…by Caroline Overington.
Barry Harrison has been left with a box of files and tapes by his friend Frank Brooks. Frank was a judge in the Family Court who passed away from terminal cancer. And he manages to tell Barry that he stuffed up and hopes Barry can help him make things right. Problem is Barry doesn’t know what Frank wants from him. All he has are court documents and transcripts of a couple who went through the Family Law Court and their counselling session tapes. Amidst all this, he is also dealing with his own son’s divorce and his wife’s reaction over-reaction to not being able to have access to her grandchildren. Barry then listens to the tapes at hand. They are of Softie Monaghan and Garry Hartshorn. The couple fighting for the custody of their daughter Matilda. The couple had nothing in common when they got together. Softie was a sophisticated career-woman while Garry was in his own words, a bogan, with several jobs under his belt. It appears that the only thing that made Softie continue with the relationship was that his adoptive mother Jean and her second husband Rick Hartshorn, a well-known car dealer were sophisticated enough leading her to believe she could change Garry. Plus there was her ticking body clock at the age of thirty-nine. While both parents believe they have Matilda’s best interest at heart and are hence entitled to her custody, it is little Matilda who gets lost in the process.
This is now the third book I’ve read by the author Caroline Overington and she reminds me a bit of an Aussie Jodi Picoult in that she deals with issues that are probably on everyone’s minds but which no one likes to talk about. Add to that a bit of mystery to keep the reader intrigued. In this book, Overington tackles the issue of Family Courts and how ridiculous the laws have become where in the end, the child loses. While the child may not lose their parents, being dragged through the process is hard on some kids. She also appears to make comments on how women give so much importance to the whole ticking of their body clocks that they are willing to have a child with just about anyone. Without thinking about the consequences. Add to that the idea that you can change your partner and just how wrong that can be! Neither Garry nor Softie are particularly likeable but I think that was the point…so as a reader, you really wouldn’t side with one over the other. All in all, it has been yet another book I thoroughly enjoyed. I am definitely going to be looking forward to her books in the future.
My rating would be a 5.
Until next time,
Note: This has been cross-posted on my personal blog