By Bridget Foley
St. Martin’s Press (May 5, 2015)
Reviewed by Stefanie Kamerman
In her debut novel, Bridget Foley brings us Hugo & Rose an honest, witty, and creative novel about the mundane of motherhood and the strange endeavors some go on to get away.
Rose isn’t feeling appreciated by her own family. Her husband, and college sweetheart, Josh, logs in long hours as a surgeon and is seldom home leaving the care of their three young children solely on Rose. But Rose knows despite all this, she should be happy. She is a wife, mother, and has all life could offer. Despite her perfect life, Rose is quite unhappy.
Rose’s only escape from the demands of motherhood are in her dreams involving a heroic man named Hugo. These dreams involving Hugo began when Rose was six, after she suffered a traumatic bicycle accident. Every night since the accident, Rose dreams of Hugo on Castle Island. While on the island in the dream, Hugo and Rose set off on an adventure each night. In the present time, Rose looks for any available chance in her day to dream so she can be with Hugo. Including taking a nap while her daughter is in preschool.
One harried, rainy Saturday and in-between soccer games, Rose and her children stop for lunch. Rose is startled to find Hugo is the one taking her order. Or is it? In the end, Rose decides to follow the man who she believes is Hugo and it turns out he is indeed the Hugo. At first, Rose and Hugo’s connection seems bizarre. While Rose dreams, Hugo dreams with her, and when they wake (not together) Hugo captures the dream in the form of comic books. After a while, the shock fades and turns into lust.
For the first time in a long while, Rose feels a connection towards someone other than her family. Rose knows, this isn’t normal and she shouldn’t be developing feelings, but she does. Her husband Josh finds out and is stunned at Rose and Hugo’s connection, upon seeing the comics himself. Against Josh’s wishes, Rose sees Hugo again, only to discover her fearless hero Hugo is someone to be feared.
Hugo & Rose is hilariously bizarre and captures what all mothers look for in a day, just some way to escape it all. Rose realizes in the end it is her that shouldn’t be escaping from her family, but escaping the lies and regrets that come with motherhood.
STEFANIE KAMERMAN is a contributing editor of LitChat. Read her complete bio here.