The Hope Family Calendar By Mike Gayle
Tom Hope is broken. Ever since his wife Laura died he hasn’t been the same man, and definitely not the same father. Luckily for Tom his mother-in-law Linda is around to pick up the pieces and look after his two struggling daughters, Evie and Lola. But Tom getting arrested on the first anniversary of his wife’s death is the last straw for Linda.
In a last bid attempt to make Tom reconnect with his daughters she takes drastic action and leaves for Australia. With two fast-maturing daughters Tom has to learn how to accept his responsibilities and navigate the newly discovered world of single fatherhood – starting immediately. With only himself to rely on, will Tom fall back into grief or finally step up and be the father his girls need?
In Mike’s latest book, we meet Tom Hope, a man who’s heart is broken after his wife was tragically killed in a car accident. Overcome with grief and not wanting to face up to the truth, he throws himself into his work and leaves the care of his two daughters to his sympathetic and understanding mother in law, Linda. But as the time draws closer to the anniversary of Laura’s death, Linda decides that it’s time for her to start living and for Tom to act like a father to his daughters, who he has kept his distance from.
Linda, decides to travel to Australia, to fulfil a life long dream of visiting one of her best friends and hopes that with this sudden break, Tom will step up to the plate and begin to behave like the father that he was before Laura died.
The story is about two people who deal with grief differently, we have Linda who naturally steps into the role of mother, she looks after the two little girls and helps them understand as best they can why their mother is no longer around, she’s gentle and sweet and does everything with little or no complaint. Meanwhile Tom, can’t handle the thought of Laura not being around, he finds it difficult to express his emotions and finds it easier to work than spend time in the house and be surrounded by everything that reminds him of what used to be.
With Linda’s sudden departure to Australia, Tom takes a break from work, to devote to getting to know his little girls all over game, this makes for sweet and tender reading as the small unit interact and tentatively get to know each other and deal with their combined grief and pain for the mother that was taken away. As Tom grows in strength, we see a man become more happier and confident in himself as he realises that he can cope as a single parent family and with new friends and relationships along the way, the future is a little bit brighter. Whilst on the other side of the world, Linda has to deal with having time to herself and looking after her needs instead of her family.
A sensitively written story that made for poignant and bittersweet reading, Mike returns with a beautiful tale about starting over and putting ghosts to rest.
You can buy The Hope Family Calendar from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.