriter #TuesdayBookBlog

Author: Louise Beech

Published: September 2016 by Orenda Books

Category: Drama, Family, Psycological, Book Review


A missing boy. A missing book. A missing husband. A woman who must find them all to find herself. On the night Bernadette finally has the courage to tell her domineering husband that she’s leaving, he doesn’t come home. Neither does Conor, the little boy she’s befriended for the past five years. Also missing is his lifebook, the only thing that holds the answers. With the help of Conor’s foster mum, Bernadette must face her own past, her husband’s secrets and a future she never dared imagine in order to find them all.

After several years of moving from one foster home to another, ten year old Conor has been settled with his latest foster mother, Anne, for five years. Both are very happy with the arrangement. His birth mother is unable to care for him but won’t agree to an adoption hence the foster care. Despite what he has been through in his short life, Conor has proved to be quite adaptable although he does understandably have issues. One of his passions is art, at which he excels. The other is Mohammed Ali, whom he hero-worships.

I love the way Louise Beech has used Conor’s Life Book, written by social workers and other people who are important in Conor’s life, to tell his back story. Extracts from the book, a lot of them quite sad, are interspersed throughout the narrative.

One such person is Bernadette, an unhappy young woman with a controlling and sometimes cruel husband. She has befriended Conor through volunteering, and they’ve become an important part of each other’s lives for the past five years. As the story opens Bernadette is leaving her husband, waiting until he arrives home to tell him. But the man who keeps to such a tight schedule, always arriving home at the exact same time, is late.

She waits in the window every night for her husband, Richard, to return from work. He always arrives at six. He is never late or early; she never needs to reheat his meal or change the time she prepares it. She never has to cover cooling vegetables with an upturned plate or call and ask where he is.

That night three things go missing—Richard, Conor’s Life Book and Conor himself. On the face of it, three incidents with no connection. As Anne and Bernadette join together in a desperate search for Conor, details of Bernadette’s story are slowly revealed as we also get Conor’s view of his experiences. Chapters are short and move the storyline along revealing the intricate layers. Wonderful and distinctive characters people a thought provoking tale that explores the emotive topic of neglect and the complexity of families. Conor stole the show for me, I couldn’t help but be moved by his situation and courage. It brings home how many children must be in a similar situation.

Louise Beech writes with perception, and empathy for her characters who are all fully rounded and very realistic. The research that must have been undertaken with regard to child services and foster care is meticulous. Although the story covers distressing subjects including neglect, rejection and  abuse, it also showcases compassion, the fact there is always hope and the true meaning of family. A very thoughtful and intuitive read.

Book links ~ Amazon UK | Amazon US | 

About the Author 

Louise’s debut novel, How to be Brave, was a Guardian Readers’ pick in 2015 and a top ten bestseller on Amazon. The Mountain in my Shoe longlisted for the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize 2016. The Sunday Mirror called Maria in the Moon ‘quirky, darkly comic, original and heartfelt’. It was also a Must Read in the Sunday Express and a Book of the Year at LoveReadingUK. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was described as ‘engrossing and captivating’ by the Daily Express. It also shortlisted for the RNA’s Romantic Novel of the Year and longlisted for the Polari Prize 2019. Call Me Star Girl hit number one on Kobo. It also longlisted for the Not The Booker Prize and won the Best magazine Big Book Award 2019. I Am Dust is out now.

Author links ~ Website | Twitter | Facebook  

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