Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Book review: Will You Remember Me? by Amanda Prowse


My edition: Paperback, published on 17 July 2014 by Head of Zeus, 345 pages.

Description: Poppy Day is an ordinary woman. She’s 32 years old, an ex-hairdresser, now a stay-at-home mum for her two gorgeous children while her husband Mart tours with the army. She’s loved Mart ever since she was a girl, growing up poorly cared for in East London. Nowadays, her simplest pleasure is having her family together in a clean and happy home.

But Poppy is too busy caring for others to notice the fatigue in her body and the menacing lump growing on her breast. If there’s anyone strong and deserving enough to defeat cancer it’s Poppy. After all, she’s fought harder battles than this. But does life really work like that?


Rating:



Poppy Day is in her early thirties and leads an ordinary but blissful life with her two young children and her husband, former childhood sweetheart Mart. They're not rich people and don't have an awful lot of possessions, but they do have each other and that is all that matters to them. Poppy may have once dreamed of a kidney-shaped pool and a diamond ring as big as an ice cube, but in truth she loves her simple life and the only thing that could possibly make her even happier is the return of her husband, who is touring with the army. So when he does comes back earlier than expected it's like Christmas has arrived early for the Cricket family and they make the most of it as they are not sure when he will be deployed again.

However, their happiness is short-lived when Poppy out of the blue finds a lump in her breast. Fearing the worst but still holding out hope, she doesn't unnecessarily want to scare her family so Poppy sets out to the doctor by herself for a proper examination. Not long after that initial terrifying visit her worst nightmare is confirmed; she has cancer. She's quickly absorbed in the routine of regular hospital visits, chemotherapy and lots of medicine to ease the aches and pains that suddenly overtake her previously seemingly healthy body. She tries to stay strong for her family, but when Poppy thinks that things couldn't get any worse, they do and the one thing she was always so certain of, her marriage, suddenly doesn't seem quite so solid anymore.

Every once in a while a book manages to grab me in its clutches with such a gripping storyline that I find it near impossible to put it down to do other things (like work, eat and sleep) and that was definitely the case with this compelling story. I kept finding myself picking it up to steal a few lines here and there, which is not exactly an effective way of reading a novel, but at least it satisfied my cravings for a few minutes.

This isn't the first time author Amanda Prowse has written about Poppy Day and her family, however this was the first novel I'd read with her protagonist. So while technically this is a sequel, it can be read perfectly well as a stand-alone. There is not much  of the characters' history required and that which is, is explained within the story so the reader doesn't get lost along the way. Having said that, I came to care greatly for Poppy and her family, so if you have the time I highly recommend that you do start with the first novel, titled Poppy Day, before moving on to Will You Remember Me?

I find it incredibly daring of Prowse to take a character from a previous novel that readers no doubt have become very attached to only to, to put it bluntly, kill her off in the sequel. This is something that perhaps happens in Hollywood movies but not so much in books. In that respect it's probably better I hadn't read Poppy Day, as I already found this an incredibly difficult novel to read emotionally and that would've only been worse had I known Poppy longer than the few days it took me to read this book in its entirety.

I loved the strong Poppy, her wonderful children and her handsome husband. They may indeed have a simple life, but they made it the most of what they had. This is why I felt outraged with a twist in the story towards the end of the novel. I don't want to go into detail as that may spoil the enjoyment for those who have not read it yet, but let's just say I was very close to throwing the book against the wall in frustration. I found this one part of the story absolutely unfathomable (both the choices of the characters involved and Poppy's eventual response it), which is why this novel has 4 stars instead of 5.

Admittedly, if I'd done my research and known that Will You Remember Me? would be a cancer novel I probably would have avoided it as it hits very close to home and at the moment  I prefer to escape from reality in the books that I read. However, I am very glad that I did pick up this stunning novel, because while the story was harrowing and emotionally draining it was also exceptionally moving and reading it was very cathartic. Amanda Prowse was written a beautiful story of family and love, which happens to have cancer at the heart of the novel, not the other way around.

You can purchase the novel from Waterstones, Amazon.co.uk or your own preferred retailer.



Would you like to know more about the author? You can connect with her online at:

Website: amandaprowse.org

Twitter: @MrsAmandaProwse

Facebook: www.facebook.com/amandaprowsenogreaterlove


Many thanks to the publisher for a copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

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