30 Apr The Ends of The Earth by Abbie Greaves
A gentle, compelling romance with a strong underlying theme
From the minute we meet Mary O’Connor on her vigil at Ealing Station, where she stands every evening holding a home-made sign that pleads COME HOME, JIM, we’re drawn to the intrigue and heartbreak that lies behind her simple plea.
Who is Jim and where has he gone? What makes Mary wait so patiently?
Also intrigued is Alice Keating, junior reporter at the Ealing Bugle, who sees Mary at the station and senses a story. She determines to find out why Jim – who promised he’d be there for Mary till the ends of the earth – disappeared from her life seven years ago.
Meanwhile, a clip of Mary at the station, posted on Twitter, has gone viral. Will it spark memories for people who might know where Jim has gone?
In a dual narrative, Mary and Jim’s story slowly unfolds, from their first meeting at a hotel in Belfast to their setting up home together in London, where Mary pursues her artistic talents while Jim works as an eye surgeon. With a home, jobs they love and security, they are for the most part blissfully happy, but Jim’s drinking and dark moods can sometimes make life difficult.
Meanwhile, in the present Alice enlists the help of young banker, Kit , a friend of Mary’s at the Nightline Crisis call centre where they both volunteer, and, using Twitter and chatrooms to provide clues, they set out to track down Jim.
Is a happy reunion on the cards? Maybe, maybe not, but Alice hopes finally discovering the truth about what happened to the love of her life will set Mary free from her heartbreak.
A character-driven story, the main players on To The Ends of the Earth are all hugely interesting, empathetic people. Mary is gentle and kind, patient and stubborn, always ready to forgive and forget. Jim is a fascinating man, so loving and passionate – what can have made him do what he did?
Alice is a complex character – she too has isues of abandonment, and the reader has to wonder if her quest to find Jim is for Mary or herself.
Kit is delightfully straightforward and brings humour to the story, but he’s not without his own issues, too, as is Ted, the kindly founder of Nightline Crisis.
Together, their stories crystallise the themes of love, betrayal and forgiveness that run through the book, along with the very important question of why more is not done to address the stigma surrounding male mental health in this country.
Beautifully paced and beautifully written, Mary and Jim’s story will touch definitely touch your hearts.
To The Ends of the Earth by Abbie Greaves is published by Century in hardback, RRP £14.99
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