• Title: Songs For Your Mother
  • Author: Gordon MacMillan
  • Publisher: Hera Books on May 12, 2021
  • Genre: General Fiction
  • Pages: 229
  • Formats Available: Digital
  • Rating: 4/5

Trigger Warnings: Death, Car Accident, Cancer, Bullying

Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources and Gordon MacMillan for providing me with a digital copy of Songs For Your Mother with a request for an honest review.

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Songs For Your Mother Blurb

I’m greeted by the strangest sight. A small dark-haired boy is standing there. It’s like he’s a human parcel, delivered to my front door.

‘My name is Luke,’ he says.

When Johnny meets Lauren in a bar in Santa Cruz, there’s an instant connection. On an American road trip with best friend Will, Johnny promises to return to the girl who has stolen his heart.

Until tragedy strikes, forcing Johnny to fly back home without ever seeing Lauren again.

Six years later, Johnny is living his life in London, even if he’s never forgotten the girl with the grey eyes and dark hair.

Until one September morning, he opens his door to find a little boy standing there – a child, Johnny quickly comes to learn, who was created that one magical night. Lauren is dying, and her last wish is to reunite five-year-old Luke with the father he doesn’t yet know.

Thrown into unexpected parenthood, Johnny finds himself navigating school-gate politics, Disney movies and tantrums, guided by the notes Lauren has written for him.

Life as an instant dad isn’t always easy, but as Johnny and Luke open their hearts to each other, Johnny is about to discover that life’s joy isn’t always where you expected it.

An emotional, feel-good read that will have you laughing while you wipe away a tear – readers of Dani Atkins, Mike Gayle and Jojo Moyes will be captivated.

My Review

Gordon Macmillan delivers a painful punch to the heart in his debut novel, Songs For Your Mother. There may have been three pages where I wasn’t sobbing my guts out. Yet, this is not a bad feeling. It felt more like a soul-cleansing that I didn’t know I needed.

Johnny and his best buddy Will are visiting California for the ultimate road trip down the 101. Until Will has doubts and Johnny runs off in a huff. Then, Lauren walks in, and Johnny’s life will never be the same. Tragedy tears the couple apart. But a love child named Luke connects them.

These characters were more than fictitious people on the pages of the book. They were real to me. Will felt like the bother I never had. He was equally annoying and sweet. Johnny and Lauren had that special connection that eludes most people. I wanted to be part of that couple. But, it is Luke who steals the show. All I wanted to do was scoop him up and let him know that everything would be okay.

Johnny does a great job at being a dad. He seems to say the right things at the right time to help Luke feel better. But, seeing him struggle with learning what to do made him human. Though, when Luke begins acting out in a way that Johnny feels he can’t fix, he decides that they have to see Lauren. Regardless of what awaits them at the other end. 

Songs For Your Mother is a beautiful story that incorporates music as a salve to everyone’s heart. However, the prose is hard to read at times. The words didn’t flow as well as they could have. I expected something a bit more lyrical, considering the book relates to music. But I found the sentences choppy and without the soothing lull that makes reading easy.

Ease of reading aside, the book is beautifully haunting. The author creates a well of emotion so deep you must watch so as not to fall in. I am pleased to award Songs For Your Mother 4 out of 5 stars. Readers who enjoy contemporary fiction that falls on the emotional sword will enjoy this book. I should warn you to read with a box of tissues at your side.

About the Author – Gordon MacMillan

Gordon Macmillan is a debut novelist and former journalist who now works for Twitter in London.

Author’s Contact Links: Twitter

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