I Give It A Year | Helen Whitaker

REVIEWED BY KAREN BYROM www.karensbookbag.co.uk

Would you forgive your cheating husband?

Iris and Adam have a solid marriage – or so she believes until she picks up her husband’s iPad one day, to discover a series of messages from his first love, Jules.

The pair have reconnected – and their affair has been going on for months!

Devastated, Iris throws Adam out at first but his pleas for forgiveness make her reconsider. Apart from anything else, does she really want to be a single mother of two small children, struggling to hold down a high-powered job which at the moment is under threat?

Besides, she still loves Adam. The question is, can she forgive him?

Adam returns home and the pair embark on marriage counselling, but other stresses come into play. Iris’s widowed father Terry is showing signs of dementia, the kids are playing up and her boss keeps upping her targets, piling on the pressure at work at a time when Iris needs to concentrate on her home and family.

With searing honesty, she’s forced to question whether her commitment to her career, her grief at her mother’s death and the demands of her children, Jack and Savannah, have been part of her marriage problems.

The fine line between blame and shame

That’s not to excuse Adam’s behaviour, of course, and author Helen Whitaker does a brilliant job of navigating the fine line between blame and shame.

She keeps us firmly on Iris’s side while ensuring we have enough sympathy for Adam to hope that his wife will one day forgive him. Though it’s nice to see him squirm, too.

And then suddenly Iris is faced with the same temptations as Adam, in the shape of charming businessman Lucas. Will she indulge in a bit of tit-for-tat? Or will she continue to strive in her commitment to giving her marriage another chance.

It’s all very suspenseful stuff, and wonderfully gripping, too. The author is adept at describing the minutiae of family life in funny and emotional ways.

She doesn’t shirk from describing Iris’s real heartbreak but she balances it well with humour and wit as we follow Iris through her interactions with friends, family, colleagues and her marriage counsellor.

Often humorous, always emotional

Jack and Savannah are the most real kids I’ve met in a fiction book. They’re like every seven and four-year-old I’ve ever come across – not so much cute and cuddly as cross and demanding, but very loveable, too.

I was also fascinated by Iris’s job. As a corporate fundraiser for a national charity, she has to schmooze the rich and powerful. It’s a world away from what I thought charity fund-raising was all about, and really interesting to read about… especially when handsome Lucas comes on the scene…

I Give It A Year is so much more than a romance. It’s an honest, open, often humorous but always emotional account of the dangers of betrayal, the importance of honesty and the grace of forgiveness and second chances. I loved it.

I Give It A Year is published by Trapeze in paperback, RRP £8.99

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