Tuesday 27 March 2018

The Weaning by Hannah Vincent @hannahvincent22 @saltpublishing #TheWeaning

For childminder Bobbi, it’s all about keeping your babies safe. 
When professional couple Nikki and Rob uncover their childminder Bobbi’s secret everything changes. Bobbi has a child-shaped hole in her life that her ‘silver fox’ lover can’t fill. Now she is seeking out children once more. Troubled young couple, Kim and Connor are battling with social services to keep their baby, Jade – but they needn’t worry, Bobbi soon arrives to help solve all their problems.

The Weaning by Hannah Vincent was published in paperback by Salt Publishing on 15 February 2018 and is the author's second novel. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I read Hannah Vincent's debut; Alarm Girl, back in 2014 and it remains one of my favourite novels. I've recommended it to many, have bought copies for friends and am always thrilled when someone else tells me how much they enjoyed it too.

I was so thrilled to receive a copy of The Weaning from Salt, and so eager to see what this talented author would conjure up next. I read my copy on the train to London - it's one hour and forty minutes and I hardly raised my head from the book. When I arrived at Kings Cross, I had just five pages left and when my friend met me in Starbucks, I was frantically turning the pages.

Once more, as with Alarm Girl, Hannah Vincent has centred her story on family relationships and most especially those between parents and their children. The author has cleverly woven in other issues within the story; there's depression and mental health, there's the divide between the upper and lower classes; there's an air of desperation about the characters that at times, is quite chilling.

Bobbi is a child minder. Babies and children are her life's work, her passion and making sure that they are happy, and well fed and cared for is so much more than just a job. Her own children are past the baby stage and whilst Bobbi considers them and converses with them all the time, it's the small babies and toddlers of other people who take up her days now.

Nikki and Rob are young, upcoming professional people and they just know that Bobbi will be the perfect minder for their son Marcel.
Bobbi embraces their life, overstepping the mark when they are not around to see it, but caring well for Marcel. Until the day when Nikki and Rob find out.
Bobbi is also involved with young family who are the opposite of Marcel's parents. Kim and Connor are troubled youngsters with dysfunctional backgrounds whose daughter Jade is known to Social Services.

There's an air of foreboding that penetrates this story and makes the reader want to hold their breath. It's kind of inevitable that Bobbi's world is going to crash down around her, it's just a case of how and why. Bobbi seems to have made a decision to start new relationships, all at once; with Marcel's parents, with Kim and Connor and intriguingly with her 'silver fox' neighbour.

The Weaning is a short book, and to say much more would only spoil it for other readers. However, I can say that it's a beautifully written, evocative and very dark story that explores issues that will resonate with the reader.
Hannah Vincent is a talented observer; she sees life and people and relates them through her books with incredible insight. Fluent and powerful, I loved this book, just as I adored her first and hope that I don't have to wait quite so long for her next!

Hannah began her writing life as a playwright. Her plays have been produced by among others, The Royal Court and The Royal National Theatre Studio.
Her first play for radio was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2014.  
She teaches Creative Writing for the Open University.      
Find out more at www.hannahvincentinfo.com          
Follow her on Twitter @hannahvincent22

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