I would like to thank @alexxlayt for inviting me to take part in the blogtour for this book, and for gifting me a copy in exchange for my honest, fair and unbiased opinion.
Her husband’s moved out – and her dad’s moved in…
It’s New Years Eve, and Iris has just found out that her husband, Adam, is cheating on her. Furious, she kicks him out, and enlists her Dad to move in and help with the children whilst she tries to mend her broken heart.
But her Dad soon starts to display signs of Alzheimer’s, and Iris realises that if she loses her partner, she’ll be managing an awful lot on her own. Soon, she realises that Adam wasn’t the only one taking their marriage for granted, and for the sake of the children she decides to give him one more chance.
But is it braver to stay than to run? And can’t anyone fall in love with the same person twice?
Iris finds out her husband has been cheating, as everyone is celebrating the New Year in, she is trying to let this information sink in. Is it worse that the person he is cheating with is from his past? When Iris confronts Adam, he doesn’t deny it, he is sorry, or is he sorry he has been caught? He comes up with no solid reasons initially why, this comes at the end of a year that has already been tough for Iris as she had watched her mum die. She was juggling a career, managing the house, as well as raising two young children. As the pressure on women mounts more and more to be able to do all of these things in the twentieth century. Add to that the pressure of possible redundancy from her job if she doesn’t get some new clients paying bigger monies. Then there is the good looking entrepreneur Lucas Caulfield, would it be so wrong to do to Adam what he has done to her, break that vow of trust that is an important part of any marriage or relationship.
Iris’s initial reaction is to throw Adam out, bring her father in to help with the child care, until she realises that things aren’t quite as good as they seem with her father. Is she also prepared to be a single parent?, sharing custody of the children with Adam. So she proposes to Adam they give it a year, and decide after that year if there is anything left to save, or is it all over.
This is a well plotted, well written complex story about marriage, relationships, friendships, and a delicate brief look at Alzheimer’s and the effect it can have.
I have to be perfectly honest having been through a similar situation as Iris, this was a little close to home for me in places, I expected to feel more sympathy for Iris, when in fact at times my sympathy fell toward Adam, but would then shift back to Iris and on it went. Adam agreed to abide by every term that Iris laid down, he also has some back story which adds to the tension, as you learn more about Adam as well as Iris there upbringing’s have been so totally different, and have had clearly different impacts on their lives. The story is told going from New Years Eve to New Years Eve, Iris is the main narrator throughout, you have no idea what the outcome will be until those last pages. As the relationship swings in the balance. Iris demands they go to marriage guidance counselling, Adam is initially reluctant, but then he embraces it more than Iris seems to, Iris’s anger and the betrayal coming to the forefront of many sessions. Her job pressure leading her to cancel some of the sessions. But it is interesting to see the different perspectives as they each bring things up in counselling. How much do they really communicate with each other, each taking the other for granted at times.
It is clear that Iris is not one for asking for help even if she needs it, and Adam doesn’t offer help as he doesn’t seem to see she needs it, all these things are explored within the story. Iris does have the support of her friends, but is it always the sort of support she wants. My one main problem and only real problem was as to whether Iris really truly loves Adam, I couldn’t see it for so much of the story, because she was so focused on her work, and other things, but then life can get bogged down with those things. I was trying to work out if this was deliberate on the authors part, along with some empathy for Adam, or was that just how I was seeing it.
As the story moves on, it’s clear things aren’t as they seem with Iris’s dad, this side of the story was beautifully and delicately handled, the difficulties raised, Iris’s initial shock as to what she had neglected to see was happening with her father, but it was just another pressure on her already over busy complicated life, easily overlooked. There are a few humorous moments added within the story which lightened some of the mood at times.
I did find this a complex read, and I think anyone who has been through this kind of situation may also feel the same. But the handling of the overall story is well, balanced and handled. When you have been hurt, when the trust has gone from that relationship can you bring it back from the brink? Do you want to? Can you fall back in love with that person? You will have to read the book to find out what decision Iris comes too!
I give this 4⭐️ out of 5, it’s definitely worth a read if this is the type of story you enjoy, well written, with thought and care
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Helen Whitaker is a 40-year-old, journalist and mum-of-one living in Walthamstow. She is the former Entertainment Director of Glamour, and had]s written for a number of publications including Stella, The Telegraph, Fabulous and Total Film. Helen is currently Deputy Editor at British Airways High Life Magazine, and author of her debut novel The School Run.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT THIS BOOK
Searingly honest and deeply heartfelt, I Give It a Year is a keenly observed tale of love gone wrong and the things we try to do to make it right again. Whitaker deftly mines the complexity of long term relationships, exposing both their fragility but ultimately leaving the reader with a real sense of a hope. A triumph! – Mike Gayle
I was moved to tears by Helen’s words – she has such a way of exploring humanness: our flaws, our hopes, and our fallibilities. I give It a Year is so well-observed, with a kind eye and an open heart. It’s wonderful. – Laura Jane Williams
‘I love Helen’s writing, and how she cleverly gets under the skin of modern life, parenting and relationships. Pure escapism. This novel is everything I hoped it would be and more; witty, charming and at times very moving.’ Emma Gannon