ISBN: 9780385609722
Publisher: David Fickling Books
Published: 2009
261 pgs

This is a nonstalgic story of a fourteen-year old girl Holly Hogan who is staying in Templeton Home (sort of like a shelter to homeless children) and her journey in search of her biological mother in Ireland.

Though Holly thinks and misses her mother very much, in fact Holly is quite happy staying in the Home because she has a caring key worker, Miko (actually, his real name is Michael) and two good friends, Grace and Trim. But things changed after Miko informed her that he is leaving Home as he has found another job but he wants Holly to have a real family and stay with the Aldridges' couple. Mrs Aldridge had cancer and could not have any children, and she and her husband are willing to adopt her.

Holly does not want to live with them, but it is not like she has any choice now that Miko would be going away. She moved into the Aldridges' house, and though the Aldridges treat her with love and respect, Holly could not find herself fitting into the family, as she thought they are being too nice and shower her with false sympathy. Then one day, she found a wig (it belongs to Mrs Aldridge and her head was bald at one time due to the chemotherapy) and an idea struck her. With a wig, she could be on her own since it made her look a few years older. With this plan in mind, she decided to leave everything behind, including her own identity. She named herself Solace, and think of herself as the smooth-walking and sharp-talking glamour girl.

So this begins her journey across England to Ireland, as she would meet some people from all walks of life. Some of them are helpful, while one or two just want to take advantage of her. While reading this book, I felt I was travelling beside Holly as I shared her ups and downs; there are also times that she made me laugh because she is just plain witty. Of course, there are some occasions I was frustrated by her stubborness and felt like shaking her up, but that is Holly for you and I could feel nothing but sorry for her.

I felt there seem to be a drag towards the middle of the story, but that does not stop me from reading it and I was glad the story is back to its momentum again when Holly begins to realize some real facts about her mother and everything. I also liked the Aldridges, especially Mrs Aldridge for her kindness and for having a big heart. I was really sorry for her situation, being a cancer patient, childless and all, but she was a strong woman and I feel there are a few things we should all learn from her.

Another character I liked is Miko, who is the key social worker who plays a huge part in Holly's life. Unfortunately, there is not much mention of him except I was aware that Holly is greatly influenced by him and that he has a girlfriend and he is leaving Templeton House for a new job. Holly misses him badly after he left, and I would like to know more about his endeavours and whether or not did he still keep in touch with her?

I love the bittersweet in Solace of the Road. As for the ending, I did not see it coming but I liked how it is all nicely wrapped up.

11 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    I like nicely wrapped up stories and anything with Ireland in it will definitely catch my attention. This books looks good Melody. Thanks for the review.

  2. Sandy Nawrot Says:

    I do like closure too. But while reading this, my overwhelming emotion was sadness for Mrs. Aldridge. It is a huge gesture to adopt, especially a teenager. That, coupled with the fact they couldn't have kids, and that she was sick, makes it heartbreaking to hear about the girl running away from them. I might have issues in getting past this!

  3. Jane Says:

    I have been reading more stories set in Ireland and love interesting angles they present. Thanks for the review Melody!

  4. Melody Says:

    Violet - I'm fascinated with anything Irish too! Unfortunately, I find there isn't much mention of Ireland in this book.

    Sandy - I know what you mean, Sandy! I felt so sorry for Mrs. Aldridge after reading about her conditions. Teenagers are not easy to adopt, as compared to younger children because they're at a rebellious stage and have their own opinions and so forth. That's why I'm in awe of Mrs. Aldridge. She's so patient with Holly.

    Jaimie - Count me in, Jaimie! I love stories set in Ireland. As I mentioned to Violet, there isn't much mention of Ireland in this book and I was kind of disappointed. Nevertheless, I had a great time reading this book.

  5. Ana S. Says:

    I have a soft spot for bittersweet stories, so I'll definitely keep an eye out for this one!

  6. Jess Says:

    I hadn't heard of this book until your post, sounds like a good read -- thanks for the review.

  7. Debi Says:

    This is the first I've heard of this one...thanks, Melody! Sounds like one I might really enjoy!

  8. Alice Says:

    Hi Melody, I also like anything Irish, and Nora Roberts have some really great ones in her some of the trilogies.

    Thanks for the review!

  9. Melody Says:

    Nymeth, Jess & Debi- I hope you'll enjoy this one if you get to it! :)

    Alice - I haven't read that trilogy by Nora Roberts, but I've heard it is a good one! :)

  10. Iliana Says:

    I love these coming of age type stories. I hadn't heard of this one before but it's going on my list! Plus, I love foreign settings :)

  11. Melody Says:

    Iliana - Yep, I love reading coming of age stories too! And I'm a sucker for bittersweet stories! :P

Post a Comment

Thanks for stopping by! I would love to hear from you.