Book Review – Because Of You by Dawn French

First published, 2020

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

On the night the new millennium begins, two women enter a maternity unit in the throes of labour. But only one of the women will go home with a longed-for baby, while both will face devastation and heartbreak that can barely be described.

In response to the question of whether it’s nature or nurture that goes to form the people we become, this story had me in tears before the end of the first chapter. Actual tears. That doesn’t happen very often. I’ve had to set a book aside and just stare at a plain wall for a bit many a time. I’ve welled up and had to have a bit of a word with myself about the word ‘fiction’ more times than I can count. But actual blubbering tears is a rarity and this book got me more than once.

I’ve loved Dawn French for as long as I can remember, although this is the first of her books that I’ve read; a fact that I am soon to remedy. There were a few moments of comedy in the narrative, mostly in the form of insults to the madly-preening, mostly oblivious husband/philanderer, Julius, and it’s always nice to read a bit of Cornish propaganda about the appropriate order of jam and cream on a scone:

“… ‘I’m a loyal man…’
“‘Yes, Isaac, you are, and that’s why I love you.’ Hope affirmed it. She spoke the truth. And there’s nothing like a truth, even a half-truth, to underpin a whole lie, however big. Somehow a lie settles better on a righteous foundation. It’s like the clotted cream on top of the jam on the top of the scone.
“It sits well.
“It’s easier to eat.”
p 142, Isaac’s Second Decision, Because Of You by Dawn French

For the most part, this was a deeply emotional, respectfully-written tale of loss and redemption. And now I’m off in search of the rest of Dawn French’s books. Thankfully, Christmas is coming (hint, hint).