The Little Pieces of You and Me by Vanessa Greene
Publishing Date: 11th August 2016
Source: Received from the publisher, thank you!
Number of pages: 374
Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)
When life as you know it changes, will it define you, destroy you or make you stronger?
Best friends Isla and Sophie made each other a promise a long time ago: to never let life pass them by. Years later, Isla is in love, living abroad and fulfilling her dreams. But for Sophie, things haven’t turned out the way she was expecting and she hasn’t achieved any of the things she and Isla talked about. And then, in one sudden moment, life irrevocably changes for both women.
Isla and Sophie have hard decisions to make but above all else they must face up to the uncertainty that lies ahead. It’s only when they realise that this is easier together, two friends standing side by side, that each woman can embrace whatever the future holds for them.
I’ve read and adored Vanessa Greene’s previous books, so it is no wonder that I was waiting impatiently for her new release. Ms Greene’s stories always took me on a beautiful journeys full of friendship, lovely characters and some kind of magic. This time the book takes us to many different places, and one of them is beautiful Holland, that I personally totally adore, so for me there couldn’t be a better setting! Holland with its channels, bicycles, friendly people and gorgeous, cosy shops, and I’ve got this all! However, the cover of “The Little Pieces of You and Me”, as well as its synopsis, are a little different in style to the previous novels and it made me wonder if I am for a big change?
The story follows two best friends, Sophie and Isla. Life has thrown them to different places and different life styles but no matter what, the girls are there for each other and they still share a very strong bond. As teenagers, they wrote a list of things they’d love to complete and as the lists are incidentally found, Isla wants to complete it by all means. However, as it usually happens, life gets in the way in the most unwanted way and she hears some very bad news.
I really liked the friendship between Sophie and Isla, even though sometimes I had a feeling that from Sophie’s side it takes on really extreme height and that she’s able to sacrifice her own family to stand by Isla. I admire that, of course, and I know that such a friend should be treasured but at the beginning it seemed a little weird to me. Later on my opinion changed, of course, but it resulted from the events but at the beginning it did wonder me a little – you know, I am THERE for my friends but I also know that I have a family and sometimes you just have to prioritise. On the other hand, there was nothing spectacular happening in Sophie’s marriage that you could say her husband needed her much more than Isla. But the friendship was beautiful, not spoiled, it was genuine and honest.
Everything was on the same level in this novel and I just had a feeling it is written through rose – coloured spectacles – everything always ended well and even the problems that the characters had seemed to be not so problematic for them, even if they were life – changing So sadly, I liked Ms Greene’s previous books much more. “The Little Pieces of You and Me” was for me too clichéd, too obvious, and it lacked in action. I wanted to love this book, I was so excited first when I’ve heard it’s going to be published soon and then when I knew my copy is on its way to me and started to read it as soon as it arrived. However, I was struggling with the story from the very beginning and it didn’t get better for me. I don’t know if the author wanted to try something different to her previous books, if she wanted to try a new path in her writing, as the book is very different to the books with the lovely tea – cups on their covers, and it is great, but sadly it didn’t work for me. I don’t want to sound ungrateful or too harsh but the story didn’t move me. We have a girl there that has just found out she’s seriously ill and usually, when we have such situations in the stories, the characters do something, change their life. Sure, Isla was trying, she had a bucket list that she wanted to finish so much – but on the other hand, there was nothing so very spectacular or original on this list as well. Yes, I know the author wanted to show how people deal with such unexpected news, how they try to cope with those news and the illness, but it all felt too flat and just so not finished, you know? Isla didn’t get into anything too deeply and I just had a feeling that many things started but didn’t finish and altogether, all the events, all the things that happened felt undeveloped.
Altogether, it is a lovely, brave story about courage, friendship and hope and even though I had some issues I think it had a great potential and I felt a part of this story (even when I didn’t feel this extra connection to the characters – it must be the brilliant Vanessa Greene’s writing style that just draws you in), as if it was a little piece (YES!) of my own life. The element of the illness takes the story on a higher, deeper level, more darker but it also deals with the usual elements: relationships, families, broken hearts. So really, the story has all what I’ve expected from Vanessa Greene – a beautiful setting and an interesting, promising plot with very human leading characters that have some battles to do but never lose hope. And there was incredible potential in this plot however it didn’t deliver for me. I just found this story to lack something and all the time I was waiting for something to enchant me in the same way as Ms Greene’s other stories. So altogether, it was a nice read but I was expecting much more from it.