I had read several reviews of the book and when the author sent me this one I was more than delighted. I have liked her previous books so very much and I knew that the likelihood of me being able to buy this here was very remote.
Ninepins is a house and though the surroundings may seem a bit bleak and dismal, it is no doubt with a charm of its own having been a converted pumphouse. Willow a distant 17 year old comes in as a lodger and is a hit with Beth our landlady's 12 year old daughter. Willow is not an average seventeen year old. Her history is murky and troubled but she carries herself well and is very contained. She has been hurt so much in the past that she does not relax easily with most people. It will take time for Willow to unravel and to trust people around her. Then we have Laura trying to chart a course of single motherhood in the best possible way. I empathised with her throughout. Which mother has not bitten her tongue when all she wants to do is smack her recalcitrant daughter? I felt for Laura deeply specially as she had to battle it alone as her ex husband lived in a world of his own. To this unit is added Vince - Willow's social worker who is a paternal figure to all and one on whom Laura would not mind leaning on.
I like that Thornton does not shy away from difficult issues. In this case so many - we have single parenthood, difficult tweens, the peer pressure faced by not just children but their parents as well, the conflicts we have within ourselves when we want to do some good to someone but are at the same time so very over protective of our own. Do we help others to the detriment of our own children? do we want to be selfish that we only think of ourselves and our little units and not of the world beyond. Lots of difficult questions to which we have no easy answers.
At the same time it was not all gloom and doom. There was a bit of romance, there was a lot of family fun and above all we had characters we all could identify with which makes for a very involved read.
As usual I loved her book. Thank you ever so much Rosy for sending it to me all the way here in Sri Lanka. Much appreciated.