Cold Feet: The Lost Years by Carmel Harrington
Rating: 5 stars
The television series Cold Feet has been a part of my life for around 20 years now, when it ended back in 2003 it seemed that the chance to follow the lives of the gang of six close friends Adam, Rachel, Pete, Jenny, David and Karen had reached it end. We had suffered the death of one of the main characters and left the gang reeling from her loss. It was a great surprise therefore, but a joyous one when ITV in the UK announced that they would be reviving the show in 2016.
Since it's return I've watched the show with a sense of having reunited with lost friends. We are catching up on their lives now, how their children have grown and in the directions their lives have taken them and the show has been massively successful in reuniting the original cast, minus Helen Baxendale. It's just such a moving and funny and emotional show to watch and it was with a huge whoop of joy therefore that I spotted this book in my local book shop a few months ago.
The television show did return with a gap of 13 years in the lives of the characters and whilst the show has tried to fill some of the gaps of the time in-between it hasn't dwelt on it and instead has moved the characters forwards into new adventures and chapters in their lives. Therefore as a viewer we feel we missed all the in's and out's of the direction the gang's lives took in the intervening years. This book by Carmel Harrington seeks to address that gap by filling in some of the time we missed - hence it's title, The Lost Years.
Now, trying to find the voice of these well loved television characters was going to be no easy feat, I was worried I'd find the book lacking because it might not manage to portray all 5 of the gang in a way that would translate to the written word. Indeed, during the initial chapters I worried that this was going to be a problem that might not be overcome but then suddenly Carmel Harrington hits her stride and the voices coming off the page begin to convey exactly the personalities, speech patterns and friendships we've come to love.
It's a difficult book because it picks up immediately after the end of the 2003 series with Adam having gone back to Northern Ireland to live with his father only a few months after the death of his wife Rachel and with his young baby son Matthew in tow. He's broken, grief stricken and struggling to find his way in the world. This means that we are taken back to the time when we all cried with him, and let's be honest anyone who watched the show cried buckets.
Pete and Jenny are struggling to cope with getting back together, especially now that Jenny is pregnant with another man's child and Pete is trying to move on from his marriage to Australian Jo. We know from the new series that they remain together but it's great to follow their journey as they get there.
Then there's Karen and David who are trying to adjust to life after their divorce, with Karen battling every day to stay on the road to sobriety and David dating their divorce lawyer it's a difficult time for them all. In fact, in the book this relationship was the one that was at times most of a joy to read as Harrington has a wonderful way of writing David's character that means we warm to him, sometimes more than in the show, and really root for him.
There are some truly marvelous moments in this book which you can see so clearly in your minds eye appearing on the screen in the television show, the one where the boys end up in a line dancing class is classic Cold Feet and really made me feel Harrington had her writing spot on for this book. Also, those one on one moments where characters really sit down for the heart to heart moments were so wonderfully typical of the show and it's dynamic of everyone being there for each other it's impossible not to have fallen in love with this book.
I want more, is that selfish? This book takes us to just after Matthew's first birthday, so less than one year after Rachel's death. This leaves us some unexplored years left to go between this and the start of Season 6 of the television show. Please Carmel Harrington could we have some more Lost Years? I'd like to see Adam in his new journey's with Matthew, I want to know how Pete found himself as a taxi driver and I want to see David marrying Robyn and find out where it all went wrong. I just wanted to spend some more time with the gang, it felt like opening up a photograph album with friends you've not seen for years so you could see what you'd missed and I feel there are other albums on the shelf yet unopened.
If you are a fan of the television show this is a must for you, if you haven't seen the show then I would advise watching the first 5 Seasons as this book really bases itself on the presumption you will have seen it and then delve in before you start Season 6 and besides what are you waiting for? Cold Feet was and now remains one of the flagship shows of British television and for very good reason, this book is an amazing addition to the world of the show.