After The Fall by Charity Norman starts as Martha watches helplessly as her five year old son Finn tumbles from the balcony of their family home in rural New Zealand. It’s a heart stopping moment as she tries to catch him but has to watch as he falls to the ground below. He is airlifted to hospital and doctors fight to save him. Finn is prone to sleepwalking so it surely is a terrible accident or does Martha know more about the accident than she is prepared to tell?
The story shifts back in time to the circumstances leading up to the fall. Martha has uprooted her family from England in an attempt to make a new start for them all. Her husband Kit had a successful business but it had recently failed, like so many these days. His attempts to find work were leading him into despair and down a path of self-destruction. Kit used to be an artist and Martha thinks that the lush New Zealand landscape will give him a chance to explore that side of him. As an occupational therapist Martha is able to find a job in New Zealand.
Martha and Kit’s twin sons see it as an adventure. They will miss their family especially their Grandfather but are looking forward to meeting new friends and learning new things. Martha’s sixteen year old daughter Sacha, from a previous relationship finds the move hard, being uprooted from her friends, school and her boyfriend at a crucial time in her education.
We follow the story of their move, finding an house in New Zealand and adapting to a life unlike anything they have known before. At first it seems like paradise but soon unexpected things start to happen.
The story is well written and absorbing, told from Martha’s perspective. You warm to her character as she tries to adapt to life in New Zealand, takes on a new job and learns that she has strength she never knew she had. The story explores family love and the different bonds between different members of the family in a realistic and uplifting way. The descriptions of New Zealand are compelling and the country and it’s people really come to life.
I loved this book and I was totally captivated by the story. The ending was unexpected and very moving, this is a book that is definitely worth picking up.