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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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3.8 out of 5
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  • Outstanding!

    I have long been a fan of Deborah Moggach and I grabbed the chance to read her latest novel with great enthusiasm and eagerness. I hungrily devoured all that she wrote except, for some weird reason, her mega best-seller ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’, although I have read 'Tulip Fever'. Even though The Carer contained very familiar tropes - family, marriage, relationships, old-age, care, sibling rivalry, loss, memory loss, harboured secrets, betrayal, infidelity, jealousy, drama, life, childlessness - to mention some of them, I just knew I would treasure this marvellous tale. The story is told in three parts, the narrative interestingly structured, but at its hub are two waspish siblings, Robert and Phoebe. They’re both quinquagenarians living somewhat discontented lives. Their widowed father, James, is now demanding more of their attention and at eighty-five, Dad’s starting to find looking after himself too difficult, so they employ a live-in carer, Mandy. She quickly makes herself indispensable, becoming his companion and giving him a soupçon of happiness. Initially, brother and sister are gratified; it eases their loads. But when they discover that James has revisited his will, they start to become suspicious - and so did I. Part 1 of the novel is set in the present and is told in alternating chapters by Phoebe and Robert. The reader is gradually introduced to most of the other characters and this is where Deborah Moggach really comes into her own and sparkles! We get to meet Robert's wife, Louboutin-wearing, passive aggressive Farida, a breakfast news presenter, and their two children, Jack and Alice. Robert is plagued with anxiety, angst and a never-ending sense of doom. He worked in the city but is now an aspiring novelist. Flaky, flappable, but well-intentioned, Phoebe is an artist living in Knockton, a small town in Wales, and currently involved with Torren. Robert and Phoebe are heavily weighed down by childhood baggage stemming from their desperation to gain their father's attention, who spent much of his time away from home, when they were growing up. Then, of course, there's Mandy the carer with a heart of gold that she wears on her sleeve, direct, abrupt, capable, bossy, and chaotic. In part 2, the reader is taken back to 1963 and this part of the book is mostly narrated by James who was a particle physicist. There is a complete, though smooth change of focus as the story goes back to view Robert and Phoebe's childhood and their parents lives, showcasing James's earlier life, in particular. Returning to the here and now in the 3rd part, the reader is back in the hands of Phoebe and Richard, making sense of their discoveries about their father and tying up a shed-load of loose ends. Deborah Moggach's writing style is second to none and flowed beautifully. The switching of perspectives via alternating chapters really aided the flow of the story and kept me invested, although I needed no help. With no disappointments, The Carer was a very lovely read as the author unassumingly highlighted problems associated with ageing sons and daughters coping with parents living in taxing circumstances. The author didn’t hold back from the nuts and bolts of this, but delivered the whole package with fervour, warmth and humour. This would make a fantastic book club read, given its multiple layers and its wealth of juicy themes and I will certainly be looking out for more of Deborah Moggach's work in the future. I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my request, from Headline via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.

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  • The Carer

    Entertaining in places and credible because very familiar. But the sixty-plus Phoebe and Robert were predictable as they find a carer for their fragile father, James. The menage a trois which develops between Robert and the carer, Mandy, was also a bit too predictable but at least Moggach is good on detail when it's needed.

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    1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Excellent and entertaining

    Enjoyable in every way. Observations of life and relationships so accurate. Highly recommended.

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