*Mother’s Only Child was purchased by myself however this post does contain affiliate links, which means I can make a small percentage of money for sales, at no additional cost to you.
Maria is a girl with a great talent for design. Although the world is embroiled in war, all she can think of is her scholarship to study in Dublin. But then her father has a dreadful accident and her mother breaks down in guilt and grief. Maria, the only child, must care for them both. Her hopes are dashed, not only of her career, but of marrying the one who’s loved her for years.
Reluctantly, Maria is driven into the arms of the supposedly reliable Barney. But he’s no such thing. The young couple have to leave their village in a hurry and settle in Birmingham, where Barney betrays those who have helped them and finally goes too far. The family comes perilously close to tragedy before Maria finds hope in the most unlikely place.
Anne Bennett is one of the first adult fiction authors I ever read and I always thoroughly enjoy her books. Her style of writing seems to capture my attention straight away and I find that I can’t put the book down.
Mother’s Only Child starts off with a young Maria and goes into depth to show that Maria had a very happy life and how she has a bright future ahead of her. Whilst you know by the blurb that this will change, as you read on, you almost forget this knowledge. The first section also shows how well thought of and liked both Maria and her parents were within the village. When the tragedy strikes, the story then shows how things can change within a split second and how life can suddenly take a very different path.
A large chunk of the book talks about the subject of mental health, specifically how it was back then. Whilst I knew it would be the case from other books I’d read, I was still shocked to read a lot of the villagers shunning the family because of this, with some of the villagers thinking it was catchy. Mother’s Only Child explores the fact that there was no cure and no support for mental health of any kind back then, which really makes you think about all those people who have suffered over the years.
When Maria and Barney marry quickly, it straight away reminded me of the saying “Marry in haste, repent at leisure”. This is a theme that will play heavy throughout the rest of the story, although it is never mentioned. Tided into this is the Second World War that is raging in Europe and how a few dodgey dealings mean they have to flee to England. Life on the run is difficult, with no money, Maria shows just how strong she is and how much she is willing to sacrifice for her family.
Like I thought I would, I really enjoyed this book. What was quite unexpected was how many twists and turned were within the story. I thought I knew what the outline would be however I got it completely wrong and it left me wondering if Maria would ever be happy and safe. If you are looking for a fiction book to read that will make you want to carry on reading, Mother’s Only Child is the book for you.