Title: The Idea of You
Author: Amanda Prowse
Genre: General Fiction
Publication Date: 21st March 2017
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
ISBN 13: 9781503942332
Started: 19th March 2017
Completed: 20th March 2017
Summary: With her fortieth birthday approaching, Lucy Carpenter dares to hope that she finally has it all: a wonderful new husband, Jonah, a successful career and the chance of a precious baby of her own. Life couldn’t be more perfect.
But the reality of becoming parents proves much harder than Lucy and Jonah imagined. Jonah’s love and support is unquestioning, but as Lucy struggles with work and her own failing dreams, the strain on their marriage increases. Suddenly it feels like Lucy is close to losing everything…
I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. Thank you to the author, Amanda Prowse, and the publisher, Lake Union Publishing, for this opportunity.
Amanda Prowse is a bestselling author of General Fiction and has written many books including Poppy Day and What Have I Done? Her main characters are always ordinary women which makes her writing very easy to relate to.
I’ve never read any of her other work because I’m not a fan of this type of book but I’ve been trying to expand my reading into different genres and this was a great opportunity to do that.
Lucy is a 39-year-old Londoner who, at the very start of the book, meets her future husband. She has a rewarding job in advertising but she feels as though something is missing from her life, a child, so when she meets Jonah at a christening she believes that her life is finally on the right track.
This story has a lot of tragedy in it as Lucy miscarries multiple times which makes her feel like a failure as she yearns for motherhood. The end of each chapter is heartbreaking as Lucy speaks to her lost children. These sections are in first person, unlike the rest of the novel which is in third person, and it really gives you an insight into Lucy’s grief and how she’s coping with her loss. Her multiple miscarriages sets off a heartbreaking chain of events that put strain on Lucy’s new marriage and her new life.
As the book goes on you learn more about Lucy’s past and it didn’t shock me when Lucy’s secret was revealed because Prowse left a lot of hints. This aspect of the novel added a lot to Lucy’s character and it made me understand her motivations. I enjoyed the slow reveal of Lucy’s secret because it added an extra layer to the novel that I didn’t expect when I first started reading the book.
There’s some of discussion about how women can’t have it all, as Lucy considers her future as a mother but also all of the hard work she has put into her career. She notices at the awful culture of women being sidelined by their bosses just because they may want to become a mother one day. It highlights the struggle that a lot of working women have as they’re unable to have both a career and a child at the same time.
Prowse also examines that tensions surrounding blended families as Jonah was previously married and has a 16-year-old daughter from his previous marriage. He has never lived with his daughter but bringing her into his new family home with Lucy creates a lot of tension, especially with Lucy’s miscarriages.
The writing style is simple but I’m not a fan of it because some of Lucy’s flashbacks don’t feel separated enough from the main body of writing. This is probably deliberate to show how Lucy’s past and future meld together as she drifts but I just found it distracting, especially the section where she remembers knitting with her grandmother early on in the story.
I also didn’t like Jonah’s character much because he feels too sappy and I never felt as though he grieved for his lost children. However, this is how Lucy thinks about Jonah so her narrative has influenced the way in which Jonah is perceived
Overall, I enjoyed the book but the writing style just wasn’t for me. I liked the plot more than I expected to and I really liked Lucy as a character because she felt very human and was incredibly well written.
I wouldn’t purchase this book for myself but I do think that it’s a good read and that it covers several very interesting, complex topics.