Nobody’s Angel, Sarah Hegger,
Genre: Romance, Women’s fiction
Review from Jeannie Zelos book reviews
Well, first in a series and I really enjoyed it and look forward to reading more.
We start with Lucy’s return home after nine years. She left under a cloud, leaving her boyfriend behind, and taking another girls one with her. She’d been one of those teen tearaways, always in trouble, constantly drunk and causing problems with the locals, and was the despair of her parents. She’s home now though, helping her mum with her ailing dad, and with another purpose in mind too. The start is typical of the way things are going to go – she gets out of her car in a snowstorm and promptly knocks her ex, Richard, off his bike with the door….then discovers he lives next door. And is her parents doctor so she’ll be seeing a lot of him! That really doesn’t suit either of them. Richard has married since she left, the girl he was with before Lucy, but he is still furious with her and lets her know it.
Lucy is different from the girl that left. She’s had a difficult few years, finally sobered up after a really bad and violent relationship, and is now following the AA plan and needs to make her apologies. I felt for her, she’s a tough task ahead as she really was horrible and cruel to people. You’d think that would make her unlikeable – and for me I need to like my main lead, but when we see more of her home life I could see that her dramatics were a way of coping, a way of dealing with the fact her dad disliked her, belittled her and was really obnoxious. He’s not happy to see her back, but her mum has been telling Lucy in their phone calls she can’t cope. Lucy tries to get her to make plans, think about a home for dad, about downsizing to a more suitable house, even to just get rid of some of the accumulated detritus of the years. Its all met with negativity though, and it looks to Richard as though she’s pushing them in a direction they don’t want, being a bully. He doesn’t see the day to day dramatics from dad, how he shouts and emotionally debases her mum, though she excuses everything, and Lucy becomes once again the buffer between them, taking the screamed abuse and blame for everything. Its a tough time all round, and on top of that Lucy needs to face up to those she’s wronged and make her apologies. When she does that she’s met with varying reactions, some are ok, just forgive and forget, such as the local shopkeeper whose window she broke in a drunken prank, but others, the ones who’s boyfriends she took, whose parties she spoiled, are not ready to accept she’s different, and won’t forgive. I kind of understand that in a way, when you’ve been treated badly its hard to hear someone say “sorry, I did that but I’m a different person now I’ve stopped drinking” and let it all go. You can’t change the past, but its also tough to believe a person has really changed, and its only by actions they can show it.
When she tells Richard her apologies, when she gets out that list of the things she’s sorry for I was in tears with her. Can people change? Can they make others understand they are different people now? Well, she tried and I loved her for it. If I’d be the one whose boyfriend she swanned off with though…well…its not so easy then is it? And some of those people weren’t particularly nice ones anyway, and certainly enjoyed the scandals she brought when it was other people at the centre of them. Just when it looks as though things might be looking up for her something huge happens, and I was so worried she’s go back to drink to cope. It was a really horrible time for her, and would have been so easy to try that quick route to oblivion.
I loved Richard, a true gentleman, and it’s easy to see why she fell for him all over again. Actually I think it wasn’t so much that as the fact she never really stopped loving him. His marriage wasn’t great, and his wife had left so I was really hoping they’d get a second chance.
Its a great read, one I’d re read happily. It’s thought provoking, has great characters from the gossipy receptionist at Richard’s surgery, the bitchy Ashley and Brooke, both whose boyfriends Lucy took ( though of course the boys weren’t blameless, lets not forget), the wonderful, supportive Mads, her AA sponsor, Richard’s mother and brother – they were so real, so understanding, and I look forward to reading about the lovely Josh, and of course there’s Lucy’s parents. A great mix of real feeling people and problems that made up a thought provoking, sensual and tender story.
Stars: Five, a great read, full of drama and emotion.
ARC provided by Netgalley and publishers.
Nobody’s Angel, Sarah Hegger,