I would like to thank @EyriePress for inviting me to take part in a this blogtour. Thank you for the ARC all opinions are my own and are in no way influenced.
Having lived with a secret which has brought him nightmares since World War Two, Henry enlists Amelia’s help to create the perfect day for all the other forgotten residents. In order to succeed, Henry needs to uncover the remarkable stories of all,those who call Sandwick home.
It’s 1985, and single mum Amelia is beginning her new job at Sandwick Nursing Home in the Shetlands. While there, she befriends resident Harry Halleton, a retired BBC war correspondent who is coming to terms with the loss of his wife. As Amelia struggles to connect with her young son, Henry forms a strange relationship with Mary, a dementia sufferer, under the watchful eye of brutal head nurse, Sean.
The Man Who Made Them Happy is a story about the lengths one man will go to free himself from his demons. Poignant and powerful, it is a tale of love, friendship, kindness … and guilt.
Where do I start, this is an absolutely beautiful read, from start to finish, I read it in one sitting as I got to know each character they began to feel like new friends. The story is set in 1985, I think for me this was a little nostalgic as at the time I was nursing, working in a day hospital for people with Dementia. I had also worked in nursing homes and rest homes as well as a big hospital. A time before the internet, mobile phones, 24 hr television. When people communicated with each other.
Amelia arrives for her first day at the Sandwick Nursing Home on the Shetland Isle, but her start isn’t great, as she gets out of her car she sees a lady lying on the floor having fallen out of her wheelchair, she rushes over to attend to the lady so does the son, who is soon angry at Amelia. Within a few minutes out comes Sean Gough the head nurse in charge of the home. He soon blames another member of staff for the lady not being strapped in her wheelchair, with no sign of real remorse that this has happened. It wasn’t long before I summed up Sean. I wasn’t wrong.
Amelia is a single mum struggling to raise her young son Brodie after her husband had left her after 5 years of marriage. Still trying to work out what went wrong in her marriage she is determined to be there for Brodie. She is stressed and messed up, relying on anti depressants to get her through the days. Thrown in at the deep end her first day at the home is chaotic with lots of things going on.
A new resident is moving in Henry Halleton, a retired BBC war correspondent, he is trying to come to terms with the loss of his wife Emily. Henry has a secret he has carried with him since World War Two, the only person he had ever told was his late wife, this secret haunts him every night in his dreams. He has the ability to read people, it’s not long before he has read Amelia.
I loved the bond that develops between Henry and Amelia, as well as the way that both of these characters care about the other residents in the home. Amelia see’s that the residents want to be called by their first names, she gradually tries to introduce small changes, things that will make the residents smile, not an easy task with Sean around and in charge. It’s very soon clear that things aren’t as they should be at Sandwick. Amelia broaches the subject with some of the other staff members but they either don’t want to change things or are scared to, there is also the matter of proving what Amelia believes is happening. Henry watches over Mary, a resident who has dementia and at times thinks that Henry is her late husband Peter. Which he goes along with anything that will bring a little joy into Mary’s life.
The characters make this story, as Henry decides he wants to create a perfect day for each and everyone of the residents, in order to do this he needs two things, help from Amelia, and to get to know the stories of each resident which he sets out to do armed with his notebook and dictaphone. Henry is a gentle determined soul.
An uplifting story of one man’s attempt to free himself of a guilt he carries, a story of friendship, love, and kindness. You will find yourself laughing and crying. This is truly a delightful, powerful read that I will be reading more than once I think, as well as highly recommending it for anyone who is looking for a story that will stay with them.
The characters are all three dimensional, relatable, lovable. This will definitely be in my top ten books of this year. I love it when you find a special book like this and this one is very special.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jon Lawrence is a Welsh author, playwright and poet who now resides in Norfolk. To date he has written three novels, four novellas, a full-length play, two children’s songbooks and a number of children’s school plays. He has also written an autobiographical travel journal about his treks through five deserts. He also teaches creative writing and music.
Facebook – @jonlawrencewriting
Twitter – @JonLawrenceWri1
Instagram – @jonlawrenceauthor
Website – http://jonlawrence.co.uk/
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