Review of To Have and To Hold by Helen Chandler

Friday, 27 June 2014

To Have and To Hold
By Helen Chandler
Publication Date: 20th June 2014, Hodder & Stoughton, 352 pages

Amazon UK / Amazon US / Barnes & Noble

From the outside, Ella has the happy marriage, the cute kids and the comfortable home - inside, she craves something more. But giving in to temptation will stir up a whole heap of trouble . . .

Imogen's relationship with Pete was once fun and carefree but since they've become parents, everything is different. Then an accident provides the catalyst for a life-changing decision.

Fifteen-year-old Phoebe is miserable at home and at school. And now her dad, who was always her ally, seems completely distracted by something - or someone. Maybe it's time Phoebe took a stand, and took control of her own life.

As Ella, Imogen and Phoebe contemplate taking the biggest risk of their lives, marriages, families and friendships hang in the balance. Should they take the leap, or will they risk losing everything?

To Have and To Hold shows the different relationships that we have over the course of our life. Phoebe is fifteen and has all the problems that teenagers have, though she has the added problem that is her mother. Her mother is on her back about her weight, problems she has with people in school who pick on her and no matter how right Phoebe is, her mother doesn't believe her or completely blames her for problems she encounters.
Ella has always done everything that she thought she was right but she has come to a point in her life she wants to escape and try something different, something that isn't her. Ella's best friend, Imogen has always been by her side since they met when Imogen was pregnant with her little boy and Ella was pregnant with her oldest child. 
Ella has fallen into a life that she no longer feels happy with, her husband Greg, doesn't appreciate her as well as he should but that all changes when she meets Callum again, he makes her feel young and happy again, and when she is with him, she forgets about her life, about her husband and then she makes the biggest mistake of her life that could ruin everything she has ever known in a second.
Callum is Phoebe's father, his marriage hasn't been great for a while but when he meets Ella again, it seems like the last push he needs to leave his wife for good but Phoebe wants to leave with him but she needs to stay with her mother. Phoebe just wants out of her house, she wants to leave with her dad, he seems to understand her and not nag her like her mother. 
And then there is Imogen, she has had enough of her lousy boyfriend/father of her child and his behaviour when it comes to their child. So, when he finally leaves Imogen can't help but feel happy and relived, it doesn't take long before she meets Alex, who is completely different from Pete and he is exactly what she wants in a boyfriend.
To Have and To Hold channels the struggles we face in life, whether we are a teenager or married with children, the problems are still there just in different forms. It shows that no matter our age, everyone has problems and we each have a different way of dealing with them.
I thought that To Have and To Hold was a great book that drew attention to the realistic problems that we have throughout our lives. My favourite character would have to be Phoebe, with her sweet nature all she wants is to fit in and has many challenges along the way to finally feel comfortable with herself and be happy with her life.
If I had to sum up this book in three words, they would be Realistic, Wonderful and Interesting.

   Another day, another book,
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