I Couldn’t Love You More

Three generations of women are forced to live with the choices they have made for the people they love.

Book title

I Couldn’t Love You More

Author

Esther Freud

Standalone or series

Standalone

First time reading this author?

Yes

Why I picked this

I don’t read a lot of family fiction, so was interested in trying this.

Review copy or purchase

Thank you to the author, publishers Bloomsbury and online book club Pigeonhole for the chance to read this for free. This is an honest and voluntary review.

What it’s about

The choices which women have to make and the circumstances in which they have to make it are examined in the stories of three women growing up in three very different eras.

Review

This story manages to combine being utterly heartbreaking while still remaining fundamentally hopeful.

We follow three generations of women. Each facing challenges of living within the expectations of family and society, and having to make hard decisions as a result.

Aoife had to send her child away at a very young age to keep her safe from the dangers of war time in London. When Rosaleen returns home their relationship is difficult, and Cash, Rosaleen’s father and Aoife’s husband, has little patience for the wilful girl who keeps running away from the convent school she is then sent to board at.

Rose falls in love with an artist, an older man she knows her parents won’t approve of, but she’s ready to make her life in London away from the rural Ireland her parents now farm.

Kate loves her daughter and her husband, but Matt’s drinking and late nights with his bandmates are putting pressure on the young family. A pressure which isn’t helped by the lingering question of if she is adopted, then who and where is her birth mother.

I know not everyone reads the blurb on the back of a book before they read it, but this is one where I think it really does help. Like a number of my fellow readers on Pigeonhole found it quite tricky to follow who was who at the beginning of this story, but re-reading the blurb helped keep the three main characters straight in my head.

Rose and Kate are the stand outs of this story, Aoife only starts to come into her own towards the end, but I liked Rose and Kate from the start. While Rose starts off embracing an unconventional life, reality quickly catches up and she’s forced into a situation she doesn’t know how to get out of. Whereas Kate has a fairly typical life, and has to look at whether she wants to accept the sacrifices that go with that, or take the plunge and walk a different path.

The story jumps through time, and works better when there are longer sections from a character than when it’s taking shorter jumps between their stories. But, pay attention and you’ll find impressive plotting and a story which does all pull together in the end.

Rating

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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