Author: Sara Gethin
Release Date: 15th June 2017
Publisher: Honno Press
I am so excited to be sharing a book that is right up my alley! If you love Cathy Glass and Casey Watson, like I do, you will love this book! Make sure to scroll down all the way to the bottom for the giveaway!
Tomos lives with his mother. He longs to return to another place, the place he thinks of as home, and the people who lived there, but he’s not allowed to see them again. He is five years old and at school, which he loves. Miss teaches him about all sorts of things, and she listens to him. Sometimes he’s hungry and Miss gives him her extra sandwiches. She gives him a warm coat from Lost Property, too. There are things Tomos cannot talk about – except to Cwtchy – and then, just before Easter, the things come to a head. There are bad men outside who want to come in, and Mammy has said not to answer the door. From behind the big chair, Tomos waits, trying to make himself small and quiet. He doesn’t think it’s Santa Claus this time.
When the men break in, Tomos’s world is turned on its head and nothing will be the same again.
This book was written from Tomos’s position, in a very similar style to the book Room, which I also loved. Gethin uses this style to slowly reveal more and more details about Tomos’s situation. Although this book is not a thriller, it keeps you on the edge of your seat. Although it’s not a mystery, it keeps you guessing. Although it’s fiction, it depicts a situation which could very well be true.
This story will certainly break your heart at times. In the middle, I kept wondering, “When will he be saved? When will his life get better?” Tomos does have a number of redeeming characters in his life, but none can shield him from the realities of home. As you watch the characters try to help Tomos, it sometimes results in more harm and brings up a big question of the right thing to do in this situation. Tomos’s mother could certainly be seen as a villain in this story, but it is written in such a way that the reader has compassion for her and can empathize with her, despite her behavior. This was a very well-written and engaging story that I would recommend to fans of Room, Cathy Glass, and Casey Watson.
The lady’s here. The lady with the big bag. She’s knocking on the front door. She’s knocking and knocking. And knocking and knocking. I’m not opening the door. I’m not letting her in. I’m behind the black chair. I’m very quiet. I’m very very quiet. I’m waiting for her to go away.
I’ve been waiting a long time.
‘Thomas, Thomas.’ She’s saying it through the letter box.
I’m not listening to her. I’m not listening at all. She’s been knocking on the door for a long long time. I’m peeping round the black chair. I’m peeping with one of my eyes. She’s
not by the front door now. She’s by the long window. I can see her shoes. They’re very dirty. If Dat saw those shoes he’d say, ‘There’s a job for my polishing brush’.
She’s stopped knocking. She’s stopped saying ‘Thomas’. She’s very quiet. The lady can’t see me. I’m behind the big black chair. And I’ve pulled my feet in tight.
‘Thomas?’ she says. ‘Thomas?’ I’m not answering. ‘I know you’re in there. Just come to the window, sweetheart. So I can see you properly.’
I’m staying still. I’m not going to the window. I’m waiting for her to go back to her car. It’s a green car. With a big dent in it. If I hide for a long time she’ll go. She’ll get back in her car and drive away. She’s knocking. And knocking again.
She’s saying ‘Thomas.’ And knocking and knocking again.
That is not my name.
Sara Gethin is the pen name of Wendy White. She grew up in Llanelli and studied theology and philosophy at Lampeter, the most bijoux of universities. Her working life has revolved around children – she’s been a childminder, an assistant in a children’s library and a primary school teacher. She also writes children’s books as Wendy White, and her first, ‘Welsh Cakes and Custard’, won the Tir nan-Og Award in 2014. Her own children are grown up now, and while home is still west Wales, she and her husband spend much of their free time across the water in Ireland. ‘Not Thomas’ is her first novel for adults.
*Content and images provided to me as part of the book tour. I was given a copy of this book and am voluntarily reviewing it.*