This is another enjoyable and thought-provoking book from a writer who peels the layers from people and situations with great care and compassion. From the opening sentence, the reader is drawn into Laura’s life and needs to know every why and wherefore. Although we meet and follow all the protagonists throughout the course of one day, starting with early morning tea and ending with nightcap, there are many revealing flashbacks that drive the story along. As with another classic and timeless story, grit, or in this case, gravel, plays an important role in a tale of love, love lost and, maybe, love rediscovered. Laura and Ben meet when they are students, fall in love and lust, then go their separate ways. When they meet again many years later, much has happened to alter their lives, yet familiar, confused feelings begin to draw them together. However, they are no longer carefree students with few responsibilities. Ben is married and has the care of his younger brother Bobby, who has the Mosaic variant of Down’s Syndrome. Laura lives with her elderly mother – known only as Mummy – a beautifully drawn character who is wise, learned and a naturist. It is no good trying to guess where Gale will take the actors in this poignant drama. Expect the unexpected, as he leads his readers through a labyrinth of emotions, some strange, some very familiar. His books always have an unpredictable thread running through them. The only certainty is that one will discover aspects of relationships hitherto unknown, or perhaps ignored. The Whole Day Through is set in Winchester and, as in other novels by Gale, provides the reader with a fascinating walk around the place – this time where he, himself was raised. This provides another dimension to a story which, once read, settles in the memory like a cherished piece of music.

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