Behind The Scenes
Home For The Holidays
Warning: this book had me sobbing as I typed the final words. It may not make you cry, but is sure as hell worked for me. There were so many moving themes in this story for me - the loss of a beloved spouse and mother, the loss of dreams, guilt, redemption, learning to trust again. I really enjoyed exploring Ruby and Ben, Joe’s children, and their different reactions to losing their mother. And I loved exploring prickly, difficult Hannah - she doesn’t always make it easy for people to love her, but I like to think she’s worth the effort.
Hannah’s dream of exploring Australia on the back of a motorbike was inspired by my brother-in-law, Todd. As a young man, he always planned to take six months off work and drive around the wide brown land that is Australia, but he fell in love with my sister and wound up cutting short his trip. Now, as I type this, he and my sister and their three children are driving up the coast of Far North Queensland in their 4WD, caravan in tow. They’ve taken the kids out of school for a term and are fulfilling Todd’s dream as a family. I can’t tell you how extremely cool and wonderful I think this. I love thinking about the sorts of memories they’ll make as they travel together as a family. So far they’ve petted wild kangaroos on the beach, seen World Heritage listed waterfalls, snorkeled, climbed, swum... And they’ve done it all as a family. As far as I’m concerned, it doesn’t get much better. I love getting Skype calls from them and seeing their happy, sun-browned faces. Lucky bastards!
I also want to thank both my sister and my good friend Helen for advice regarding the ending of this book. I don’t want to give anything away for anyone who hasn’t read it yet, but I was aware that Joe was asking a lot of his kids when he invited them to be a part of his decision. I wanted to know how two of the best mothers I know felt about what I was proposing and was hugely relieved when they both agreed that they felt Joe was right to consult his kids and let them be a part of the decision.