I love books that make my throat hurt with an aching sob. I love underplayed emotion that grips me tight when I imagine everything the character is facing without needing to be told. I love getting inside the skin of a character about whom I know nothing.
The Sandfather by Linda Newbury filled me with moments of emotion that were so strong they threatened to overwhelm me. I held back the sob in my throat and the tears in eyes time and time again, closing my eyes when I felt the pain and joy of the story unfolding before me.
Hal Marborough has no idea who his father is because his mother won’t tell him.
She knows, but she won’t tell him.
So Hal imagines a Sandfather – a figure who vanishes into the sea before Hal can see the face. Hal’s idea of who and what he is revolves around one thing – the mystery figure of his father. Uncontrolled anger and outbursts of emotion come from the frustration of an unknown identity. Punished for his behaviour, Hal goes away for a while. And when he realises that people around him have emotions as intense as his own, he begins to discover himself.