This bestselling bittersweet story of love and second chances takes place over the course of a single summer day . . . or does it?
The only child of eccentric academics who never married, Laura Lewis was an undergrad at Oxford when she met Ben Patterson. They shared an idyllic few months of passion, only to go their separate ways when Ben ended their relationship.
Two decades later, Laura is a self-employed accountant with a history of unfulfilling liaisons with married men, her adult life “mapped out in relationships not achievements.” She leaves Paris to return to England, determined to keep her osteoporosis-stricken mother from the indignities of an institution by caring for her at home. At a hospital in historic Winchester, Laura runs into her former love. A onetime HIV consultant, Ben has also come home to be a caregiver to his gay younger brother with mosaic Down syndrome. Ben is now married to Chloe, a former model he doesn’t love. In spite of the obstacles against them, Laura and Ben rekindle their affair.
The Whole Day Through takes place over twenty-four hours, while simultaneously spanning decades to tell Laura and Ben’s story. As the narrative threads move inexorably toward each other, past and present merge in a haunting collage of memory, mortality, missed chances, and the obligations and regrets of love. This novel from the bestselling British author of Notes from an Exhibition was a Sainsbury’s Book Club pick in the UK.
Plum-crazy on Goodreads wrote:
This is the first book I've read by Patrick Gale. His books are well known in the UK and several have been Richard and Judy Book Club selections, but I don't see them very often here in Canada. My library had this book and I jumped at the chance to read it. I found the book quite enjoyable for the most part...a sweet love story between two people who were serious in Uni and then suddenly went in different directions in life. Laura, who has been working and living in Paris, comes home to help look after her Mum, a brilliant retired professor with osteoporosis. She accidently bumps into Ben, her former beau, who is now a Dr. in the local HIV/AIDS clinic, who has temporarily walked away from his wife, who he has realized he doesn't love, to come home to look after his brother Bobby, a man with Down's Syndrome. Laura and Ben meet and rekindle the passion and romance of their Uni days. I found the ending of the book to be disappointing, but other than that, I'd like to read another of Gale's books.
I loved this story although I do have two (slight!) criticisms:
....one: I didn't like the way Laura's mother was always referred to as "mummy" - eeugh, makes me cringe!
....two: the ending caught me by surprise! I thought I'd a good few pages to go but there's an "Ideas, Interviews & Features" section at the end which is 20+ pages long.
Two very minor gripes there which in no way spoiled my enjoyment of the book.