We were thrilled to be able to take part in the blog tour for Dear Lily by Drew Davies and I was not disappointed with this book.
Dear Lily is the story of Joy who has taken a leap way out of her comfort zone to start a new life in Denmark working for her company. It’s very clear from the start of the book that this is something very unexpected for Joy and we are taken along with her anxieties as she pours them out on the page.
Joy it seems is an ironic name for the main character who seems to be very anxious and introvert – being in a new country however and having to start a whole new life on her own does however draw her out. When you start the book it’s hard to see where the book is headed, it’s clear that the character has some issues – she often mentions her face time therapist for example.
The narrative of the story is via a series of letters from Joy to her sister Lily and this works so well, allowing Joy to pour out her deepest thoughts and feelings as she settles in and begins to even enjoy her new life. We also get glimpses of her past as she recalls moments between sisters and we learn a lot about Lily and their family.
We never get the meet Lily herself, but she is as much a character as Joy herself thanks to the wonderful way Drew Davies constructs the story. You can’t help but feel connected to the characters, there are indeed moments of Joy and also sadness. Books written as letters can be tricky to get right, but I think Drew Davies has truly nailed it. A beautiful story about building on a fresh start.
A true Joy to read.
17 May 2019
It’s me, Joy, your much wiser and (very slightly) older sister. I thought I’d start a new tradition of letter writing – now that we’re long distance.
On the plane over here, I began to cry in seat 21C. I think the magnitude of it finally hit me, after everything that happened…
I haven’t even unpacked yet – the only thing I’ve taken out of my suitcase is Harville, your beloved childhood teddy. Sorry for stealing him, but I need him more than you do. Every time I look at that little brown bear I think about our childhood. Remember that dance we made up to Annie’s ‘It’s a Hard Knock Life’? (Remember the broom choreography?)
I’m also sorry for abandoning you – I’ve always been your agony aunt, and a buffer in your infamous shouting matches with Mum. But I had to leave, Lily, I had to.
Anyway, I’m here now. I’m here to start over, and to face up to the past. I want to learn to laugh again, and to find someone to love who will maybe even love me back. You always told me I was just getting by, not actually living, so I’m finally doing it. Wish me luck, little sister.
The first novel I’ve read by Elizabeth Noble, having this book drop through my letterbox from the Publisher it’s been in my reading pile waiting for a quiet reading moment. This book is perfect for a lazy Sunday curled up with a hot drink.
Dear, Iris explores family relationships, on one hand you have Iris coming to the end of her life, looked after by the granddaughter she virtually brought up. Tess is struggling to cope with the impending loss of her grandmother, having a fractious relationship with her own mother she finds her own impending motherhood bringing them closer.
On the flip side we have Gigi, her family are grown up and she is finding herself unhappy in her marriage and wanting to fly the nest herself, Tess and Gigi are connected by the home where Iris moves to and where Gigi’s father in law also stays. Soon they form a friendship as they deal with the changes in their lives.
This was a moving story with lots of parts to it, it was lovely to see the different family bonds and how they changed. It did feel that there could be more done with the secret Iris was keeping, although it had a nice way of bringing a deeper meaning to the story.
If you love a book to pull on your heart strings this one is for you
27 December 2018
Did you ever have a secret you knew would change everything?
Tess's happy childhood memories are mostly of the grandmother who helped raise her. And now she has a secret to tell Iris - one which will turn so many lives upside down.
But how can you confide your future in someone who barely remembers her past?
Tess knows everything is about to change. What she doesn't know is that chance will lead her into the lives of two strangers - and uncover her grandmother's secret from the past.
A secret which will illuminate her own future . . .
An uplifting, unforgettable story about keeping secrets, taking chances and finding happiness where you least expect it.
Published in a previous edition under the title Letters to Iris.
This book arrived without warning through my letterbox back in the cold depths of winter, and I duly deposited it on my to read pile. Struggling in a bit of a reading slump I picked this up to read on my train journey to work and boy did this pull me out of that slump. Every so often you come across a gem of a book that you literally can’t put down, that you think about all day at your desk itching for the minute you can return to its pages.
The Day We Met tells the story of Stephanie, engaged to Matt and slowly getting over some personal issues in her life, she believes she is now happy but then a chance meeting with Jamie puts a new spin on her world, he seems to be the only person who truly understands her. But Jamie is happily married to his childhood sweet heart, although he too feels this unexplainable connection to Stephanie. A connection so strong neither of them can ignore it and so begins a 10 year journey, a 10 year will they won’t they for the reader.
The story of the book does leave you torn, as this is a story about an affair, on the one hand you want to stop what is happening but on the other you do find yourself rooting for Stephanie & Jamie and then questioning yourself for it. It’s one of those books that just gets to you, you want to rush to the ending and then you get there… but I don’t want to spoil that for you, so you’ll have to go read it!
The Day We Met
1 February 2019
Stephanie and Jamie are meant to be. The problem is they're both with other people...
Stephanie doesn’t believe in fate, true love or living happily ever after. She’s content enough being engaged to Matt. But then she meets Jamie, who understands her more than anyone else ever has.
Jamie is happily married to his childhood sweetheart Helen and believes in everything Stephanie doesn’t. So why does he have such a strong connection with Stephanie?
When Stephanie and Jamie meet one fateful weekend in 2006 it will change everything...
Susan is 45, she has a flat for 1, a ‘relationship’ arrangement that suits her just fine and a job that suits her skills. Susan doesn’t have close friends and avoids her brother Edward, but when the sudden loss of her mother brings her back home her carefully organised life starts to unravel and it’s not just the loss of her mother, there is a far more interesting development in Susan’s life that well and truly puts a spanner in the works.
Sarah Haywood has created such a wonderful character in Susan – she is as prickly as the title suggests, and yet you can’t help but be drawn in to her world and by the end of the book you uncover that this cactus really can bloom. I thoroughly enjoyed the insight into Susan’s mind and nature and was torn between whether I loved her or hated her, loving the reactions of those around her who encouraged her to step out of herself and let people in.
A truly heart-warming little story!
4 October 2018
It's never too late to bloom ... People aren't sure what to make of Susan Green - family and colleagues find her prickly and hard to understand, but Susan makes perfect sense to herself.
Age 45, she thinks her life is perfect, as long as she avoids her feckless brother, Edward - a safe distance away in Birmingham. She has a London flat which is ideal for one; a job that suits her passion for logic; and a personal arrangement providing cultural and other, more intimate, benefits.
Yet suddenly faced with the loss of her mother and, implausibly, with the possibility of becoming a mother herself, Susan's greatest fear is being realised: she is losing control. And things can only get worse ... at least in Susan's eyes.
I’ve read many of Jodi Picoult’s previous books so am always eager to get my hands on a new release, and thanks to the publishers for allowing me an advanced review copy of this latest release.
Picoult is never one to shy away from emotive issues and this book is no exception, a shooter has taken hostages in an abortion centre and the police negotiators sister is an injured victim, his daughter a hostage caught up in the ongoing situation. But the book is about more then this situation it’s a revealing look at a series of characters and their connection to the abortion centre, both those in favour and those against the practice, as well as those who are there for very different reasons.
The book is very balanced and doesn’t sway to an opinion on either side of the abortion argument. There are parts of the story where you can’t help but be moved, and there was one particular part where a description left me very unnerved. You’ll find yourself drawn to each characters story and reason for being in the centre on the fateful day and left wondering how the situation will pan out, who will make it out?
There’s also a brilliant twist near the end which I would have liked to have seen more on (but perhaps it’s one for another novel).
Picoult really is a magical weaver of beautiful thought provoking stories!
A Spark of Light
Hodder & Stoughton
30 October 2018
The Center for women's reproductive health offers a last chance at hope - but nobody ends up there by choice.
Its very existence is controversial, and to the demonstrators who barricade the building every day, the service it offers is no different from legalised murder.
Now life and death decisions are being made horrifyingly real: a lone protester with a gun has taken the staff, patients and visitors hostage.
Starting at the tensest moment in the negotiations for their release, A Spark of Light unravels backwards, revealing hour by urgent hour what brought each of these people - the gunman, the negotiator, the doctors, nurses and women who have come to them for treatment - to this point.
And certainties unwind as truths and secrets are peeled away, revealing the complexity of balancing the right to life with the right to choose.
I’d seen this book advertised on my journey to work and was very intrigued, even more so when I heard it had been selected for the Richard & Judy book club, from which I’ve found many a favourite read. So I was very excited when I finally managed to lay my hands on a copy of this book, and I’m pleased to say not disappointed!
Jess and her boyfriend Adam split up a few months after their baby son William was born, following a series of events that showed Adam to be a womaniser who couldn’t make it to the birth of his own son and has spent the last few years lying about where he was that night. But William is now 10 and Jess’ mum is very ill and it is her wish for William to have a relationship with his dad. So this is how it comes to be that William and Jess are off to spend the summer at Adam’s Chateau in France.
From the first moment of being reunited it’s clear that despite the anger Jess has towards Adam there is very much a spark remaining between them, one which she spends a long time fighting against. I don’t want to spoil the plot of this book too much so I won’t post any spoilers in this post other than to say the reason that Jess fights that spark so high isn’t just related to the past events with Adam.
All of the main characters in the book are instantly likeable and there are moments of joy and sorrow as the plot moves on. There are parts near the end of the book where I was genuinely moved to tears. It’s one of those books that does make you think about life and living every moment! 5 out of 5 stars!
You Me Everything
Simon & Schuster UK
26 July 2018
Jess and her ten-year-old son William set off to spend the summer at Château de Roussignol, deep in the rich, sunlit hills of the Dordogne. There, Jess’s ex-boyfriend and William’s father, Adam, runs a beautiful hotel in a restored castle. Jess is bowled over by what Adam has accomplished, but she’s in France for a much more urgent reason: to make Adam connect with his own son. Jess can’t allow Adam to let their son down because she is tormented by a secret of her own, one that nobody - especially William - must discover.
By turns life-affirming, heart-wrenching and joyful, You Me Everything is a novel about one woman's fierce determination to grab hold of the family she has and never let go, and a romantic story as heady as a crisp Sancerre on a summer day.