Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Boy That Never Was by Karen Perry

Three year old, Dillon, disappears when his father, Harry, leaves him alone in their apartment in Tangiers for just a few minutes. Believed to be dead, Harry blames himself for Dillon’s disappearance but his wife, Robin, has never blamed him and they have returned to Dublin to start their lives anew without Dillon.

Five years later whilst walking in the Dublin streets, Harry sees an eight year old boy that he is convinced is Dillon. So begins a spiral of obsession and deceit and a succession of secrets and lies are uncovered which would test the strongest of marriages. But who is the boy that Harry saw? Could Dillon really be back from the dead?

When I began this book I did wonder how everyone seemed to be so calm about the tragedy. After all, the disappearance or death of a child is every parents biggest fear. Yet both Robin and Harry seemed relatively peaceful after such a tragedy. However, their personas were only masking the tumultuous range of emotions that they were both experiencing and little by little these are revealed in the book.

I liked this book very much but it took me a long time to warm to any of the characters. Initially, I found Robin and Harry very hard to relate to but by the end of the book my heart was weeping for them both.

It was no surprise to learn that Karen Perry is a writing duo. Paul Perry and Karen Gillece, are Dublin based authors, and this collaborative work is all the better for being written by two writers with differing viewpoints. This lends credence to the two different voices of Harry and Robin and enhanced the reading experience for me.

This is a compelling read and is told through both a present day narration and a series of flashbacks from both characters. Engaging from start to finish as we witness the passionate determinations of Robin and Harry . Both are carrying secrets and burdens which gradually unfold through the book.

Alongside all of this there is the mystery of the boy in the crowd and as a reader I went through the characters anguish with them. Can the boy that Harry saw really be Dillon? Can Robin cope with Harry’s obsession with the boy when it has taken her so long to finally come to terms with Dillon’s death? All very real human emotions and which ensured that I was totally enthralled by this book.

It is a marvellous read; a story of love, loss, acceptance and hope. I highly recommend this book and think it has the power to draw any reader into it’s story.

ISBN:  978 1405912907

Publisher:  Michael Joseph

Price (based on today’s price at Amazon.co.uk):  £10.79

Total saved so far:  £224.61

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