The Lost and Found Life of Rosy Bennett by Jan Birley
Publisher: Acorn Independent Press
Publication Date: November 2015
Rosy loved her London life – her job in a designer shop, her gorgeous West London family house and of course her gorgeous family (although young sons are enough to test anyone at times). All that disappears when, one unremarkable morning, after one unremarkable school run, her husband collapses on a crowded tube carriage and dies.
As she struggles her way through the grief, she discovers her husband’s secret life: secrets accounts, secret deals that their solicitor knew nothing of, secret debts and what looks like a secret “very close friend” at least.
Totally unprepared and suddenly in debt, Rosy is forced to leave London to start a new life with her incredibly reluctant boys in the countryside. Can angsty urban teenagers cope with farm life, let alone enjoy it? More to the point, can their mother? It’s certainly not going to be easy but when you are at rock bottom the only way is up.
*I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
What starts out as a fairly normal day for Rosy Bennett turns into a really horrible one when her husband dies, leaving her and her sons deep in debt. They have to move down from London to an alpaca farm she suddenly inherits, and in the countryside, she comes to know another side of the man she was married to. She also has to deal with life the right way, while trying to get her sons to not completely hate her.
Rosy is a one of a kind character. She’s not always strong, but the fact that she eventually learns how to deal with the trials that seem to keep coming her way makes her a very admirable character. She’s real, imperfect, thoughtful, caring, and sometimes comes off as a little bit lost. After reading the first few chapters of the story, it became obvious to me that Rosy’s life would become one hell of a rollercoaster. Dealing with all the curveballs that seem to keep coming, only to be hit head on with more evidence of her dead husband’s selfishness certainly made Rosy very on her guard.
I like the fact that Rosy does not always have it together; in fact, she rarely ever does. But one thing she does have going for her is her love for her sons. She loves them so much that she would rather they blame her for their situation, rather than find out who is really to blame: their dead father. She doesn’t always make the right decision when it comes to her eleven year old son’s horrible attitude and her fourteen year old son’s premature feelings of responsibility, but she’s a great mother.
There is a healthy mix of characters in the story (from cranky adolescents to poke nosing villagers), and I think the village setting is portrayed quite well. I enjoyed the element of mystery, as there was a big “why” hanging over the fact that Rosy’s husband secretly purchased an alpaca farm in Dorset, when he was clearly a “townie”. I love the pacing of the story: the author managed to space events in a way that seemed likely, and evenly paced.
I also like the fact that Rosy’s story is not about her finding new love (although that does happen), it’s about her facing life’s challenges, picking herself back up, and coming out bruised but victorious. Mostly everything that takes place in the story is as realistic as possible, and I couldn’t find fault with the story itself.
Overall, The Lost and Found Life of Rosy Bennett is about how a truly lost Rosy finds herself even when the odds don’t seem to be in her favour. It’s surprisingly emotional, surprisingly real, and surprisingly lovely as far as stories go.
Guest review contributed by 1-800 Books. Janey provides book reviews, blog tours, cover reveals, and book blitzes.