They have never needed anyone else, Zoe and her mother have lived a secluded life and things were fine until Alice discovered she had cancer. They have no outside support, no one to help with transportation, no help with meals or just someone else to care. Alice claims they have no true friends and the only surviving family member they have is Paul, Alice’s brother who is a practicing alcoholic. I had to wonder if Alice had ever thought of this as she was raising Zoe. Did Alice ever think about Zoe’s future if something would ever happen to her? As Alice has surgery, Zoe is left at home alone. Implications arise when Kate, a nurse and Sonja, a social worker get involved in Alice’s case. I wanted someone to be with Zoe or to check on her while her mother was absent but I wasn’t sure if these women were the answer. Kate and Sonja each carry with them a secret that comes into play, a secret that they thought no one would see. As for Zoe, she cannot hide her social anxiety disorder as it affects almost everything she says and does.
After her surgery, Alice realizes that Zoe is not alone. Alice doesn’t like these new intruders in their life. Alice wants to go home and get on with life as if nothing has changed. Yet, life has changed for both Alice and Zoe. I had mixed feeling towards Alice as I read this novel. I wondered why she sheltered their lives and I wondered where their lives would be headed in the future. As the four women were introduced, I could see where their lives might intercept, the comfort and the distress that would await. They were meant to convene; these women were meant to touch each other’s lives and to make a difference.
I found myself cheering for Zoe in this novel for she is finally finding her way out. Zoe’s conversation with Harry sealed the deal with me, towards the end of the novel. The honesty and straightforward exchange that took place between them, how they exposed themselves to each other, they realized that they are not alone but are alike. I loved it! It’s the power of friendship and family, although these individuals might not be perfect, Alice finally sees that they are important and that they are needed. I really enjoyed this novel and although it was my first novel by Sally Hepworth, it will not be my last.
I won a copy of this novel in a Goodreads giveaways- thank you Goodreads. This review is my own opinion.