Title: Saving You
Author: Charlotte Nash
Published: January 29th 2018
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary
Rating: 5 stars
Three escaped pensioners. One single mother. A road trip to rescue her son. The new emotionally compelling page-turner by Australia’s Charlotte Nash
In their tiny pale green cottage under the trees, Mallory Cook and her five-year-old son, Harry, are a little family unit who weather the storms of life together. Money is tight after Harry’s father, Duncan, abandoned them to expand his business in New York. So when Duncan fails to return Harry after a visit, Mallory boards a plane to bring her son home any way she can.
During the journey, a chance encounter with three retirees on the run from their care home leads Mallory on an unlikely group road trip across the United States. Zadie, Ernie and Jock each have their own reasons for making the journey and along the way the four of them will learn the lengths they will travel to save each other – and themselves.
Saving You is the beautiful, emotionally compelling page-turner by Charlotte Nash, bestselling Australian author of The Horseman and The Paris Wedding. If you love the stories of Jojo Moyes and Fiona McCallum you will devour this book.
Touching, this is the perfect single word descriptor that I am able to attach to Saving You, the latest book from Charlotte Nash.
Saving You is a book with a strong beating heart. This meaningful motif adorns the front cover and it is an excellent representation of the story within the pages of this poignant piece of life lit.
With three pensioners on the run, an unforgettable road trip across the US, one woman’s determined quest to recover her son, Saving You is a book that will have you experiencing many emotions. Readers will be sure to laugh, reach for the tissue box, grit their teeth in anger and fall love with the embracing character set of this unforgettable novel. Saving You begins and ends with Mallory Cook, a young Australian woman who is faced with the impossible when her son’s trip to see his father in New York ends up turning into a recovery mission. Mallory will go to the ends of the earth for her son Harry, she is utterly devastated and dumbfounded when Harry’s father fails to send Harry back home after his holiday in the US. Mallory boards the next plane to America, but mother nature strikes and it leaves Mallory stranded in a state far away from New York. This is a major hiccup, but in a strange twist of coincidences, Mallory falls into the path of a trio of retirees, known to her from the care home where she works back in Australia. Mallory takes up their offer of a ride to her destination, but there are obligations she must fulfil. Together, negotiating the roads and highways of the US, this group learns much about themselves during this soul searching trip to reunite a boy with his mother.
I am a loyal fan of Charlotte Nash’s rural medical based novels. I also absolutely adored her touching rural crossed with Paris foray, The Paris Wedding. I think Nash has a true gift for creating stories that combine emotional dramas and compelling issue based storylines, all within an authentic rural based setting. I was incredibly excited by the prospect of a new direction novel writing wise for Charlotte Nash. Saving You heralds Charlotte Nash’s first venture into the world of contemporary women’s life lit and she does it with finesse.
Mallory, the lead character of Saving You, is an old soul, in a young woman’s body. I soon developed a sense of infinity with Mallory. I loved her outlook. Her devotion to her son, her hardworking nature and her work as a carer in the Silky Oaks home she works was admirable. Mallory is also an enterprising young woman, with great ideas for improving the quality of life for those she works with. She treats the elderly with the respect and care they deserve. In her author’s notes, Charlotte Nash explains how Mallory’s ideas for elder care are based on the work of a Dr Bill Thomas and the Eden Care Alternative. Some of the ideas in this program type involve kindergarten visits to age care facilities. With an ageing population and a critical eye cast on our age care industry, it was great to see Nash address these issues in her latest novel.
‘I had plans to try and have animals – pets for everyone who wanted one. And gardening, maybe green power programs, an artist in residence, things like that. But I doubt it will happen now. Mrs Crawley wasn’t impressed.’
The elderly play a big part in this novel, when Mallory makes her mad dash to the US to recover her son, she must rely on the help of a trio of retirees to help guide her to her son. This motley crew are so vibrant, each has their own distinct personality and the way they were represented on the pages of this book was authentic, colourful and respectful. Nash ensures each character, including Mallory, is not perfect. They are each harbouring their own problems, setbacks and regrets. This makes each character all the more real, and the reader feels completely invested in their cause.
I really loved the road trip aspect of Saving You. It has great meaning and it is significant to the whole journey this book takes. I would love to embark on a road trip like Mallory, Jock, Zadie and Ernie. It is the stuff memories are made out of. With plenty of setbacks and mishaps along the way, including right handed driving to negotiate, and the wrath of mother nature to endure. There is a resounding visual quality to Nash’s writing that I came to love very much.
‘The landscape gradually greened. Fields appeared beside the road with orderly, tractored rows and trees. Low Hills replaced the endless plains, and the highway passed through cuttings of dark fractured rock. They flew through the rising canyon tops of Albuquerque.’
The well timed appearances of intriguing biker AJ, who became a sort of protector for Mallory and her company, was a fantastic angle. I enjoyed the mystery surrounding AJ. I also appreciated the accompanying touch of romance this protagonist added to the soulful narrative. It reminds us that those who are deserving of true love like Mallory, should be cherished and nurtured. This was a sensational self discovery love story and the hero status AJ exudes made him a character you long to see re-enter the pages of this absorbing story.
Mallory’s experience with her husband and Harry’s father Dominic reminds the reader that everything can be taken away from you in an instant, just through the act of a person changing the way they feel. Dominic was truly cruel and selfish, I despised his behaviour. I found myself speculating just how far he could possibly go to ruin Mallory’s life further. Mallory is tested to her very core over and over again. However, somehow, she manages to pick herself right up again and try even harder in her quest to gain Harry back. Mallory’s strength of character and her inability to give up, or give in, had me simply amazed.
An author always takes a risk when they reach for the stars and try a new style of writing. I do not think Charlotte Nash needs to be concerned in any shape or form, she will have both established fans and newcomers to her writing beguiled by her latest novel, Saving You. I look forward to future contributions to the Australian women’s life lit genre from the extremely talented Charlotte Nash.
Saving You by Charlotte Nash is published by Hachette Australia. Out now. $29.99
To learn more about the author of Saving You, Charlotte Nash, visit here.
*Thanks is extended to Hachette Australia for providing a free copy of this book for review purposes.
Saving You is book #13 of the 2019 Australian Women Writers Challenge