The Book of Love by Fionnuala Kearney

The Book of Love by Fionnuala Kearney

 

Sr-QHuzS.jpg largePublisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 7th February 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

Genre: General Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

 

Synopsis:

One love. Two people. Twenty Years.

From the moment they met, Erin and Dom loved each other too much, too quickly. Everyone said it wouldn’t last. But they knew differently.

A wedding present, a notebook, brings them together through the good times and the bad. On the blank pages of their love story, they write down everything they can’t always say – the secrets, the heartbreak, the highs and lows. It’s where they see the best and worst of each other.

Falling in love is easy but staying in love is where the story begins…

Rating: five-stars

but-i-needmy-girls

Erin Fitzgerald and Dominic Carter got married in 1996 – they loved each other unconditionally and they’re expecting a baby. Erin’s father gives them a leather bond book – The Book of Love – to write down what they can’t tell each other face to face. Each letter should end with a message of love. They’re sceptical at first but then the book turns out to be pivotal source for their communication, to be a significant part of their lives.

You can’t help but immediately fell for the characters, for their fates, for their feelings, emotions and unconditional love, and so, very quickly, you find yourself on incredible roller coaster ride through their lives, through the years they have to learn by themselves what life really is about. I experienced everything with them, I could feel their pain, hurt, uncertainty, love, hope and grief. The book offers us everything, through ups and downs, screw ups, struggles, heartbreaks and changes in relationships. All the characters are so well fleshed out, they’re not perfect, they’re full of flaws and secrets and they make mistakes but this only make them much more realistic and relatable. They’re simply human – and after reading tons of books in my life I’ve learnt that it doesn’t always work out for authors to create their characters this way, which only made me appreciate them even more. Each character in this book, no matter if the main or the background one, was authentic and genuine, in every detail and every gesture. The relationships between them – and there were plenty of them, not only this of marriage, but also of being a parent, sibling, friend – were real.

The story begins in 2017 and takes us back and forth through years, starting in 1996, and all those years are testimony of love. It moves smoothly between the timelines, and with ease, and there was maybe a moment or two when I shortly felt a little confused but quickly I was finding myself again on track. And I love the way it was written, as it really was full of surprises. When I was thinking that I know where I’m standing, where the story is going, then bang, and it was pushed in totally different direction.

The end made me really tearful. Such love, as this of Erin and Dom, it doesn’t happen often, I think. You can love but there was such a special bond between them, a bond that was palpable through the pages and that I envied them so much. However, this bond doesn’t mean that they didn’t have problems communicating, because they did, there were things they couldn’t tell each other face to face, and here comes The Book of Love, the gift Erin’s father gave them at their wedding. Sometimes it’s hard to speak up, to tell what’s bothering you for fear what the other half may think of you and so Erin and Dom settled to write their deepest, most intimate thoughts in the book for each other. And it turned out to be a cathartic, emotional experience for both of them, and for us, readers, as well. What makes this book so exceptional is the honesty it’s written with. Love is not only bed of roses, love can hurt, love means loss and grief and sadness, and the book mixes those moments perfectly with joy and humour and believe me, no matter how you’re going to feel at the end, how much of a snotty mess you’re going to be, it’ll be an uplifting read that will restore your faith in love and friendship.

Lately we are literally flooded with descriptions of the books that shout “that final twist!” and that usually leave you lukewarm. Probably those that don’t need such kind of advertising, that speak for themselves, are the best kind of twists – here, in this gorgeous story, I haven’t seen the final twist. It just came and hit me hard on my unexpecting head and left me a) speechless and b) in tears – and this is what I call TWIST.

Fionnuala Kearney can write in such a gorgeous way – her writing style is flawless and effortless, of high quality and so chatty that when you start reading you simply can’t put the book away. She captures all the insecurities and fears and the book is going to make you nod with understanding and agreement, to roll your eyes, laugh and cry. She, as not many out there, can describe human nature and the complexity of it with tons of sensitivity and understanding. “The Book of Love” was incredibly beautiful and brutally honest story of love, marriage and family. It has broken my heart, to mend it and to break it again. It was about forgiveness, showing how true love can knit people together in the face of disaster, tragedy but also happiness. Be prepared that you’re going to be emotionally invested from the very beginning till the end. It was powerful and moving, uplifting and heart – breaking, mesmerising and enduring and I raced through the pages, though it is this kind of book that you also don’t want to end. It was a complex and epic tale full of real people, real stories, real feelings. Deep and intelligent and so cleverly written, for sure my certain contender for the best read in 2019. And after reading it. this is what I call book – hangover. I loved it – mightily.

 

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From Mum with Love by Louise Emma Clarke

From Mum with Love by Louise Emma Clarke

 

42291279Publisher: Aria

Publishing Date: 5th February 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 338

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Mum of one, Jess has had enough of endless diaper-filled days and her husband Chris has just the solution to vent her frustrations – a blog.

Jess loves her daughter more than anything, but sometimes she just wants a little bit of freedom – some time for herself. Cue a laptop, a glass of wine and the beginning of a life-changing journey.

Overnight Jess’s inbox is full of notifications and before long she is officially a ‘mummy blogger’ but this new life comes with its own set of rules and regulations. With Queen of the Bloggers, Tiggy, blanking her in public, people recognizing her on the street and her life decisions suddenly judged by strangers Jess’s idea of ‘me time’ is slowly becoming a full-time job.

Will Jess be able to find the right life/work balance? Or will she wish she’d never turned to a world online?

From the award-winning blogger behind ‘Mum of Boys & Mabel’.

Rating: three-stars

Jess is a stay at home mum to a 14 – months – old daughter. She enjoys her maternity leave but also she realises that she needs something more than that, she needs inspiration and fulfilment. The fact that her husband is working full – time and almost never there doesn’t help. So when he encourages her to type the letters she has written to their daughter since she was born and create a blog, she gives it a thought and then a try. Quickly, she’s overwhelmed by the response and starts to gain the internet fame and followers – but also enemies.

Since I’m a mum myself, I found myself enjoying books with “Mummy” in the title, and about parenthood generally speaking, and this is why “From Mum with Love” caught my eye on NetGalley. Although, of course, you don’t have to be a mum to read this book, oh no! This book is a great, relatable and genuine read – however, I had huge problems with Jessica. She was mostly behaving like a spoiled child and I couldn’t help but wonder how come her husband bears with her. You know, blogging is not everything – or maybe it is, if you are relying on paid co – operations etc and the number of followers is what matters to you – and I’ve learnt long, long time ago that as much as I love blogging and writing about books, I do have a real life, you know, and it is much more worth to me than an odd negative comment. On one hand, Jessica was trying to stay down – to – earth, not let blogging to overwhelm her but on the other she was like a child that was refused a new toy and was presenting us with the biggest tantrum in the world, if something went wrong or differently to what she’s planned. Also, the number of followers sky – rocketing after one post, everybody ecstatic with the blog, awards, advertising happening immediately… I mean, hello? Being always unfair to her husband, taking it out on him, being angry that not everyone else in the blogging community is welcoming her with open arms, that not everybody adores her… Well, that’s life for you, right? I think that the subplot with her sister was much more interesting and I’d love for it to be more developed. But on the other hand, Jess was also a normal woman, just like you and me and had to face the same problems as other people. Her three friends, who we get to know in the story as well, were a breath of fresh air and I really loved them and their interactions.
I totally enjoyed Jess’s letters to her little daughter – they were poignant and moving, and so very honest, capturing all the highs and lows of being a new mum. Also the problems Jess had – apart those brought forth by the blog, of course, as they were simply too shallow for me – sound true to life and realistic.

My problems aside, it was a lovely, and also brutally honest story about being a new parent, and I could easily relate to Jessica and her observations. You know, such books are important, I think, because they show that you’re not the only one thinking/feeling like this – especially when you don’t have any support or just feel uneasy. There are not perfect mothers, no matter what, all of us have better and worse days and hats off to Louise Emma Clarke for telling how it really is. It is about learning what’s really important in life, about ups and downs of parenthood, about how important it is to be honest and to share but also about how to keep your identity, how to stay yourself after such a big change as becoming a baby.

 

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

The Silent Patient by Alex Michealides

 

41601079Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 7th February 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 352

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover

 

Synopsis:

Only she knows what happened.
Only I can make her speak.

**************

I love him so totally, completely, sometimes it threatens to overwhelm me.
Sometimes I think-
No. I won’t write about that.

ALICIA
Alicia Berenson writes a diary as a release, an outlet – and to prove to her beloved husband that everything is fine. She can’t bear the thought of worrying Gabriel, or causing him pain.

Until, late one evening, Alicia shoots Gabriel five times and then never speaks another word.

THEO
Forensic psychotherapist Theo Faber is convinced he can successfully treat Alicia, where all others have failed. Obsessed with investigating her crime, his discoveries suggest Alicia’s silence goes far deeper than he first thought.

And if she speaks, would he want to hear the truth?

Rating: three-stars

 

In “The Silent Patient”, “Sold in 35 territories, film rights snapped up by an Oscar winning production company, and rave blurbs from David Baldacci, Lee Child, A.J. Finn, Joanne Harris and Black Crouch, THE SILENT PATIENT promises to be the debut thriller of 2019” . (publisher) the main character Alicia Berenson is accused of murdering her husband and confined. She spends her sentence in The Grove, a mental care facility for highly dangerous people. After the murder Alicia, a promising painter, stops speaking – not a single word leaves her mouth. Theo Faber is a psychotherapist, somehow obsessed with Alicia and her case. He’s desperate to work with her, to bring her to speak again, to solve the mystery behind her husband’s murder, and so he transfers to The Grove and starts Alicia’s therapy. Will he bring her to speaking? Will the murder’s mystery be solved?

The book introduces us to a bunch of characters but I haven’t felt connection to them, to be honest. I also had a feeling that they’re not well enough developed to get to know them. It is mostly told from Theo’s point of view, occasionally alternating with Alicia’s diary entries. Alicia has been a very promising and already successful artist and her husband Gabriel a photographer. Throughout the book we get some snippets into their life together but I wouldn’t say there is enough information for us to understand why Alicia would/should have murdered him. However, she was convicted – in something that really didn’t feel like a serious trial – because she was found at the scene, with a gun in her hand, covered in blood because she had slit her wrists. Theo behaves like a detective and a miracle – worker in one, looking into her past, interfering with her family and friends, trying to piece together her life, to understand what has happened.

I also think we aren’t given a chance to have an opinion about Alicia – she doesn’t speak, the short diary entries don’t really tell us much about her and mostly all that we know about her comes from Theo and from those he discusses Alicia’s life with, so it’s basically only assumptions.

And so here we are again, with the book I’ve heard about for the first time probably a long time ago. The advertising campaign was absolutely brilliant, it’s impossible to be a book blogger and not being able to know about “The Silent Patient”, but also done in a way that made me feel there are better book bloggers and worse book bloggers, but it’s probably an issue for a separate post. As might be expected, I was desperate – simply desperate – to read this novel, especially after hearing such brilliant things about it from the fellow bloggers. Well, so many people can’t be wrong, right. I think it wouldn’t be an understatement to say that “The Silent Patient” was one of my few most anticipated books for 2019. This all, put together, simply put the book under a great deal of pressure to be honest, and me as well, because I felt as if I must love it. Well, I liked it, but it left me feeling lukewarm. It didn’t wow me. This whole book was actually depending on the final twist that happens at the very end of the story – the twist that you know is going to happen, everybody hints at it, every blurb and review, and so you’re waiting and waiting, and then, well… It happens. Yes, the whole book was really well written, the author tried to pool wool over our eyes adding some new information that made me ask myself and casting negative suspicions at other characters, there was tension and suspense, so theoretically there was everything, preparing you for this huge grande finale. Probably, if I weren’t reading so many brilliant psychological thrillers/mysteries, I’d appreciate “The Silent Patient” much more but I must be already spoiled, and I’ve simply had a feeling that well, I’ve been there, I’ve seen this, it was already done numerous times. Book, to blow me away, must have more than one twist at the end and it has to have a strong, incontestable plot.

But please, please, please do not feel put out by my thoughts! The author is really talented, he has a great way with words and his writing style is absolutely easy to follow, it’s also gripping and it kept me glued to the pages, I simply wanted to read this book. He for sure knows how to tackle the heavier issues, such as mental heath and the care of it, people’s personalities – all kinds of them – relationships, and he easily gets into his characters’ heads. I’m already looking towards his next novel.

 

Dear Rosie Hughes by Melanie Hudson

Dear Rosie Hughes by Melanie Hudson

 

42111683Publisher: HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 1st February 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 226

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 07.02.2019)

 

Synopsis:

A long lost friendship reconnected in letters, laughs and unforgettable life lessons…

Jojo Moyes meets The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society in this powerfully moving novel!

The best friendships are worth fighting for…

It’s been fifteen years since Aggie’s friendship with Rosie Hughes ended abruptly. But now she’s heard from the village rumour mill that Rosie is off to war, she knows her best friend needs her more than ever – despite what’s happened between them in the past.

As Rosie faces a desert full of danger and Aggie falls further from the path to love she’ so wants, the two friends write each other letters.

The comfort in their shared words is an anchor to the life they knew before…and the only constant in a world as increasingly unpredictable as the wind.

Rating: four-stars

 

Rosie and Aggie used to be best friends but then fell out of touch after something happened before they went to university. Fast forward 15 years and Rosie signs up to go to the Persian Gulf as a meteorologist and Aggie is a ghost author, suffering from a writer’s block. The two women start to write to each other and in a series of letters and emails we can see the strength of their friendship, as they explore their dreams, hopes and regrets.

I absolutely adored the way the book was written. The letters were sometimes able to tell us more than a conversation, the characters opened much more on the pages than face to face and it made the reading so captivating and interesting. The two main characters were totally different but it was easy to see why they used to be best friends, and also why they lost touch. Rosie’s relationship with her parents was beautiful and I loved their letters to each other, and how they tried to protect the other one. We see Rosie, after all the drama in her life, adapting to her new life in the desert, watching the results of war and the horrors of it. Aggie is the larger than life in this friendship, has brilliant sense of humour and doesn’t treat herself too seriously and is not afraid to laugh at herself. Her dating adventures were hilarious. But there was also a hidden depth to her, the other side – the vulnerable one. She was colourful and there was nothing stopping her, while Rosie wanted just to blend in – but it doesn’t mean that she wasn’t a great character, because she was. Learning about her life, of her losses, of everything that happened to her was heart – breaking. There were of course other lovely characters – Gethyn, Rosie’s parents, Aggies’s new friends at the cafe – even though they were not completely introduced to us, I still had a feeling that I know them, that they are simply good people. They all added tons of depth and humour to the story.

The letters between the characters were mostly short but they contained all the information that we needed, and the informal way of them made the book so easy to read and – actually – really chatty. You don’t always need all the details, I liked that there was room for imagination left to us. The author writes in such a way that you can identify with all the feelings and emotions the characters experience. You feel pain, fear, hope and joy – it is so perfectly captured.

So now. My problem. I loved this book, it was beautiful. Until almost the end. But at the end the author has made a decision that I’ve simply couldn’t agree with – it was a “no” from me. If I were a “normal” reader, and not a reviewer, who also appreciates thousands of other details that made me fell in love with this book, I probably wouldn’t give the book the 4 stars – it would be much, much less, simply because I can’t agree with the decision. I know it wasn’t my decision but still, it crushed me. It left me in pieces. For me, it wasn’t necessary. I appreciate it but don’t understand it. Now I’m going to shut up. But let me repeat that it was a beautiful, poignant, moving story about love, friendship and family, about new beginnings and second chances. About the value of friendship, about making the most of every day. It was charming and emotional, full of different kinds of feelings and emotions and I adored it. Highly recommended!

 

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

The Hunting Party by Lucy Foley

 

cover145117-mediumPublisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 24th January 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 394

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery & Thrillers

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 19.09.2019)

 

Synopsis:

Everyone’s invited…everyone’s a suspect…

For fans of Ruth Ware and Tana French, a shivery, atmospheric, page-turning novel of psychological suspense in the tradition of Agatha Christie, in which a group of old college friends are snowed in at a hunting lodge . . . and murder and mayhem ensue.

All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.

During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.

They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.

Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.

The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.

Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.

Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close?

Rating: three-stars

 

“The Hunting Party” – and what a phenomenal title this is! – introduces us to a group of thirty – something close friends from Oxford University, who, after their degrees, stayed in touch and made it a tradition to spend time together. This time they gather over the New Year period at a secluded lodge in Scottish Highlands. On New Year’s Day though, the manager of the estate and the gamekeeper discover that one of the guests is missing and is then found dead. It quickly becomes clear that it was not an accident, that a murder has been committed. The place is closed off the world because of the snowstorms, the police can’t arrive and there is a killer among the guests – what’s going to happen now? Are they save?

I’ve been keeping seeing “The Hunting Party” everywhere, guys, everywhere, and well, yes, this whole hype made me desperate to read this book. Add to this the brilliant, chilling premise and I thought, yes, it’s going to be THIS read. Yes, I’m rather careful with books being advertised in such a way because I am always scared that they’re not going to live up to my expectations, as I think that you can expect something really amazing from them but as lately I’ve been rather lucky and so I started to read this book without any trepidation.
And I kept reading, kept reading and reading, finished the book and thought, and? Is this it? Where is the wow? Sadly, it didn’t take me by surprise. Sadly, I didn’t love it as much as I thought I’m going to. There were all the signals it could be a brilliant read. The setting for example, could you imagine a better setting for a psychological thriller than this remote and desolate exclusive hunting lodge, snowed in, next to a loch somewhere deep in Scottish Highlands? Brilliant, no? Also the way it was written, starting with the information that one of the guest has been found murdered, and then going back and forth over the few days revealing all the facts, interactions and dynamics between the characters should make it tense and on the edge, don’t you think? But then came the characters, and as this story was very character – driven they were the make or break of the book. For me, unfortunately, the break. In the end I simply couldn’t care less who’s been murdered and why because all of them somehow deserved this fate and they simply wasn’t worth saving. We have Emma, a relative newbie to the group and hence desperate to prove that she deserves to be their friend, to fit in, Mark’s girlfriend, and who has organized the trip this time. Mark turns out to be a little on the aggressive side – not that he’s aggressive towards Emma but there is this dark side to him. Miranda is the most beautiful, the most attention seeking, the most popular among the group, though she’s also probably the most spoiled and unpleasant but together with Julian, the good looking and successful one they seem to make the perfect power couple. Samira and Giles are married and arrive with their 6 – months – old daughter Priya, though you can’t tell more about them, to be honest, except that they seem to not coping too well with being newly parents. Nick has been in a long – term relationship with Bo, who has a history of being a drug – addict. And the only single among them, the power London lawyer Katie, who’s hiding a secret and has been Miranda’s best friend since schooldays, but recently they don’t see each other too often. There is also the addiction of the other guest at the lodge, two Icelanders, and of course we have Heather, the manager, with her own dramas and traumas, and Doug, the gamekeeper, an ex – marine, suffering from PTSD. Interesting group, no? Well, not so. And between the partying, hunting, drinking and drugs it quickly becomes clear that perhaps they aren’t as close – knit as we were supposed to think, and more and more secrets and lies come to light. Until the day when one of the guest is found dead. Murdered.

I am very, very sad that this story didn’t deliver for me. The pace of the book was slowed down by the very detailed descriptions of the lodge, the place, the food and clothes which – of course very vivid and almost poetically written – didn’t add much to the main plot. Also, maybe because of the writing style, I found it a little disengaging and cold. Whilst I absolutely loved the setting and the brilliantly captured, chilling atmosphere it was still too little to save the book for me, to make me emotionally involved. This dual timeline was also brilliantly written by the author, she didn’t give too much and yet tried to whet my appetite to find out what has happened, and it would work if it weren’t for this group of those petty characters. However, “The Hunting Party” was brilliantly observant. The author explores the dynamics of friendship, digs deep into them, revealing what’s really hidden under the surface – all the murky, dark secrets and lies. Lucy Folley has an incredible talent to capture all the details and nuances and the chilling atmosphere full of uncertainty and insecurity. So if you’re into reading about dysfunctional group of characters, into some mystery and psychological games this is a book for you.

 

Love Heart Lane by Christie Barlow

Love Heart Lane by Christie Barlow

 

cover150410-mediumPublisher: HarperImpulse

Publishing Date: 11th January 2019

Series: Love Heart Lane #1

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages:

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle

 

Synopsis:

Welcome to Love Heart Lane…

When Flick Simons returns to the small village of Heartcross she only expected to stay for a few days. The white-washed cottages of Love Heart Lane might be her home, but the place holds too many painful memories, and of one man in particular – Fergus Campbell.

When a winter storm sweeps in, the only bridge connecting the village to the main land is swept away! As the villagers pull together, Flick finds herself welcomed back by the friends she once left behind. And as the snow begins to melt, maybe there is a chance that Fergus’s heart will thaw too…

Rating: three-stars

Felicity Simons returns home to the Scottish Highlands after 8 years. Her departure was, in retrospect, very sudden and she burned a few bridges, to be honest. So it’s not a wonder that her return, that was prompted by her beloved grandma’s death, is not very welcome, especially by the one person that she cares about – and it’s the person she’s broken his heart. Felicity has a lot of fences to mend, especially with her friends, who couldn’t understand why she didn’t stay in touch with them. Being back, Felicity quickly realises that her hearts belong again to Heartcross. But will she be given a second chance?

There is a lot happening in Love Heart Lane for such a small place but I adored this village. The setting was beautifully idyllic but also dangerous, and so different. I’ve been reading the book at the same time when here, not far from where I live, there were incredibly heavy snowfalls, and the catastrophe alarm has already been introduced, so it was easy to imagine how Love Heart Lane looked like.

There is a whole cats of characters in the novel, and they are all lovely, warm and welcoming, probably sometimes too lovely, the small conflicts and misunderstandings weren’t too twisty. But the author for sure knows how to bring them all to life, and she brilliantly described how easily they all pulled together at the time of crisis. And I really liked the gang, the way their friendship survived, the way how they were around each other.

It was an absolutely lovely, nice read guys, that started in such a brilliant way. I thought, yes, I’m really into something great. And it was still an absolutely lovely, nice read until we reached the moment with the bridge. As of this moment I couldn’t stand Felicity. I know she was the main character but I had a feeling that every second word is either Felicity or Flick. Felicity this, Flick that. And of course Felicity was everywhere and she was able to do anything, starting with helping by the labour, through being chosen unanimously as a spokesperson for the village, finding Esme (of course!!!), finding herself in all the crucial moments in the right places and organizing everything smoothly and hassle – free. Well, I think I could take it but not the way she was crowding Fergus and his family – because it felt like this. I was wondering, hell, woman, who has given you the right to act like this? To decide over Fergus’s will? To impose yourself? To not give him a choice? Those things simply annoyed me, spoiled the book for me and made me not to really care about the characters and what’s going to happen. It was also impossible not to spot what was in the heart of the book: community, because it was also mentioned on every second page. I love books where the community feeling is so brilliantly overwhelming, where people support each other, but I also like to deduce it by myself, I don’t need to have it all the time mentioned. But yes, I liked how close knit the villagers were and how the pub and the tea shop were the places to be, to meet and to enjoy the company.

So really, if it weren’t for Felicity, I think I would totally adore this book. Shame. However, I am in minority here, guys, as all the other reviewers are RAVING about this book, so no matter what please do not feel put out by me and simply read this novel. It’s light – hearted and fast – paced and if you’re like this kind of read it’ll give you the warm fuzzies. The narrative flows and it’s very easy to read. And the cover is simply gorgeous! It deserves a standing ovation.

 

Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

 

34109621Publisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 1st January 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 315

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 07.03.2019)

 

Synopsis:

Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to rise again…

The hilarious new heartbreaker from Mhairi McFarlane!

If there’s one thing worse than being fired from the grottiest restaurant in town, it’s coming home early to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else.

Reeling from the indignity of a double dumping on the same day, Georgina snatches at the next job that she’s offered – barmaid in a newly opened pub, which just so happens to run by the boy she fell in love with at school: Lucas McCarthy. And whereas Georgina (voted Most Likely to Succeed in her school yearbook) has done nothing but dead-end jobs in the last twelve years, Lucas has not only grown into a broodingly handsome man, but also has turned into an actual grown-up with a business and a dog along the way.

Meeting Lucas again not only throws Georgina’s rackety present into sharp relief, but also brings a dark secret from her past bubbling to the surface. Only she knows the truth about what happened on the last day of school, and why she’s allowed it to chase her all these years…

Rating: four-stars

 

Georgina is working in probably the worst Italian restaurant in Sheffield, has a narcissistic boyfriend, a patronising family that doesn’t understand her life choices, a housemate from hell, and then she’s not only unfairly sacked from her job but also finds her boyfriend in a very unambiguous situation with his PA. And this is when she’s thought things couldn’t get possibly any worse… But at last luck seems to be on her side when she gets an unexpected job offer at a newly refurbished pub, run by the brilliant Dev. However, then she meets Dev’s brother, and business partner, Lucas – her first ever love. She immediately recognizes him, but he doesn’t remember her. Or maybe he doesn’t WANT to remember her?

I think Georgina, as a main character, may trigger mixed feelings but I liked her. She was funny and sharp and relatable and her life was so full of problems: she loved being a waitress, even if she was working at the worst place possible so when she’s fired, in front of the full restaurant, she’s truly shocked. She feels comfortable with her boyfriend but then she discovers something and even though she’s so right about her decision he doesn’t want to let her go. Her flatmate seems to hate her, leaving her passive – aggressive notes and her step – father also seems to hate her, and for sure he doesn’t appreciate her, and so on, and so on. So really, to be honest, nothing comes easy to her. But I loved the fact that she never gave up, that she tried to process her dramas and, despite all of the troubles, she’s happy with her life. – even though she sometimes felt like a failure, sometimes didn’t know what to do with herself and her life. The continuous reminders of her being thirty and that perhaps it’s really time to slow down and do something useful (ie. get married and start to produce children) also didn’t help. But she was strong, she had great friends and she never gave up, and this is why I liked her so much. Of course, there is still some self – doubt but on the whole she was more or less happy with this what she had and she felt comfortable in her own skin.

The romance aspect was, in fact, the background story – it was Georgina’s tale, and I loved it that way, though, I must admit, Lucas was absolutely, totally delicious. Yes, let’s swoon a little about Lucas. Sigh. I simply adored him, even with him blowing hot and cold. The younger Lucas, the one that was Georgina’s boyfriend, came across as absolutely brilliant, responsible and honest teenager while the older one seemed much more moodier but there is a reason to this, oh yes, there is. But let’s put the moods aside, guys, he was simply perfect. And had a dog Keith – what more would you need, right?
Those were actually the characters that made the book so outstanding, I think. They were all so brilliantly developed and full of personality and even if they were absolutely unlikeable – yes, I’m looking at you, Geoffrey, you little toad – you had to appreciate how much work went into all of them, how realistic they all felt. They were strong, not too meh, complex and complicated, just like they should be.

The family dynamics in the story were so well captured! My heart broken at Georgina’s attempts to hide the truth from her mother and sister and, as it turned out, they wanted to do the same. Also, at the fact that she still couldn’t process her dad’s death, at the guilty feeling she was still having – she really had a heart in the right place. The descriptions of the dysfunctional family from Georgina’s childhood were so realistic and plausible, as well as the family from her present days – the meetings at her sister’s were hilarious, especially when we think about the grandmother Nana Hogg, and also full of hurt, pain and bad feelings.

Sure, there were also some things that felt undone or ended abruptly, or too conventionally, like with the short drama with the diary, I’d love a little more depth and development in the Georgina and Lucas’s relationship but they were only small bumps on the otherwise smooth journey but on the whole the book was written in a very easy to read, flowing style that I enjoyed very much. The plot was relatively simple but Mhairi McFarlane’s take on it simply brilliant. There were moments that it felt predictable, the will they/won’t they were there but it was written in such a refreshing, engaging way that it truly didn’t bother me. The events felt so natural, the pace was just spot on, the romance was well developed and I literally raced through this book. The humour there was just my kind of humour, I loved Georgina’s sharp tongue and her one – liners and the banter was witty and warm. It was a perfect mix of laugh, tears, heartbreak and hope. There was much more to this book that you could initially think. It’s about not allowing others to put you down, about raising above, about getting over your old demons. A hilarious novel with an unexpected depth to it, story about second chances, coming to terms with your past and growing to value yourself. There are some very strong messages in this book, wrapped up amongst the laughs so if you’re looking for a light, heart – warming story that will make you think as well, don’t hesitate and treat yourself to “Don’t You Forget About Me” – highly recommended!