Book Review: Whatever It Takes by Adele Parks

Whatever It TakesWhat’s it about?2012 WBN LogoBBC 2014

Eloise Hamilton is a Londoner born and bred, so it is a momentous day when she reluctantly agrees to uproot to Dartmouth, leaving behind her perfect world so her husband can finally live in his. There are compensations, however. Her mother-in-law Margaret will welcome her with open arms, and besides, she can still rely on best friend Sara to be her lifeline to London.

But both Margaret and Sara are facing their own difficulties, and thrust into unexpected turmoil, Eloise finds she is the one holding everything together for her loved ones – and by an ever-weakening thread. As her world implodes with the strain of being responsible for all around her, someone is bound to be overlooked. And the damage might be irreparable…

My thoughts

This book was next up on my World Book Night reading challenge. I’d not read any Adele Parks before so to be honest was just expecting fluffy chick-lit boy meets girl but this wasn’t like that. It was more grown up if that makes sense?

Having moved her family from to Dartmouth, her husband’s home town, Eloise tries to make a new life for them and is desperately wanting to fit in to the Dartmouth scene but leaving her beloved London behind and her best friend is harder than she thought.

Eloise is a bit of a Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way but if I’m honest I think it’s Margaret’s character that actually steals the show. As Margaret’s Alzheimer’s becomes more apparent we get an insight into what it’s like for her living with this ‘smudge’ as she calls it and how it affects not only her but her family too. Alzheimer’s is such a wicked condition!

As she doesn’t seem to have any real grasp any more of the consequences of the things she says Margaret’s revelation  had the potential to rip her family apart…but then really she was the only one that did see beneath the cracks in her own fuddled way. One of my favourite scenes was the Apple Tart and Lavender Cream – I can honestly imagine this happening and I loved how well Eloise wanted to care for Margaret, they had a special relationship that made me feel warm inside.

On the flip side, I’ve no idea how Sara came to be Eloise’s best friend. What an incredibly horrible self obsessed woman; to be that deceitful and disrespectful to someone who had only ever helped you just shows the desperation she felt at not being able to have a baby. I was surprised at how both Eloise and Sara were able to let their friendship slide so easily but then I guess we’ve all been there. And..considering Charlie and Sara had money worries I was surprised how they managed to just up sticks and leave but hey probably for the best….

There’s a brilliant twist at end that really surprised me and I didn’t see coming, I thought that it was all sewn up rather nicely and then boom! That one left me reeling!

With deep issues of infertility and Alzheimer’s it’s not a light read but Parks hasn’t made it a dreary read either but one that’s very emotive and engaging and one that would make a good read for a book club it could provoke a really good discussion.

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**Als0 – I’m running a giveaway for The State We’re In, also by Adele Parks – enter here a Rafflecopter giveaway

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