FitzGerald, Helen - 'The Cry'
Joanna and Alistair are on their way to Australia from Scotland to introduce baby Noah to his grandmother, and to fight for custody of Alistair's daughter by his previous marriage. Alistair's wife had found Joanna and Alistair in her bed and had fled back to Australia with their daughter, Chloe, four years previously.
Joanna struggles to cope on the flight. She is taking antibiotics to fight an ear infection and feeling tired and irritable with baby Noah who is fractious on the flight, crying incessantly to the annoyance of both cabin staff and passengers. Only Alistair seems to be able to sleep through the noise. Eventually, Alistair wakes to take his turn with Noah, to the admiration and delight of the occupants of the plane. Joanna wakes as the plane lands and is relieved to find Noah peaceful, Alistair encouraging her not to disturb him.
They start the journey to the house they have hired for their stay, but finding forest fires raging, they stop to phone Alistair's mother, and checking on baby Noah, Joanna finds that the worse that a mother can experience is happening to her. Baby Noah is no longer sleeping peacefully. Their life will never be the same again.
The story is one of guilt and how different people deal with, accept and manage it; Joanna falls apart, Alistair uses the situation to make sure that he doesn't lose Chloe as well, Chloe frantically seeks the baby brother she has never met, and Alexander, Chloe's mother, struggles to pretend that her life is not falling apart.
The story, concerning a young baby, is a very difficult, but compelling, read. Joanna is a young mother, with a weak-willed and selfish partner who has no empathy for anybody. She struggles to cope with the loss of her baby and the guilt that that brings. Helen FitzGerald deals with a hard subject very sympathetically and I shall look out for more by this author.
Susan White, England