When tragedy strikes and 6-year-old Ben witnesses a terrible crime, his life is changed forever.
Lucy is the doctor on call who first attends to Ben. Recently split from her partner, and dealing with long night shifts in an ever-hectic hospital, the last thing she needs is a small boy with memory loss to worry about. Yet Ben keeps playing on her mind. Why does he insist on calling himself Leo? And after all that he’s been through, does she really want him to remember?
Meanwhile, Clare is bound to a retirement home, watching people take up residence in the room next door only for them to leave weeks, months, or years later. At nearing 100-years-old she has seen many people come and go. Now she is stuck reminiscing on her past, and for the first time wondering what will happen to her story once she’s gone.
In a tale that spans the centuries, we find out how all these characters are connected, through the past and through the present.
I read this while touring France in a camper with my family, and it’s a testament to the superb writing in the book that I (a chronic sufferer of car sickness) spent hours reading this in the back seat while we traveled down.
From the very first page, I was gripped by the enchanting prose that Liese O’Halloran Schwarz has produced. Her language is beautiful. She communicates so much in such seemingly simple sentences. The book feels like an easy read, but underneath is a story that is worth telling, full of human problems and emotions.
Sometimes you can read a book that’s split across two time periods or perspectives and find yourself bored with one or the other; as if half of the book is a subplot that just distracts from the story your actually interested in.
The Possible World manages to avoid this problem with ease. Honestly, I can say that I never spent any of the book wishing for a perspective change. I found each character interesting and sympathetic, and although I did have my favourite (Clare, if your wondering. I adored her grit and defiant independence) I never felt cheated by the other characters taking up space in the story.
I felt deeply sad for Ben, I sympathized with Lucy, I genuinely wanted these characters to get a happy ending, which for me is a sign of good writing. All too often I find myself reading books where I’m indifferent towards the characters.
The Possible World makes you care.
And the ending seriously got me. There may have been tears.
All I can say is, if you’re looking for a book to read this summer then I would wholeheartedly recommend The Possible World. It is all the things a good book should be.
Thank you to Liese O’Hallowraw Schwarz and the publisher for providing me an advanced reader copy of this wonderful book.
US edition available now. UK edition published 12th of July 2018.