Book Review: The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells by Virginia Macgregor

Title: The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells
Author: Virginia Macgregor
Published: January 14th 2016 by Sphere
Amazon | Amazon UK

Blurb: One ordinary morning, Norah walked out of her house on Willoughby Street and never looked back. Six years later, she returns to the home she walked away from only to find another woman in her place. Fay held Norah's family together after she disappeared, she shares a bed with Norah's husband and Norah's youngest daughter calls Fay 'Mummy'.

Now that Norah has returned, everyone has questions. Where has she been? Why did she leave? And why is she back? As each member of the family tries to find the answers they each need, they must also face up to the most pressing question of all - what happens to The Mother Who Stayed when The Mother Who Left comes back? 

From the author of What Milo Saw, comes this powerful, emotional and perceptive novel about what it takes to hold a family together and what you're willing to sacrifice for the ones you love.

First of all I would like to thank the publisher for sending me a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*

Review: When I read Virginia Macgregor's first book, What Milo Saw, I fell completely in love with her simple but truthful writing and her quirky characters. I found that book really special, with the right balance between reality and tale. But with this one I think this balance has been lost a bit and what started like an interesting story full of potential turned out to be to unrealistic and even a bit absurd at the end. 

The novel has more or less the same structure as What Milo Saw, short chapters from different points of views. That is something I liked, this way you feel like you know better all the characters involved and understand their actions better. Plus, the author's style was once more, flawless and simple but full of emotions. My main problem with the story was I guess that I didn't get the main two characters, The Mother Who Stayed and The Mother Who Left. I couldn't really connect with them nor did I understand their motives. It's true that as the story unfolded and some truths were uncovered, it changed a bit my conception of these two women but there was something bothering me all the time, why would a mother abandon her family and then expect that coming back 6 years later would be seen as completely normal and everyone would be exactly the same? 

There were also some story lines surrounding this main one, like the older daughter running a twitter campaign to find her mother which I found quite interesting. Through her tweets we could easily see how she was feeling and I thing this sub plot was well handled. And then there was the younger daughter and her obsession with foxes, which I didn't really get. 

My favourite character in the story was the older daughter's boyfriend. He probably was the only one who understood the situation and was trying to help. He had his own little story and I found his little parts very engaging. 

All in all, The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells didn't work for me. I did enjoy it and found some parts very touching and especial. And as I said the writing was beautiful and made me want to keep reading but my problems with the main plot and their main characters were too much to ignore and at the end this novel didn't deliver as much as I had hoped. 


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