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  • Barbara Copperthwaite

Review: THE MOUNTAIN IN MY SHOE, Louise Beech

The Mountain In My Shoe, by Louise Beech. Review by Barbara Copperthwaite

“A gentle tale of great subtlety”


A missing boy. A missing book. A missing husband. A woman who must find them all to find herself. On the night Bernadette finally has the courage to tell her domineering husband that she’s leaving, he doesn’t come home. Neither does Conor, the little boy she’s befriended for the past five years. Also missing is his lifebook, the only thing that holds the answers. With the help of Conor’s foster mum, Bernadette must face her own past, her husband’s secrets and a future she never dared imagine in order to find them all. Exquisitely written and deeply touching, The Mountain in My Shoe is both a gripping psychological thriller and a powerful and emotive examination of the meaning of family … and just how far we’re willing to go for the people we love


Beautifully written, uplifting, tense, and incredibly moving, The Mountain In My Shoe is a gentle tale of great subtlety.

Bernadette’s loneliness is palpable, and her husband casts a shadow over the entire book. But the star of the novel is Conor.

I defy anyone not to fall in love with Conor and want to adopt him themselves. A cheeky, clever lad with a sparkling wit and a unique way of looking at the world, he feels totally real. Now I’ve finished the book, I find I miss him.

Conor is by no means perfect, but his imperfections make him all the more endearing. He’s had a tough life, which is shown through excerpts of ‘the lifebook’. Inside the lifebook social workers and others who deal with Conor record key moments in his life, so that when he turns 18 – if he turns 18 – he will be able to read it and make sense of his disjointed time in care.

Using ‘the lifebook’ is a wonderful, clever way of showing Conor’s background and all that had happened to him.

The author has clearly researched the book incredibly well. It is fabulously constructed, too, with sections told in first and third person, along with those ‘lifebook’ snippets.

Emotions are where The Mountain In My Shoe really excels, though. It had me in tears, it had me hoping for a happy ending, it had me on the edge of my seat at times, and wiping tears from my eyes at others. Every time I had to put it down, I looked forward to getting back to it. There is a warmth that runs through this tale, and the rays of hope stay with the reader afterwards.

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