A woman novelist accepting responsibility for a strange child on a train journey and then keeping her when a return to her rightful parents comes totally apart at the seams would probably be a disaster in the hands of a lesser writer. Joan Lingard keeps the plot suspenseful and very readable, even introducing an entirely credible imaginary friend, who just happens to be the main character in the novelist’s successful series of novels.
Holly’s young, single mum is just about ahead of social services and just about running her chaotic life, which includes working until the early hours in a Glasgow nightclub. The father works on oil rigs and only has his daughter in the holidays. Their failure to communicate leaves Holly stranded with strangers, the Nightingales and their resentful son. Holly is way out of her depth and comfort zone, but fortunately the experience proves positive for everyone in the end and Holly gets the care she deserves. A novel that is very deft at evoking empathy with Holly’s plight and real relief at the way things turn out.