This review is written with thanks to Sophie at Troubadour for my copy of One Night Two Lives.
Suzie, a widow with two grown-up daughters, has made a success of her life – until, at a public event, she is faced by the man she last saw as a teenager, forty years ago. James, once a history student, is now an Anglican priest in Oxford, battling his own demons and trying to mend the sins of the past.
When he says he wants to find the child Suzie gave up for adoption in the 1960s, her shock turns to fury. After what he did – and after such a betrayal – how dare he even ask? Determined to spell things out for James, Suzie has questions of her own. The answers change her perspective, but if she agrees to search for her adopted son, she must face her own guilt as well as fears that her son may, in turn, reject her. Over the succeeding months, she and James grow closer. The old attraction isn’t dead, and while desire battles with resentment on Suzie’s part, James is struggling with principle and belief.
From rural Yorkshire to the tragic world of mother-and-baby homes, the past takes Suzie to the bright lights of London, life with her artist husband, and back to recent times in York. But only when she’s faced with death in the high Pennines, can she begin to heal; and only when James has laid the past to rest, can he begin to forgive himself.
One Night Two Lives is the story of Suzie and James and the way in which they are brought together at an event following an incident forty years previously. The plot itself takes some time to build, but this gives time for Roberts to shape the characters of Suzie and James. They are really intriguing and I enjoyed the switching viewpoints between each chapter which allowed me to see how they were feeling and how they reacted to each other – the communication between them can provide mixed messages at times!
The central theme of One Night Two Lives is adoption and Roberts explores the impact of the law which allows birth parents to seek contact with their children. The novel is impeccably researched and I found the knowledge I gained as I read absolutely fascinating. Roberts also explores the theme of religion and I found this subject interesting too.
There are parts of One Night Two Lives that are set in Yorkshire. Being familiar with the areas that Roberts describes helped me to feel immersed in the plot as I could picture what was happening.
One Night Two Lives is available from Amazon.