Title: Because of You
Author: Dawn French
Publisher: Penguin Books UK
Date of publication: 15 October 2020
Length: 9h 7m
This is a story about mothers and daughters, love and loss, mistakes and regret.
It’s a story about nature and nurture.
Ultimately, it’s a story about what makes us who we are – it is a story for all of us.
Because of You was my very first book by Dawn French. I am always on the lookout for a strong audiobook, and despite being a huge crime fiction fan, I prefer to listen to other genres.
So I agreed to take part in the book tour. I clicked on PLAY. And I discovered Dawn French, voice and words.
What an emotional journey this book is! Details stuck in my mind, Dawn’s voice giving the perfect pace to the audio carried me to London, and my life collided with those of exceptional and ordinary people.
Two women, two deliveries. Two babies. Two very different fates. Separate worlds meet and everything is messy, beautiful, painful, and terrible. There is no way to single out an emotion because the story mixes them all in a rainbow of life.
Hope and Anna are mothers to be. Both already love their baby, their love for the human being ready to come into the world is so intense it changes them.
Quiet Isaac and Julius are pole opposite but together at the threshold of fatherhood.
The year 1999 is almost over. Everyone is ready for 2000…
If the massive technological explosion didn’t happen for us, the world in 2000 is nothing like the characters had expected!
But let’s rewind a bit.
I couldn’t help but judge from the start!!! Yes, throw rocks at me if you want, but you’ll do the same when you read it! The author paints very vivid portraits of both sets of parents, mixing it with the tension of the situation, the sanitized scent of the hospital, the apprehension, and all the hope that comes with a baby. It is difficult to find a more emotionally packed first part of a book! I was overwhelmed, in the best way, with names, history, grudges, and personalities. I was thrown into rooms I should not be in to witness some of the most intimate moments parents experience.
I really, really appreciated how Dawn French made sure to put Isaac and Julius, the fathers, at the heart of things, along with the mothers. We usually get a slightly askew narrative leaning towards the mother, but I didn’t get that feeling here. Yes, Anna and Hope are the absolute main characters, but Isaac and Julius are not simple shadows, although I did find Julius quite cliché and oh-so-infuriating!
What happens when you leave a hospital with empty arms?
Oh, I wish I could expand on the whys and hows but it would be giving too much away. I found myself not taking side. Yes, there is a right and a wrong, that’s how the world works, although in practice, we’re all wandering through the greys. I felt strongly, I laughed at the Wawa, I did shed a couple of tears, and most importantly, I felt my heart grow thanks to this novel.
What makes us ‘us’? What if fate sends us signs? What if we gain something but lose a part of ourselves? The book made me think, feel, think again, feel, and was simply a beautiful way to remind us no path is set in stone and that bad decisions can stem from good intentions. Love lifts us up, but what happens when this love has nowhere to go?
I hope you enjoy Because of You as much as I did!
I loved it!
Grab your copy/audio!
Thank you to Penguin UK for inviting me to be part of this tour!