Matilda Is Missing by Caroline Overington was a fabulous read and I will definitely be glomming Caroline's backlist, all of which sound as unique and fascinating as this one.
Here's the blurb:
Garry Hartshorn and Softie Monaghan were never love's young dream. Not even on their wedding day.
Softie was sophisticated, a career woman, who owned a nice apartment overlooking St Kilda Beach. Garry had a few rough edges, plus one failed marriage and an assortment of jobs under his belt.
But Softie's body clock was ticking, and Garry wanted children …
So they got married, and produced the only thing they ever had in common.
Now, two years later, their golden-haired child is at the centre of a bitter custody battle. Both parents insist that her well-being is the only thing they care about.
Yet, in truth, Matilda was always the one most likely to become lost.
What I LOVED:
Aside from the fact Matilda Is Missing is quite different from the books I usually read, I adored the subject and the way the story of one custody battle was told by a man very closely involved in another battle - that of his wife vs his son's ex-wife. His wife is a cracker of a character, who goes to extremes beyond what most people would but she loved her grandchildren so you could understand where she was coming from.
ALL of the characters are I feel sympathetic, bar one man perhaps who we get hints about throughout the book but do not find the truth of right until the very end.
The voice of the novel was very easy and enjoyable to read.
The plot and the way it me told had me turning pages right into the night. It was a meaty and relevant subject to write about.
What I WISHED THERE WAS MORE OF:
In one word, closure!! I guess I'm a happy ever after girl and I'd have liked to have known what happened to the characters in the end. The story of the narrator and his wife's battle to see their grandchildren was loosely tied up but it was all very sudden and therefore maybe not realistic or satisfying (but that is MY opinion and many others probably disagree). The main story of the custody battle over Matilda doesn't reach a satisfying closure and although this annoyed me on one level, on another I think I understood why the author left it like this. It's a realistic story - I have no idea if it was based on an actual case or not but it very easily could be and the sad fact is, such custody battles are often never resolved to satisfy everyone.
I found it interesting that the two main characters (Matilda's parents) don't actually have any point of view space in the book. Maybe this was deliberately done - without getting into the heads of either of Matilda's parents it was easy not to become too close to them and side with one or the other. In that way, it was a challenging read - I wanted the best for Matilda but both parents had their pros and cons and I didn't know who/if I should barrack for.
I'm not sure how you'd classify this book in terms of genre, but it certainly makes you think and therefore I believe it is the type of novel many people - across different ages and genders - would enjoy!
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