Firstly, I would like to kick start this by saying a huge thank you to the team over at Harper Collins for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book. As a dedicated Cathy Glass fan and an avid reader, this gives me the opportunity to enjoy two of my favourite hobbies of reading and then being chatty about what I have just read.
Cathy Glass’s latest instalment stayed true to form in that it was a gripping page turner from start to finish, which, in my language, means I devoured this in a matter of hours one rainy Sunday afternoon. All of Cathy’s book are of course emotive and heart-wrenching, but this one had me with tears down my face on the very first page, and it was with tears in my eyes that I read the final sentence.
“Some children were obviously disabled, others not, but all were badly undernourished and clearly developmentally delayed…”
A Long Way From Home is the heartbreaking true story of little Anna, a two year old girl, raised in abhorrent conditions at a neglected orphanage who is adopted by British adopters Elaine and Ian.
…”Dressed only in nappies and ragged T-shirts the children were incarcerated in their cots. …”
This is a little different to Glass’s usual books, and told more in the style of Will You Love Me in that the first part of the story is the adoption process from Elaine and Ian’s perspective, and the latter part is from Cathy’s point of view and details her involvement with Anna and the family.
Usually Cathy’s books start with her receiving a call from her support worker who might give Cathy some insight into the child that is coming to her, but by starting with the parents’ perspective means you’re going in blind, so every piece of information is wholly unexpected. But I loved reading this from the duo perspective as it gives such an insight into the situation and it really draws you in and makes you feel more engaged with the characters. Elaine and Ian are unable to have children of their own and are so enthusiastic to welcome a child into their family and obviously have so much love to share, that for the majority of the book, I wondered how Cathy ever came to be involved. This became another element that I enjoyed – for me personally, it was completely unpredictable from the beginning, to the middle, to the end and then the very end completely threw me as well which would explain why I was physically unable to put this down.
As I have mentioned in other of my Cathy Glass book reviews – each book tends to accommodate a different topic each time, i.e. teenage pregnancy, a sexually abused infant, a child with learning difficulties etc so it was eye-opening to read more about the process of international adoption in this book and of the horrors surrounding foreign orphanages and the lasting damaging effects early childhood neglect/abuse can have. The subject matter is appalling, but Cathy’s writing style is light and airy making the contrast between the two particularly shocking – conveying a very serious message but in an easily readable way.
“He was very disabled and lay motionless on his back, staring up at the ceiling, his misshapen limbs jutting out at odd angles…
‘He’s blind and deaf’ Dr Ciobanu said… “
We never find out where Anna is adopted from but the key element is Anna’s relationship with her parents and the world around her. In some chapters it sent chills down my spine, yet in others had me tearfully smiling from ear to ear. Another key point I took from this is that in life, you can do all the right things and tick all the right boxes, but life will still challenge you in ways you don’t expect; my heart really went out to Elaine and Ian.
A Long Way From Home is an incredible story of love, patience, understanding and heartbreak, and the will of two loving parents who just want to complete their family. I congratulate Cathy on another emotive and evoking read, and as usual it leaves me wanting to read more.
For more information on Cathy Glass books – head on over to http://cathyglass.co.uk/