Friday, 1 May 2015

Book Review: MISSING YOU by Kylie Kaden

Missing You

Missing You
Author: Kylie Kaden
Publisher: Random House Australia
Read: April 2015

Synopsis (Goodreads):

Missing You is a tantalising love story and a seductive suspense novel: ‘Our lives were built around the strength of a kiss between strangers. Yet seven years on, look where it led us . . .'

When Aisha met Ryan she fell hard for his good looks and easy charm. Why worry that he didn't want children or a 9 to 5 job? Nothing and no one would come between them.

But with the birth of their high-needs son, Eli, their extraordinary love is shackled into an ordinary life, their passion blunted by responsibility.

Until Ryan can't take it anymore.

Then, following a mysterious phone call late one night, Aisha leaves four-year-old Eli in the care of her elderly father Patrick - and doesn't come back.

As Patrick struggles with the grandson he barely knows or understands, his frustration with his missing daughter and absent son-in-law quickly turns to fear.

Particularly when blood is found in Aisha's abandoned car . . .

My thoughts:

When Aisha meets Ryan at university, the attraction is instant. Despite their unbridled passion for each other, their differences become obvious early in their relationship – Ryan is much older than Aisha, values his freedom and does not want to become trapped by children, mortgages and a nine-to-five job. Whereas Aisha, whose mother left when she was a child, yearns for babies, a stable family life and a home to call her own. Young and in love they are willing to compromise, and soon they are married, have bought their own home and are expecting their first child. But with the unrelenting demands of parenting an autistic son the cracks are soon starting to show. Aisha is always tired, whilst Ryan starts to resent his surburban life which holds little joy for him. They argue, Ryan leaves, and Aisha seeks the comfort of her family. A day later, after receiving a mysterious phone call, Aisha leaves Eli in the care of her father Patrick and disappears without a trace.

Missing You is told in the voices of Patrick, Aisha and Ryan and slowly unravels their story, spanning the five-year period between Aisha and Ryan’s first meeting to the time Aisha goes missing. Whilst I enjoyed reading about Aisha and Ryan’s romance, the slow spiralling out of control of their marriage and the mystery behind Aisha’s disappearance, my favourite by far was Patrick’s voice as he is trying to connect with his autistic grandson. “Seventy years I’ve made it, and never seen a boy like him. The kid is trouble”, are his first observations about young Eli. After bringing up his own daughters on his own, he is baffled by the strange little boy who does not respond as other children do. I loved the way Patrick slowly bonds with the boy – from his initial thought that he needs a good spanking to the realisation that Eli’s mind works differently to other children. The grandfather-grandson relationship evolving is touching and though provoking, and was the part of the story I enjoyed most of all. Whilst all characters’ voices are authentic and believable, Patrick’s grumpy-old-man character captured the essence of the story for me and kept me wanting to read more.

For me, Missing You was more a story about people and relationships than a mystery, and I found elements of the final unravelling of the story behind Aisha’s disappearance a bit disappointing and anti-climatic, but will not give any spoilers here. All in all, Missing You is an absorbing read giving an insight into the effects of raising a special-needs child on a marriage as well as the long-term effects of childhood trauma and loss reaching far into adulthood. This is my first novel by Kaden and I am interested to read more from this author.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a free electronic copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

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