Copy courtesy of publisher via Netgalley
For the last two months, Hannah has been living in London and working in a museum shop. She has run away from her life in Sydney, Australia, and has been punishing herself because of something she did back home. Then she meets India, who is also an Australian travelling overseas. India is the complete opposite of Hannah – outgoing, friendly, and wants to help people. The two become friends and India makes it her mission to prise Hannah’s secret from her so that she can fix it. India though, is hiding a secret of her own. In the Greek Islands, India met the man of her dreams, Simon. After three perfect weeks though, India left Greece without a trace. This is where the paper chains of the title comes in. India has been writing letters to Simon, but not posting them. Instead she gives them to other travellers, believing that if they reach Simon then their relationship was meant to be. Her final letter details the big secret she has been hiding and when part of it is posted on the internet it sets in motion a chain reaction of events that leads Simon back to India.
Paper Chains begins in a light-hearted way and we are led to believe that Hannah and India are just running away from failed relationships. It soon becomes clear though that there are much more serious issues at work, and the book becomes highly emotional. It turns out that Hannah has been suffering from post-natal depression and her grief is played out during the book. I thought Moriarty handled this aspect of the novel very sensitively, and I really got a sense of how debilitating post-natal depression can be. Hannah believes she has absolutely no choice but to leave her family. This, combined with a history of suicide in her family, places Hannah in a very fragile state of mind. The book is not all doom and gloom though as Moriarty manages plenty of humour and hope throughout. Paper Chains is a short book but by no means a small book. It is a book about love, hope forgiveness and fate, written with compassion. I loved Paper Chains, which is Nicola Moriarty’s second novel, and I look forward to reading more of her work in the future.
This is the first book I have read for the AWW2013 challenge.