The Carer came to my attention in 2019; it created quite a buzz when it was published in hard back. Unfortunately I never got around to reading it, so I was delighted when Anne Cater invited me to be part of this #RandomThings blog tour to celebrate the launch of the paperback, and also to kick off the tour.
Publisher : Tinder Press
Paper back publication : 30th April 2020
So what’s it all about?
This novel is a funny and tender portrayal of a family who employ a carer for their widower father. It explores the dynamics of family relationships and tensions, and how they shift and alter with time.
Structurally, it is divided into three sections, with each chapter focusing on a different character from the family, allowing us access to the multiple perspectives. I really enjoyed the kaleidoscopic views of the story and loved the characters. They are all so flawed and human.
Part One focuses on the grown up children in the story: Phoebe and Robert.
Phoebe is in her sixties. Single, never married and trying to make her living as an artist living in rural Wales. She is lonely, and has a loose relationship with an ageing hippy who lives in a cabin in the nearby woods.
Robert is living in Wimbledon. He was a city banker, but is now trying to write a novel in his shed while his wife acts as the bread-winner. Their widower father, James, is a retired academic, and is becoming increasingly frail. Phoebe and Robert are busy with their respective lives, and in no position to care for their father. They have had two failed experiences with carers, and so they welcome Mandy with open arms; small, dumpy and nondescript.
They are thrilled to have her.
However, Mandy’s presence changes everything for Robert, Phoebe and James. The siblings become resentful and suspicious of the changes Mandy brings about as she takes their father out for ‘jaunts’ to donkey sanctuaries and tea rooms, introduces him to quiz shows like Pointless, reads him The Daily Mail – she even calls him ‘Pops’! While warm and caring towards James, Mandy begins to make barbed comments about Phoebe and Robert, which lead them to wonder, are her motives purely innocent?
In part two, the novel goes back in time, and focuses on James’ life when his children were young. As we are given more access to the characters’ back stories, we begin to understand why Phoebe and Robert have abandonment issues regarding their father.
The final section returns to the present and focuses back on Phoebe and James where we witness the huge changes Mandy’s presence triggers.
I really enjoyed this book and can see that it will appeal to a wide range of readers. From page one, I was drawn into the story and knew I would enjoy it. It’s pacy, tenderly written, and packed with humour and wonderful characters. I loved it.
Thanks again to Anne for my place on the tour. You can check out the thoughts on the other bloggers as the tour continues into May.
Thanks for reading,
Deborah Moggach OBE
Deborah is an English novelist and an award-winning screenwriter. She has written nineteen novels, including The Ex-Wives, Tulip Fever, These Foolish Thing, Heartbreak Hotel and Something to Hide. She lives in London.