“Today is the day that things are going to change for Rachel Bidewell. She will walk through the doors of Clifton Avenue Care Home and start a new life. Rachel is returning to work. And as she discovers, juggling a new job, three children and an ex-husband can feel like drowning. Someone needs to throw her a lifeline… Philip doesn’t seem like an obvious lifesaver. He has just lost the one person who ever cared for him and, even as an adult, he doesn’t know how to live in the real world. But might Philip and Rachel each have something the other needs? This is a story of unexpected friendship; of the messy, muddy territory of those broken by life – and what it takes to fix them. It reminds us that the very darkest of days can be funny, heart-warming and even beautiful.”
Rachel Bidewell needs a win. After splitting up with the father of her three children – Jess, Luke and Alec – she’s just landed a new job at a residential care home. When she’s given her first charge, Philip, she’s confident that things are going to start looking up. Philip has lived a sheltered life which, combined with his mental disabilities, makes him a challenge for any care worker – let alone newbie Rachel – but she’s determined to make progress with him and give him the support he needs after his mother’s death.
However, it’s not as easy as she predicts – the care home is overseen by manager Denise, a brusque woman who clearly doesn’t have the residents’ best interests at heart and who seems determined to sabotage Rachel’s progress with Philip. At the same time, Rachel is struggling with her children, very much reeling from her divorce from husband Dom. Most affected is Alec, a serious, thoughtful boy. After he runs away during a school trip, it seems best for him to go and live with his father for the time being – something Rachel struggles to adjust to.
At the same time, work is getting worse as Denise demands that Philip is given to a new carer due to Rachel’s inexperience, which results in him coming to harm – the last thing Rachel wants to happen. But things start looking up for Rachel and Rob when find proof that Denise has been stealing from the company. Realising their ploy, Denise is determined to bury the truth and cling on to her job, but will Rob and Rachel manage to get the proof they need to ensure that she never threatens the residents’ safety again? And will they give in to the sparks starting to fly between them, or is Rachel too scared to acknowledge them..?
In this lovely heartwarming novel, Kate Anthony gives a rarely seen insight into the lives of those that need caring – and the importance of a strong, nurturing relationship between them and their carer.
Many thanks to Penguin for the review copy.