Donna O'Connor is a single mum to teenager Matt, and wonderful three-legged dog Sadie and little houserabbit Findus. She works in an office but would ideally like to get involved in working directly with children with difficulties, at a respite home, helping them learn. Her first marriage ended, her ex-husband Jeremy now having taken up with someone new, and being less than helpful with his fathering duties to Matt.
Mark is a policeman and single father to his autistic son, Karl. He would love to find a lasting relationship with someone who can accept him and Karl as they are, but fears that this will ever happen. So when he meets Donna, and feels an instant attraction, he hesitates before telling her the full facts about his life, despite sensing she is a kind-hearted lady. And for her part, Donna wonders if Mark would 'really want to be embroiled in the life of a single mum and all the problems that went with it?' Not telling the truth initially to each other, though, means that lies and misunderstandings abound, and any chance of love is in jeapody.
Despite their shared nervousness, there are glimpses and moments of tenderness early on which show how much they actually like each other. When Mark tells Donna he would always want to make her laugh and smile it means so much to her. 'It was such a small thing he'd said, but so poetic in its simplicity, her disorientated heart felt full to overflowing. He hadn't been gushing, full of false compliment designed to impress. He'd picked on the one thing she quite liked about herself: her smile, which she hadn't had a reason g to use much lately.'
I feel that this story has been written with real warmth and heart, with a wry humour at the ups and downs that life throws at people. It was lovely to read a story where companion animals feature prominently, as they so often provide us with much needed company and unconditional love. In particular rabbits and dogs, which are both close to my own heart.
You can read a feature posted on my blog earlier this year about this book and the author here.
Find out more about the book and Safkhet here.