The three Cadogan children, Jessica, Kirsty and Patrick, haven’t spoken to each other for three years. An argument after their mother’s death was the latest excuse to blame one another for their family’s troubles in a long, unhappy series that’s lasted almost a decade.
When their father, Gerry, dies they are given instructions as to where he wants his ashes to be scattered. But first they must together drive his old camper van up the country to the Scottish Isle of Islay. For the journey, he’s given them his old fishing tackle box containing three photo albums through which they can explore their past, and a bottle of single malt whisky he had been saving for the 70th birthday he never reached.
Along the way, they’ll be forced to confront the most painful moments in their shared history, lay to rest a ghost who’s haunted them for years – and maybe even become a family again
Published April 2020 by Orion Books
Despite the (frankly gorgeous) cover, The Way Back is a darker book than I initially imagined. It begins with Gerry writing his last request to his children, and then alternates between each of them as they set off reluctantly to fulfill his wish
And boy, does this family have problems. Simmering problems that have festered over the years. Jamie Fewery really does capture the resentment eating this family up perfectly. Jessica in particular stands out and in the company of her siblings the front she puts on in her ‘perfect’ life slips revealing bitterness that is ugly but incredibly authentic
As the family set off on their journey, we’re given flashbacks to the past. I ended up feeling really sorry for Gerry, he seemed a lovely and decent man while his children behaved atrociously. Of course, throwing the three bickering siblings together in a camper van provided plenty of humour and emotion – this book made me laugh a few times, but also brought a tear to my eye on a couple of occasions!
I really enjoyed this book, reading it in a couple of sessions while enjoying the sun in the garden. Tackling subjects of sibling rivalry, PTSD, homelessness, and bereavement in an honest and touching way, yet littered with humour and hope. Well worth a read!
Thank you to the publisher for sending me a gifted copy