Shelter Us by Laura Nicole Diamond
Published in 2015 by She Write Press
My copy: Kindle
Lawyer-turned-stay-at-home mom Sarah Shaw is struggling to keep it together for her two young sons and law professor husband. Since the death of their infant daughter, her husband has been buried in his career, her friendships have withered, and Sarah remains lost in a private world of grief. Then one day walking in L.A., Sarah’s heart catches at the sight of a young homeless woman pushing a baby in a stroller—and saving them becomes her obsessive mission. An unlikely bond grows between Sarah and the young mother, Josie. When tragedy threatens Josie, Sarah discovers that she is capable of deceptions and transgressions she never imagined. Her lies unleash a downward spiral that will threaten her marriage, family and her sanity.
I recently stumbled across this novel on my Kindle – I have no memory of downloading it and didn’t know what it was about, but decided to give it a go – although I wasn’t holding out much hope as usually the books I randomly discover on my Kindle are pretty bad!
I’m glad to say this book bucked the trend and I really enjoyed it. This is an incredibly sad novel, yet it somehow manages to be easy to read and quite gripping. From the very start, I felt for poor Sarah and her dreadful situation. A full-time stay-at-home mum following the cot death of her daughter, you can see the cracks that are so apparent in her life.
The style of writing is very spare and you sometimes have to read between the lines, but this worked really well and you can really sense Sarah’s grief through her actions and behaviours. I loved the Californian setting too, and it made it even more tragic that Sarah couldn’t even enjoy a day on the beautiful Santa Monica beach with her children, as she was always desperate to be at home where she felt safer, and counted the minutes until her husband returned from work.
I liked the relationship between Sarah’s two sons and I loved the way they are the best of friends one minute and sworn enemies the next (I can relate to this with my two children!). They also say such poignant things at times, which again rings true of children of this age.
Sarah’s obsession with homeless mother Josie was also very well handled and it felt believable to me, and this kept the story moving along as you really wanted to know what would happen. And although this storyline did not go as I expected at all, the events that did occur were again realistic and, at times, incredibly heart-wrenching.
This book should have been hard to read, but somehow the author has made the serious subject matter palatable, with a very believable heroine who I found myself sympathising with. I would definitely read more from this author.