ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – The Day We Left by Caroline Bond
The Day We Left by Caroline Bond is published by Corvus and available now in paperback, eBook and audiobook. My thanks to Kirsty Doole for the proof copy.
Oli and Joe are identical twins. But they will never be the same.
Lizzie Truman gives birth to her sons at thirty-one weeks. From the start, the differences between the twins are clear. Oli is bigger, stronger, healthier. Joe is small and much less robust, his future inexorably altered by the trauma of his premature delivery.
As soon as the boys are well enough, Lizzie checks out of the maternity hospital and leaves her old life behind.
By the time Oli and Joe are grown, Beth has a new name, a thriving business, and she has successfully raised her sons alone.
But when the truth about their past emerges, the twins are forced to reassess everything they thought they knew about their mother, their upbringing and themselves.
The Day We Left begins with Lizzie, 31 weeks pregnant with twins, starting the day in a panic because she’s overlaid. Later on that day, she unexpectedly goes into early labour. The twins, Oli and Joe, are tiny and have to spend weeks in the hospital. Fast forward sixteen years and Lizzie is now Beth, living with Oli who has grown up strong, and Joe, always the weaker of the twins. We follow the boys through their twenties until they (and us) are confronted with the secrets of their past.
The story moves along nicely, aided by lovely short chapters, as each twin tries to find their own way in life. Whilst Joe seems to have the harder time of it, it was interesting to witness Oli’s side of things and how he often felt pushed aside. Caroline Bond always writes family dynamics really well and the relationship between the twins, and between them and their mother, were really intriguing.
There are some hefty issues in this story but it’s still a really light and easy read. There are no real surprises but this is more about family and how circumstances and decisions affect everyone involved, rather than twists and turns. This story felt true to life, with all the ups and downs that come with it. I enjoyed The Day We Left.
Caroline Bond was born in Scarborough and studied English Literature at Oxford University. She has worked as a cleaner, a receptionist, a kitchen designer, a market researcher, a company director and a victim support volunteer. She has an MA in Creative Writing. Caroline lives in Leeds with her husband and one of her three children… the other two having grown up and escaped.