Book Review: The Good Mother by Sinéad Moriarty

About the Book:

The Good Mother

Kate has been through the fire with her three children …

Having been left devastated and homeless after her husband’s affair and the break-up of their family, somehow she has pulled through. Though times are still tough, she’s beginning to see the start of a new life.

But when twelve-year-old Jesssica is diagnosed with cancer, Kate’s resilience is put to the ultimate test. She has an eighteen-year-old son consumed with hatred of his father, a seven-year-old who is bewildered and acting up and an ex-husband who won’t face up to his responsibilities. And in the middle of it a beloved child who is trying to be brave but is getting sicker by the day.

Kate knows she must put to one side her own fear and heartbreak and do right by her children, particularly Jessica. But maybe doing the right thing means doing the unthinkable?

My Thoughts:

Sinéad Moriarty brings us a thought provoking and heart wrenching story of love, loss and family. Kate, mother of three, is forced to deal with the break-up of her marriage. Her husband had an affair and moved out, deciding to marry the other woman. The first part of the story shows us how Kate and the children cope with this, the impact this has on the children, and how they all pull together to support one another.

The bonds between the siblings is very strong, and even though they act out in different ways, they come together to support their mother through this time. Jessica, the middle child of the three and the only girl brings a childish charm and a level of maturity that is common among children who are forced to grow up too soon. However, in her, this just makes her more likeable, and everyone’s rock. Her older brother has a more difficult time dealing with the family break-up, as he looked up to his father more than anyone else. His support system are his sister and his girlfriend, who becomes a very integral part of the family and the story. The youngest, hardly knows his father, and is confused most of the time, acting out in any way that only children can.

The beauty of the plot is that the author portrays her characters in shades of grey. There is no right or wrong in this, things just happen, and after a point, you accept that and try to move on. Forgive, learn and move on, but it is not necessary to forget. The story moves at a steady place initially, painting a picture of Kate’s life, her coping mechanisms, and the support she gets from her father. The plot thickens when Jessica, who is absolutely healthy, suddenly takes a turn for the worse, and is later diagnosed with cancer.

In reality, unless you have had to deal with such a situation by yourself, it is not easy to relate to the shock, pain and horror of someone having cancer. The author has brought out the feelings and emotions very well, making sure that the reader is able to understand them. We are taken on an emotional roller-coaster afterwards, as we follow Kate and her family as they deal with the cancer. The way it affects everyone and how Jessica deals with it form the crux of the later half of the story. There is a lot to learn from Jessica, who though a child, has an “old soul” and wisdom that goes beyond her years.

The final question that this book prompts is this: Would you love someone enough to let them go? and, if you do, can you live with the truth? These questions are food for thought and this well-written story is a gripping read to the end.

The Tales of the Zodiac by PJ Hetherhouse

The Tales of the Zodiac is a series of books of which The Goat’s Tale is the first.  I was given this book as a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

Blurb

It is the distant future. Time has seen humanity rise and fall many times, seemingly
 unable to learn from the mistakes of the past. Now, on the brink of another decline, twelve people step forward to change the course of destiny. Each of them has a tale 
to tell…

The tales of the zodiac is a series inspired by Celtic mythology, Arthurian legend and, most importantly, astrology. Living in a time when Mother Nature has resumed control, the human race has regressed back to its feudal past. It is here, in two civilisations gripped by political intrigue and religious fanaticism, that the tales take place. We begin with Capricorn – The Goat’s Tale.

A boy of sixteen, Gruff is old beyond his years. He is a dour, dogged, determined
 character driven by competitiveness and his rigid moral code. Unsurprisingly, 
this attitude wins him more enemies than friends and, eventually, earns him the most powerful enemy of all – the king.

This royal enmity sets him on a quest that will change his life forever. With nothing but sheer belligerence, and the help of three fierce companions (including Cancer and Scorpio), he defies the king and ultimately achieves an unthinkable victory. Above all things, The Goat’s Tale is a tribute to the indomitable soul of the Capricorn.

My Thoughts:

‘The Goat’s Tale’ is the first in an astrology-themed series of young adult fantasy novels.

This story revolves around the zodiac sign Capricorn and through the story the author subtly brings out the characteristics of any person belonging to that zodiac sign. The author shows us both the positive and negative aspects of the goats personality through this beautifully woven story set in a time when there were kings and knights.

Sixteen year old Gruff is set on being the best at everything that he can even when it means defying the elders and competing directly against the prince. Through this, he ends up gaining the notice of the King who seems to have a taken a dislike to him. He is then tasked to take on a quest from which most people believe there is no return. This story highlights the determination and strength of the Capricorn as they are faced with danger and various life threatening situations. In addition, we are introduced to two people who end up either accompanying Gruff or later joining him. As we understand each person’s character, it is clear that the author has also introduced us to those belonging to the zodiac of Cancer and Scorpio.

This story marks the beginning of the entire series as Ser Gruff plays an important role in bringing the twelve knights together. A story where there is adventure mixed with discovery of both region and self, this is worth a read. A lot of events take place in this book and we come across many characters, some who remain until the end and some who are just passing by. However, all of them have their own importance and place and fit in seamlessly with the plot.

These people however play side roles which are however pivotal in the story. On the whole, this story lays down the path for more stories to come. This is an entertaining read that will keep the reader hooked and wanting for more.