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 dicovered 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?
This is my third Mike Gayle read and I can see a lot of similarities in all three of Gayle’s books that I’ve read. They’re all a little cheesy and a little predictable, but they are also all heartwarming, uplifting reads that look at relationships and friendships from a male point of view.
Tom Hope is a broken man. Ever since his wife Laura died unexpectedly he’s done all he can to keep sadness and grief from his mind. He hasn’t visited his wife’s grave since the funeral, he’s put all his efforts into his job and in turn has neglected to spend any quality time with his two young girls.
“None of us knew how to come back from this moment. This was where the script ended and we all had to improvise.”
Ever since the funeral, Laura’s mother Linda has been taking care of the two girls and then one day she announces that she’s moving to Australia. Tom has absolutely no idea how he’s going to cope without her.
I liked this book for the most part, it’s a lovely read with characters that are easy to like and feel for, with a touch of romance and comedy to keep the story light. I did, however, feel that there was something missing from this story as for most of the book it’s just Tom questioning his parenting ability. I’d have liked something a little more exciting to happen and shake it up a little, but perhaps that’s just down to my personal taste.
This story is told from the points of view of both Tom and his mother-in-law Linda, alternating mid-chapter for a different take on the situation. I wasn’t as keen on Linda’s story line and would have preferred a little more time with Tom. Tom feels like a realistic character and I think writing male characters is where Mike Gayle‘s talents lie.
I didn’t enjoy this book as much as “The Man I Think I Know” but maybe that’s because I find it a little more difficult to relate to a family with young children than exploring adult friendships. I’d probably recommend this book for a slightly older audience or someone looking for a light, heart -warming read.
Overall rating: “The Hope Family Calendar” is a light and easy read looking at family relationships following a tragic loss. It was a little predictable and I felt that something was missing, but I enjoyed it – 3 stars.
See my other reviews of books by Mike Gayle here: