If someone had even brought up the topic of how many variations of an old woman and an unlikely child who brings her happiness could successfully be written, I would have said one or two. With this book, I realise I may have been off in my estimations. This not the first of its type or unique on that front but that does not make it any less heartwarming. I could start a list of UpLit with this subcategory of unlikely friendships to prove my point, but that would mean going back through a lot of posts, and I do not think I have the patience or inclination. You just have to take my word for it.
Our protagonist is Elsie Maple (who is referred to as Mrs Maple in my copy which must have been a typo but confused me quite a bit as to the situation), she is alone and survives due to a strict regime. I had one other tiny problem, I did not find out how she had the money to survive, it is not focussed upon. These small things felt a little odd but did not diminish my sobbing in the very end. Her little ray of sunshine (although she does not know it in the beginning) is Billy. Billy does not understand why he has to suffer the bullying at school and the silences of his next-door neighbour. He takes his frustration out on his mother. When they finally find common footing, things are rocky for a while. Slowly as Elsie starts to come out of her shell and take notice of her surroundings, she starts changing her behaviour. This is her story as well as Billy’s. Billy is a very realistic character, his tantrums, his growth and his small joys were very believable and made the reading all the more fun. It is slower than some others of this genre, which means that the growth arc is more elaborate and takes us with it on the journey from start to finish.
As mentioned earlier, I shed quite a few tears for all of them during the last part of the narrative, and I think there isn’t anything more I could say about the story that would be more descriptive than just that.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.