Book Review – “The Man Who Didn’t Call”

This delightful book is one of the beauties I’ve received to review, and I must say it took me hugely by surprise just how much I enjoyed it. And yet, what isn’t there in it to be drawn to? A story of romance, grief, love, loss, and most of all, hope.

As always I’ll do my best to get across my impressions and opinions without spoilers.

Two people, head over heels in love, spend seven wonderful days together. And then she doesn’t hear from him. We follow Sarah through her trails of thought, fear, rage, sadness, and watch her try to figure out exactly what’s gone wrong. In between that, we also have letters written, and drafts of emails deleted, drawing us further in to the mystery of exactly what changed so suddenly.

In a lot of ways this concept is something we can all very much relate to; the large majority of us have at some point been out on a date or two, never to hear from the person again. Whilst the romance in the story is far more intense, the fact it is also a realistic possibility that this character has just been messed around allows you to really engage on an emotional level. So when the twists and turns that this story leads you on start, you are already just as head over heels invested as Sarah is. You need to know what has happened.

Whilst this is primarily a work of romantic fiction, there are so many levels and layers that I think multiple audiences could find themselves gripped, even if romance is not their general flavour. We see mental health representation, and that of a carer dealing with severe mental health issues, how intense this can be. We see also how grief explodes outwards, not simply impacting the inner circle, but radiating to other rings. We see the irrational beahviour that it is easy to be pushed to when you need answers, no matter how absurd you would have found the same actions two days before. And most significantly, we see healing. We see the power of healing, the possibility of it, and the strength that can be found even in the strangest of places.

I found this book to be so moving. As I’ve indicated, I feel there is a lot that can be related to, but even more than that, Rosie Walsh has done such an incredible job making this novel accessible, warm, and engaging. It leads you to reassess your own feelings and opinions towards situations in your own life, and makes you want to hold your loved ones tight. The lay out is logical but also curious, and as the pieces of the puzzle start to unfold it is one of those books that you simply cannot put down. I wish I could wipe my memory of it, so I could read it all over again.

Truly stunning, and a must read for 2019.

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