The New Woman by Charity Norman
|The New Woman by Charity Norman|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Jo Heffer|
|Summary: Charity Norman has written yet another thought provoking book that will hook the reader in from the very first page. This is the story of Luke Livingstone who becomes Lucia Livingstone as the story progresses. It is also the story of a family that is ripped apart by Luke’s revelation and how each one deals with having a husband, father or son who is really a woman.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 384||Date: July 2015|
|Publisher: Allen & Unwin|
Boys will be boys - isn't that what they always say? But what happens when the boy never felt that he was a boy? Luke Livingstone has spent more than fifty years trapped in a man's body when he knows that he really is a woman. But if he feels that he can no longer live a lie, what will that do to his marriage, and how will his family, friends and colleagues react when Luke asks to be called Lucia?
The story opens with Luke Livingstone travelling on a train on what he has determined will be the last day of his life. For all his life, he has carried a secret which has been unbearable for him. Even though everyone looks on him as a man, he knows that really he is a woman. Even having married his wife Eilish, who he loves very much, and having fathered two grown up children doesn't change that. No longer able to live with the lies, Luke had decided that the only way to end the misery was to end his life. However, a chance conversation with a stranger on the train leads him to change his mind. By doing so he has to come clean to his family and risk breaking up and losing the people he loves the most.
The New Woman is an extremely moving story that examines what it is to live with gender identity disorder. It's also about what it is like to discover how, after many years of marriage, that you don't really know your husband at all. From the very first moment, the reader is caught up in the anguish that is Luke's and Eilish's relationship and it is very easy to sympathise with both of them. There's also Luke's son and daughter who both deal with his revelation in vastly contrasting ways. Simon is disgusted with his father and cuts off all ties; Kate just struggles to understand.
It is easy to warm to all of the characters in this book and to understand their anguish. It makes you wonder what you would do if you were in the position of Eilish, Simon or Kate or even Luke's mother. There are feelings of betrayal and guilt but will there ultimately be understanding and acceptance? However it turns out, I am sure that you will find this a compelling read that will keep you turning the pages until the very end. Be warned though, you might want to have a packet of tissues nearby. I certainly did.
If you like the sound of this, why not take a look at The Son in Law, also by Charity Norman.
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