The Perfect Son by Barbara Claypole White


From a distance, Felix Fitzwilliam, the son of an old English family, is a good husband and father. But, obsessed with order and routine, he’s a prisoner to perfection. Disengaged from the emotional life of his North Carolina family, Felix has let his wife, Ella, deal with their special-needs son by herself.

A talented jewelry designer turned full-time mother, Ella is the family rock…until her heart attack shatters their carefully structured existence. Now Harry, a gifted teen grappling with the chaos of Tourette’s, confronts a world outside his parents’ control, one that tests his desire for independence.

As Harry searches for his future, and Ella adapts to the limits of her failing health, Felix struggles with his past and present roles. To prevent the family from being ripped apart, they must each bend with the inevitability of change and reinforce the ties that bind.

It didn’t take me long to fall deeply into this book.  When we meet Ella she is on a plane going back home when she suffers a heart attack that leaves her very disabled.  Her mother died of a fatal heart attack when she was 47, the same age as Ella, who wonders if the same fate is in store for her.  She has been the sole caregiver to her son, Harry, who suffers from Tourette’s.  Felix is a hands off type of father who gladly relinquished the role to his wife, he never felt that he would be a good father with what he had to endure in his own childhood.

Felix has to step up and take care of not only Ella but Harry as well.  Harry and Felix don’t see eye to eye.  Felix can’t stand how uncontrolled Harry is, how sloppy he is and seemingly uncaring how his tics affect those around him.  As things get worse on the home front Felix realises that his control and routine has been thrown out the window and he can’t cope.  Can he and Harry get their act together and try to get to know each other better and can Felix relax the steel grip he has on everything around him before it’s too late?

The characters are so well written that you fall for them, quirks and all.  It was hard to see the change in roles that Felix and Ella had and how they had to adapt to keep Harry well balanced.  The change in the whole family dynamics was wonderfully written and the transformation in Felix was a joy to read.  He struggled with the things that defined him as a man and as a father, his English upbringing was a hindrance and it was something he had to slowly overcome.  His whole life had turned upside down and he had to discover how to be the father and husband he needed to be.

My husband is English and I could see some of the same characteristics between my husband and Felix.  The whole British ” stiff upper lip” and not showing how they feel is something I still struggle with even after all these years.

I fell in love with this book, so beautifully written that you fall into it.  I found myself blinking at the end of it and was a bit sad that it had ended.  One of the best books I have read this year so far!


5/5 stars



Buy: Amazon

Buy: B&N

Buy: Amazon UK



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