A Spoke in the Wheel by Kathleen Jowitt

After testing positive for drugs, Ben’s career as a professional cyclist is over. His parents are in denial but Ben just wants to move on and start again. He finds himself in a new town hoping for a second chance, except he’s been spotted straight away by two ladies – Polly and Vicki. Polly seems disgusted in him but Vicki, however, is just happy to have correctly spotted him. That chance encounter sparks the start of new beginnings for Ben.

The very next day he bumps into Vicki again, as she begins to look for a new place for herself and Polly to rent.

And so, Ben is now living with them both.

Whilst Ben is the main character of this story, his interactions and thoughts on his new housemates brings them to the forefront too.

Vicki and Polly’s friendship is the kind we would all wish for. During university, Polly falls ill with the flu which sadly takes holds of her and never leaves, causing her to drop out. Her parents can’t seem to comprehend that she’s never going to get better, but Vicki is there for her always.

Polly had been studying to be a doctor and now she’s living with a chronic illness, even with the daily pain, she is just happy to be alive. Her present and future was not what she planned but she still carries on. Ben can hardly wallow in self pity when he’s living with someone who has had so much taken from her but still keeps on going.

With two jobs and the drama of living with two women, Ben has hardly anytime to reflect on his past, and yet his past keeps catching up on him. With his persistent parents, the curiosity from certain cyclists in Vicki’s cycling club and acquaintances from the past resurfacing, Ben needs to decide how to learn from his mistakes and move forward without regret.

Jowitt has created a story that centres on new beginnings and the appreciation of others. Her depiction of Polly’s day to day life is poignant and heavily reminds the readers of illnesses that can’t be seen. In comparison, Vicki brings her fiery passion to everything, and continues to remind us how caring she is. As a person who never puts herself first, I was so very happy when the story gave her the gift of a happy ending.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ve probably noticed I’m not a follower of cycling – either for myself or professionally, but this is not my first book that has a cycling theme, and I guess I’m mentioning this because I want other readers like me, to embrace this story and realise what a jewel it is.

The reason this story is so captivating, is the sheer realism that flows throughout these pages and the diversity of the characters. I read this book in a single sitting as I was so highly invested in seeing how it would pan out for these three.

Despite the deep rooted reflection that sees Ben having to rebuild his life and get rid of his past demons; this is an uplifting read with a satisfying ending.

A Spoke in the Wheel is out now in paperback and eBook versions. I was very lucky to be *GIFTED* a copy by the author.

Until next time, Chloé x


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