by Hannah Tunnicliffe (Macmillan) ISBN 9781742612416
This beautifully and tenderly written novel is about love, family, loss, betrayal and finding peace. Hannah Tunnicliffe describes the slice of life in such a vivid and gentle manner. Have your tissues handy though - this is not a fairy tale.
Francesca "Frankie" Caputo is an Italian American who is about to marry her childhood sweetheart, Alex. She knows his waspish mother does not like her, and that he is less than comfortable around her loud and demonstrative family...but she knows they love one another and that should be enough.
Then Alex goes out surfing one day, which brings him so much joy, but this time, he does not return home. His body is found with a gash to the head, and the autopsy cannot determine whether he drowned first or hit his head on a rock before that.
Frankie's perfect life is shattered. Her dream wedding to the only man she has ever loved is ripped away and all she is left with are broken promises and memories. She runs away to Alex's grandfather's cabin near to where Alex proposed to her to escape.
In the forest, she meets some down-to-earth and loving people who take her in and help her find her feet again. Her estranged sister comes to help as well, but has to sleep in her car because Frankie does not want to see her. Frankie's family comes to visit, and her father tells her to come home as life does go on - as it did when Frankie's mother died many years before.
The story has its twists and turns but the moral is the same - people all have flaws and irritations but we need to keep those who are truly there for us close to us for they will bring us back when we've lost our way.