It is summer on Magnolia Road when Juliet moves into her late mother’s house with her husband Liam and their young son, Charlie. Preoccupied by guilt, grief and the juggle of working motherhood, she can’t imagine finding time to get to know the neighbouring families, let alone fitting in with them. But for Liam, a writer, the morning coffees and after-school gatherings soon reveal the secret struggles, fears and rivalries playing out behind closed doors – all of which are going straight into his new novel . . .
Juliet tries to bury her unease and leave Liam to forge these new friendships. But when the rupture of a marriage sends ripples through the group, painful home truths are brought to light. And then, one sun-drenched afternoon at a party, a single moment changes everything.
The fiction debut from Sunday Times bestselling author Cathy Rentzenbrink, Everyone Is Still Alive is funny and moving, intimate and wise; a novel that explores the deeper realities of marriage and parenthood and the way life thwarts our expectations at every turn.
When Juliet and her Husband Liam, along with their son Charlie move to Magnolia Road, the last thing she is expecting is to become immersed within the community as she already feels thinly spread between her job and being a mother, so she can’t begin to imagine having enough time to make friends.
But Liam is more than happy to learn more about his new neighbours as he takes on the school run whilst writing his book as this will provide him with some much needed content for his current project. It is whilst Liam is taking part in the various coffee mornings and school pick ups that he learns there is far more going on behind closed doors than the residents would like others to believe.
The more Juliet struggles with her work-life balance, the more little things in her life begin to irritate her as she listens to Liam’s enthusiasm about his day, and this is what causes the first fractures to appear in what seemed to be a solid partnership. As they are drawn more in to community, Juliet’s uncertainty about some of the residents comes bubbling to the surface, and when they find themselves at a party alongside their neighbours, their lives all take a rather unexpected turn.
As soon as I read the first page of this book I knew it would be a story that captivated me to the very end. Magnolia Road introduces us to a fascinating cast of characters, all of whom keep you second guessing their motives throughout, and as the story progresses and more secrets begin to materialise you are left perched on the edge of your seat desperate to know what happens next.
I am sure many people, both mothers and fathers, will be able to relate to the struggles of being a working parent and the overwhelming sense of guilt that can come hand in hand with that decision. The story was wonderfully written and full to the brim of drama that kept me fully invested in the characters lives and all that took place on Mongolia Road.
About the Author
Cathy Rentzenbrink grew up in Yorkshire,
spent many years in London, and now lives
in Cornwall. She is the SUNDAY TIMES
bestselling author of THE LAST ACT OF LOVE,
which was shortlisted for the Wellcome Prize,
and the acclaimed memoirs A MANUAL FOR
HEARTACHE and DEAR READER. EVERYONE
IS STILL ALIVE is her first novel.
*Thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours, Orion Books and Cathy Rentzenbrink for providing me with a gifted copy of this book in return for my honest review. All thoughts are entirely my own and not influenced in any way.*