You can call me Ella. You generally assign me a whole host of other preposterous monikers. I think the least imaginative name I’ve heard is “the devil”, but I’ll answer to it if I must.
After making the courageous decision to leave her abusive husband, Perdie and her three young children start over and finally find the safety and love they deserve. But years later, when tragedy strikes, Perdie is left wondering if the choice she made to leave has led them to this moment.
If she were given the opportunity to take it all back and stay, would she?
In a frantic bid to protect her family, Perdie makes a deal with the devil to do just that. But in a world where the devil pulls the strings, can Perdie really change the past?
What I Thought:
What an interesting idea Idle Hands is! We’ve all heard myths of people standing at a crossroads and making a deal with the devil (especially people who watch Supernatural!), but what if, instead of a physical crossroads, deals are made at a metaphorical crossroads?
This is the crux of Perdie’s story. Many years after escaping an abusive husband and going on to make a new life with her three children, she finds herself in a situation that may never have happened if she had stayed – would she now unpick her new life to return to her old one?
In a world where people take so much of what other people are responsible for onto themselves, it really is an interesting and multi-faceted question. Is that one decision that Perdie made 12 years ago really what caused her current situation? Or are there so many decisions made over the course of twelve years that all combine to lead to a single point, any of which could be unmade?
Often, as humans, we tend to think very much like Perdie does, that it’s the large decisions that define our life when in actuality if we stop off for a coffee one morning on a whim, it could change our whole lives.
Whichever path Perdie takes, there is no happy ending in this book and that fits beautifully in the scheme of the character known as Ella. A person of many names, we might also call Ella the devil and she certainly gets her view of Perdie, her community and humanity across in an extraordinarily strong voice.
I found myself highlighting a lot of what Ella has to say as she gives her view, explaining that the Devil is never really determined to turn people bad – she just catches the ones that are already on their way. Some can be gently guided into the Devil’s hands often, over a number of years, and some have to suffer through a single, large event to be persuaded.
In essence, this novel examines what it is to be human and gives us all hope that the complete garbage fire that the world is at the moment is only temporary. That people, ultimately, will do good when given the chance. It also shows us that even when we feel the weight of our decisions, we have to try and feel confident that we’ve taken the right path as, most often, an alternative path would not have made things turn out any more happily.
This book is definitely recommended, although I would add a TW for domestic abuse.
Idle Hands is published by Agora Books.
This post is part of a blog tour celebrating the publication of Idle Hands. For more reviews and exclusive content, check out the blogs below.
Please note: I was sent a copy of this book for review. All opinions are, as ever, my own.