Originally published: 11 July 2019 (Paperback 14 May 2020)
Author: Deborah Moggach
Published by: Tinder Press
Length: 288 pages
Reading dates: 6-8 May 2020
Since his wife died, intellectual James, once an eminent professor has been living alone in the Cotswolds, becoming increasingly frail in his old age. His children, Robert and Phoebe are both in their early 60s and have their own busy lives and need someone to care for their father so they are overjoyed to find Mandy from Solihull. 50 years old, overweight with Rosemary West specs, she comes highly recommended and James immediately takes a liking to her which means Robert and Phoebe can return to their lives knowing their father is in safe hands.
Robert lives in a large house in Wimbledon with his wife, a breakfast news reader on the TV. His children have left home, he has lost his job in the city, misses his dog and yearns to write a novel, hiding away in his garden shed. Phoebe lives alone in a small Welsh town, is a an artist, and is sleeping with Torren, a hippy who lives in a hut in the forest.
Mandy makes James happy – they go on jaunts together to hedgehog sanctuary’s and shopping centres and enjoy watching the birds together in the garden. To begin with the siblings are happy with Mandy’s care of their father but they soon become worried. Their father is becoming even more frail and forgetful, he visits his solicitor, the siblings find Mandy has been going through some personal items of their father and she starts making little digs at them about their lifestyles.
I haven’t read any books by Moggach before, but I was gifted a proof of The Carer by Kerrie over at I Loved Reading This last year and I had hung onto it, keen to read a book by her and when this opportunity came up to take part in the blog tour, I jumped at the chance. I really enjoyed this family drama. The cast of characters are all pretty unlikeable but with reason. Robert and Phoebe are both pretty spoilt and despite neither having jobs or commitments, they are both “too busy” to take care of their elderly father, They both feel inadequate in his eyes and still feel resentful of how distant he was in their childhood.
There are secrets a plenty that are revealed and it didn’t go the way I expected it to. It is a very knowing book – the idea of caring for an elderly parent is a modern day nightmare for many and siblings often battle to pass the care to the other. It is something both my husband and I have had to deal – both our mums had cancer and juggling work, childcare and our own lives wasn’t easy but I think we did our best and I hope our mums would of agreed with that. There was definitely resentment between my sister and I though!
Looking at family relationships, the insecurities children feel and the rivalry between siblings, I really enjoyed this very honest look at family life. I think it was perfectly suited to someone of my age (mid 40s) as I think I could relate to the themes more. I’m glad to have finally read this author.
Thank you to Anne Cater for inviting me on the tour. Take a look at the other great bloggers below.
About the author:
Deborah Moggach is a British writer, born Deborah Hough on 28 June 1948. She has written fifteen novels to date, including The Ex-Wives, Tulip Fever, and, most recently, These Foolish Things. She has adapted many of her novels as TV dramas and has also written several film scripts, including the BAFTA-nominated screenplay for Pride & Prejudice. She has also written two collections of short stories and a stage play. In February 2005, Moggach was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by her Alma Mater, the University of Bristol . She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a former Chair of the Society of Authors, and is on the executive committee of PEN.