How Not To Be A Loser by Beth Moran

How Not To Be A Loser by Beth Moran

 

Publisher: Boldwood Books 52652899._sy475_

Publishing Date: 24th March 2020

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

Number of pages: 346

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Amy Piper is a loser. She’s lost her confidence, her mojo and her way.

But one thing she has never lost is her total love for her thirteen-year-old son Joey, and for his sake she knows it’s time for a change. But first she has to be brave enough to leave the house…

What she needs are friends and an adventure. And when she joins a running group of women who call themselves The Larks, she finds both. Not to mention their inspiring (and rather handsome) coach, Nathan.

Once upon a time Amy was a winner – at life, at sport and in love. Now, with every ounce of strength she has left, she is determined to reclaim the life she had, for herself and for Joey. And who knows, she might just be a winner again – at life, sport, and love, if she looks in the right places…

Uplifting, funny and unforgettable, Beth Moran returns with a joyous tale of friendship, love and facing your fears. 

Rating: five-stars

 

Amy Piper has it all.
Or rather, Amy Piper had it all. Her number one priority used to be to win swimming race after another.
Fourteen years later, Amy is agoraphobic, battling anxiety disorders, not having been able to leave her house since several years. But she wants to be a better mother to her 13 – year – old son Joey, to be able to go out and see him winning swimming race after another, to take him to swimming practice, to be involved in outside world. She wants him to be proud of her, and so she decides to put a plan into action – this is how “How Not to be a Loser” plan commences. But is such a written deal all what it takes to overcome fear?

So, I’m not sure why but it was really hard for me to get into the book. I kept glancing at the cover to see if it is really Beth Moran’s novel because, well, I’ve never had such problems before with her story, and I really started to get worried. I couldn’t connect with the main character, I couldn’t get into the story and I started to feel desperate because I couldn’t understand why. It took me long, longer than I was expecting, to completely warm to the story and to get into Amy’s head. To be honest, it was over the 50% mark that the story started to flow for me, that it gained the pace and it’s only then that I started to feel the tale, and then – well, then I couldn’t put it down. I wanted to know where the story is going to take me, wanted to know more, and well, I was simply rooting for Amy.

The way the author has got into Amy’s head and described her emotional journey is absolutely incredible. Amy has lost so much in her life, it was really heart – breaking to see, and now all these anxiety issues are controlling her life as well. She feels angry with herself that she isn’t able to share the most important moments with Joey, that this anger is not enough for her to do something. It is going to take a lot of time and help of many people, and many rules broken for her to be able to finally move on, and it was so, so uplifting to see, you will really want to give Amy a standing ovation. I loved to discover what Amy has hidden inside herself, seeing her growing into confidence, laughing at her jokes, applauding at every step she took towards overcoming her fears, enjoying her one – liners. You can’t not to fall for Amy, it’s simple like that, and you’ll want all the best for her. I loved how un – selfish she was, how – even if it was so hard to her – she always tried to find the best solution, how fair she tried to stay no matter what.
Her relationship with Joey was perfect, and this how, for his sake, she decided to overcome her fears was inspiring and huge.

The characters were absolutely fantastic, so real and true to life, with their troubles and problems and all the ups and downs that life brings.The great support network that Amy has built for herself was one of the highlights of the book. The characters brought so much to the story, not only fun and humour, but also depth, as all of them had their own important story to tell – stories that were thought – provoking and heart – breaking. Their shenanigans were something that made me laugh out loud, and their problems made me cry together with them. There was so much understanding and empathy in all those women, and it was so uplifting to see they were there for each other, no matter what.

Beth Moran has such wonderful way with words and can brilliantly write about feelings, without making the book too patronising or repetitive. She brings compassion, empathy, friendship to the pages, and she has so much understanding for her characters. “How Not to be a Loser” is an inspirational story that will make you want to put on your trainers and go for a run. It is about second chances, friendship, love and hope, hilarious and thought – provoking, and even with some of my initial issues with the book I ended loving it with all my heart. Highly recommended!

 

Grown Ups by Marian Keyes

Grown Ups by Marian Keyes

 

Publisher: Michael Joseph 43779862

Publishing Date: 6th February 2020

Source:  Purchased

Number of pages: 656

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

They’re a glamorous family, the Caseys.

Johnny Casey, his two brothers Ed and Liam, their beautiful, talented wives and all their kids spend a lot of time together – birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weekends away. And they’re a happy family. Johnny’s wife, Jessie – who has the most money – insists on it.

Under the surface, though, conditions are murkier. While some people clash, other people like each other far too much . . .

Everything stays under control until Ed’s wife Cara, gets concussion and can’t keep her thoughts to herself. One careless remark at Johnny’s birthday party, with the entire family present, starts Cara spilling out all their secrets.

In the subsequent unravelling, every one of the adults finds themselves wondering if it’s time – finally – to grow up?

Rating: five-stars

 

“Grown Ups” introduces us to the life of Casey Family, three brothers with their wives and assorted children. There is Johnny, the good – looking one, married to the powerhouse Jessie who has two children from her previous marriage to Johnny’s best friend, and now her and Johnny have three children of their own. Jessie is the one running the most successful business and taking care of the family’s get – togethers, funding all the trips and other holidays. Ed is married to Cara. Cara works at the Ardglass Hotel and she’s the one looking after all of the tricky guests. They have two children and Cara herself has a huge problem. And there is Liam, the youngest one, a famous runner once, divorced and with two little girls, who has now married for the second time – the lovely Nell, free – spirited and artistic, and who now starts to discover that maybe she doesn’t love Liam as much as she has thought?
The book opens at one of the family’s get – togethers, Johnny’s birthday, shortly after Cara’s concussion – as a result she starts to reveal all the hidden secrets and truths that are going to rock many, many lives…

After the introduction – that is truly promising – the narrative goes back six months, and slowly takes us back to the starting point, i.e. to Johnny’s birthday, where everything began, to bring us back to present – but before we arrive there, there is a long and bumpy road, full of secrets, uncomfortable truths, hilarious and poignant moments.

What Marian Keyes can do perfectly well is to create her characters. They are full of flaws, with secrets and telling lies, they are dysfunctional but they feel human, realistic and believable. They make mistakes, they follow their instincts but the things that make them tick, that drive their actions are absolutely believable – and I think this is what makes them feel so special yet so normal.
While right at the beginning I felt really overwhelmed with the number of characters, and the family tree at the beginning of the book didn’t help, moreover, it has somehow complicated everything even more, I relatively quickly came to terms with who is who and to whom they belong and what is their background story. It takes time, but it is a huge book, and I enjoyed this pace, with the author giving me the chance to really get to know each of the characters.

The author really knows how to create relatable, deep characters that have their own distinctive voices. I think it is done deliberately that truly the children are more grown – up as the adults there, putting them in the right place every now and again, showing them they need to face the reality and truth, to take responsibility. I loved the way they were forced to stop messing around and really embrace their problems, through Cara having a concussion and starting to tell things how they really are – brilliant idea, and such a breath of fresh air.

This book was an epic family saga, digging deep into the shambled relationships and lives, telling things how they really are. I really liked the depth and details of every relationship and of every character life, it may not be a thing for every single reader, but I truly appreciated and enjoyed it. The length and depth the author went to describe the individual members of the family, dig behind the harmonious facade and reveal all the tension, resentment and secrets was exceptional and worked perfectly well. The author has brilliantly balanced sadness with humour, poignant moments with wit and sarcasm, and I loved this mix. She also has this incredible talent to easily pull you into the characters’ worlds. “Grown Ups” was a book touching upon so many issues – mental health, addiction, love, hate, grief, hope, love, secrets and family dynamics. Highly recommended!

Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior / Blog Tour

Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior

 

Publisher: Bantam Press cover180579-medium

Publishing Date: 19th March 2020

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

Number of pages: 352

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 12.11.2020)

 

 

Synopsis:

Veronica McCreedy is about to have the journey of a lifetime . . .

Veronica McCreedy lives in a mansion by the sea. She loves a nice cup of Darjeeling tea whilst watching a good wildlife documentary. And she’s never seen without her ruby-red lipstick.

Although these days Veronica is rarely seen by anyone because, at 85, her days are spent mostly at home, alone.

She can be found either collecting litter from the beach (‘people who litter the countryside should be shot’), trying to locate her glasses (‘someone must have moved them’) or shouting
instructions to her assistant, Eileen (‘Eileen, door!’).

Veronica doesn’t have family or friends nearby. Not that she knows about, anyway . . . And she has no idea where she’s going to leave her considerable wealth when she dies.

But today . . . today Veronica is going to make a decision that will change all of this.

Rating:  five-stars

 

Veronica McCreedy is 86, wealthy, living in a mansion in Ayrshire. She’s divorced and except for Eileen, her housekeeper, she has no – one. But she loves her Darjeeling tea, hates doors being left open and adores wildlife documentaries on TV. She has built a wall around herself but now, contemplating her life and wondering what to do with her money, she discovers there is a grandson, Patrick, living in Bolton. But as the first contact is rather disappointing, Veronica sets her mind on saving penguins and travel to Antarctica. But who is going to save whom? Veronica penguins or penguins Veronica?

I wanted to read this book so much not because – like so many of the other reviewers – of the penguins, though I must admit that it was also a very catchy angle, and if you think that the penguins are used as a metaphor or something, well, no, there are cute penguins overload, and I think it’s a brilliant idea! – so yes, maybe because of the penguins as well, but I also loved Hazel’s debut novel. I actually rated it with 5 stars, so am not sure what to do with this book as I enjoyed it even more than “Ellie and the Harpmaker”.

The story is told through Veronica and Patrick’s points of view, and the characters slowly but steadily grew on me, especially Patrick that, I must admit, probably misjudged a bit. Veronica was a brilliant character, a woman who really knew what she wanted. She was feisty, determined, persistent and actually very stubborn but in a way that was not so obvious. I mean, it was obvious that she’s stubborn, and she always got what she wanted, but she accomplished those things with a lot of charm. Oh well, OK then, she did whatever it took to get ahead but she didn’t hurt anybody, even if she took no notice of others’ opinions. It was simply somehow funny.
Throughout the story we also learn about Veronica’s past and see what it was that shaped her and made her the person she is now – lonely and harsh in judging. But she used to be so full of life and joy, and it was heart – breaking to see what has happened to her. However, deep down I always thought that she was always a good person at heart, it was life that simply stopped her believing in people, and she proved me right, giving the relationship with Patrick a chance, with the little help of Pip the penguin and the lovely Terry.
It’s very easy to make assumptions about Patrick, just like Veronica, and me too, but if you give him a chance, you’ll see there is so much more to him that meets the eye.

The writing style is so easy and chatty, and I liked it even better than in the first book – it simply seemed gentler and was so pleasant, as if the author has found her real voice this time, or felt more confident. It is vivid and warm, bringing the places and characters to life. The story is so well researched, the hard work that author put into it is evident and it paid off, as I truly enjoyed every single word and the descriptions of Antarctica, the conditions and the penguins were exquisite.

You actually don’t have to love penguins to adore this novel. This whole story oozes with charm and warmth and it was a lovely, warm and uplifting book about celebrating life and second chances, about love and loss and life altogether. It’s full of humour, but it is also poignant, so be prepared that you may shed a tear or two. There is also an environmental message in the book that I, as an animal lover, enjoyed very much, and I was truly quickly sold on Veronica because of her approach to animals. It is, without a doubt, one of the most delightful and cheerful and clever books I have read in a long time. Highly recommended!

 

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Messy, Wonderful Us by Catherine Isaac / Blog Tour

Messy, Wonderful Us by Catherine Isaac

 

Publisher: Simon & Schuster 48543139._sy475_

Publishing Date: 5th March 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

What if loving someone means keeping a secret that will break your heart?

In late 1983, a letter arrives from Italy, containing secrets so unthinkable that it is hidden away, apparently forever. More than three decades later, it is found . . . by the last person who was ever supposed to see it.

When Allie opens an envelope in her grandmother’s house, it changes everything she knows about her family – and herself.

With the truth liable to hurt those she loves most, she hires a private detective to find out what happened to her late mother in the summer before Allie was born. Taking leave from her job as a research scientist, she is led to the sun-drenched shores of Lake Garda, accompanied by her best friend Ed. But the secrets that emerge go far beyond anything they were expecting. Now, Allie must find the courage to confront her family’s tangled past and reshape her own future.

Messy, Wonderful Us is an enthralling and emotional story of human loss, love, friendship and the mystery that binds them all together from the bestselling author
of You Me Everything.

Rating: five-stars

 

Allie’s life is comfortable. She has a job that she loves and family that she adores. However, one day, she finds a letter that she was never supposed to find, and her life changes – suddenly she doesn’t feel like she belongs. She’s desperate to uncover the secret from her mother’s past, and as her grandmother doesn’t want to help, she decides to go to Italy, on a trip to unearth the truth. Her best friend Ed, who doesn’t feel like his marriage to Julia is working anymore, needs a break to think things over, and as he speaks Italian, he decides to travel with Allie. They both need this time out but they have no idea that they’re going to get more than they bargained for – but at what costs?

The story basically changes narration between three characters. Allie and Ed are the heroes of the present, and there are also diary entries from the past from an unnamed character, a young woman, telling her tragic story. Initially we can think the subplots have nothing in common, but the more we read, the tighter all the threads become, until there comes a moment when everything is beautifully wrapped up and explained. The characters are like living and breathing people, credible, believable and full of flaws, and yes, I think you can say they have a messy life, but nevertheless it’s still a wonderful life. They all simply feel honest and natural, their actions are not forced and the banter between them is genuine, and it’s a real joy to have such characters for once.

I really liked how well the author has balanced her plot, making it complex, filling it with various elements. The story covers many topics and touches upon many issues, and while they are serious and heavier, the book doesn’t feel sad. The overall atmosphere is light and full of hope. The author writes with gentleness, sensitivity and insight about adoption and domestic abuse. She explores family dynamics, father – daughter relationship and friendship in a dynamic, modern and surprising way. The writing style is so vivid, especially the parts the author takes us on the journey to Italy – I had a feeling of being there, seeing the things together with Allie and Ed. I think we can easily say that it is a slow – burner, in this sense that it takes its time to peel off all the layers, explore all the stories it hides on the pages, but it works perfectly, creating a compelling and complex read.

I must admit that this important twist came out of the blue for me – I actually guessed it at the same moment as the character did. I really didn’t see it coming, it came and hit me on the head, and I had this eureka – moment and everything became clear then. Needless to say, there is not the only twist, there are plenty of them, it’s an intriguing read, and the way to the end is bumpy and curvy. I really liked how the author has written this story – while it is sweet, and while it is a bit predictable and romantic, it is absolutely not overdone and there are really enough turns to have made gallop through the pages.

“Messy, Wonderful Us” is a story about love, grief, forgiveness and all emotions accompanying those feelings, creating us – messy and wonderful and unique, shaping our lives. It’s another winner from Catherine Isaac, a little gem of a book, hiding real treasures inside, and discovering them was a real joy. I fell in love with the setting, the characters and the idea, and the execution of it was perfect – it made me gasp and it made me laugh, and it’s a sign of a great book. Truly recommended.

 

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One Moment by Linda Green / Blog Tour

One Moment by Linda Green

 

Publisher: Quercus 43241094._sy475_

Publishing Date: 5th March 2020

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

Number of pages: 400

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Finn and Kaz are about to meet for the first time.

Ten-year-old Finn, a quirky, sensitive boy who talks a lot and only eats at cafes with a 5-star hygiene rating, is having a tough time at school and home.

Outspoken Kaz, 59, who has an acerbic sense of humour and a heart of gold, is working at the café when Finn and his mum come in.

They don’t know it yet, but the second time they meet will be a moment which changes both of their lives forever . . .

Rating: five-stars

 

Ten – year – old Finn Rook – Carter struggles at school, suffering at the hands of his classmates who make fun of his looks and the way he behaves. He only has one real friend, Lottie. 59 – year – old Kaz Allen is quirky, bouncy and fun – loving, even though life has never treated her in a nice way. She works in a cafe and cares for her brother Terry who has schizophrenia.
Finn and Kaz should have never met. But fate has other ideas. And this meeting, and a tragedy, is going to change their lives.

I must admit, I was a bit confused with the story as I was expecting another psychological thriller and I only realised a bit later that the book is different to the previous ones. I didn’t read a synopsis – I mean, it is Linda Green’s book, so no matter what she writes about is going to be captivating and thought – provoking, and yes, the story took me a bit by surprise, but quickly it also stole my heart and captured my whole attention, and I can tell you that I absolutely loved it. Every single word of it.

The characters are so well written – I have experienced all the feelings and emotions together with them. You want to hug Finn and shake his father. You want to tell Kaz that she’s absolutely rocking it. And the more you get to know them all, the more you empathise and like them. I enjoyed seeing how the lives of virtual strangers come together, I think Linda Green has done in a brilliant and clever way.
The story is told from Finn and Kaz’s points of view, in alternating chapters. Finn is different from other boys, and he realises it, and is suffering at school as other children are bullying him. It is only his friend Lottie and his mum Hannah, that he loves so much, that understand him and always support and comfort him. His dad Martin prefers rather cold approach, expecting from Finn all the things that he’s supposed to do and like – sit his SATs exams, like football. Kaz, who works in a cafe and looks after her brother who has schizophrenia, is such a special character! All of us needs such a Kaz in their lives – down – to – earth, seeing things how they really are and not afraid of telling how it is, but also compassionate and full of heart. The author has got into the characters’ heads and hearts and hats off for picturing the 10 – year – old Finn so brilliantly, for so wonderfully capturing his voice, letting us deep into his thoughts, allowing us to experience everything with him.

Also, the story alternates between “before” and “after”, and oh my god, I couldn’t wait to see what has actually happened before, but believe me, I regretted this. This turning point has changed everything and left me a sobbing mess. It may be a bit confusing at the beginning, especially as you, like me, think something totally different to this what has really happened but you’ll quickly get used to the changes in time.

I was drawn into this story, right from the start to the end. This compelling novel is incredibly genuine and brutally honest, showing clearly the unfairness and unreasonableness of benefits system, mental health care, “right” people at the “right” places which results in ignoring the real victims. I’ve honestly got belly ache from only thinking that those things are real and that people like Kaz and Finn must fight a battle every single day to survive.

The author writes with such a feeling about family dynamics, showing all the ups and downs of being in a relationship and having a child with special needs, but also about brother – sister relationship, about responsibility and how people try to do their best. It took me on a real rollercoaster journey of all kinds of feelings – I laughed, I cried, I nodded with agreement, I was incredibly angry, I felt hopeless. It doesn’t happen often, the more I appreciate what the author has done here.

“One Moment” covers such issues as bullying, mental health, poverty and unconditional love. Even though it is sad, it doesn’t feel depressing, it is also heart – warming with an overwhelming feeling of hope, and the kindness of some of the characters is so uplifting. Linda Green’s writing is tender and chatty, and she balances the sadness with many humorous moments, delivering a thought – provoking story. But be aware that it is a heart – breaking story, and this time I mean it, really. The end left me in pieces, literally. I cried and cried and couldn’t stop, and those were ugly tears, and I had to do whatever I could to not to wake my whole family up. It was so beautiful and so heart – wrenching. A book that shouldn’t be missed. Highly recommended!

 

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An Almost Perfect Holiday by Lucy Diamond

An Almost Perfect Holiday by Lucy Diamond

 

Publisher: Macmillan 41xthzdgzel._sx311_bo1204203200_

Publishing Date: 6th February 2020

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

Number of pages: 480

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover (out on 05.09.2019) | Paperback (out on 28.05.2020)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

An Almost Perfect Holiday is a warm and witty story of friendship, family and hope, by the Sunday Times bestseller Lucy Diamond.

The holidays are here, and down in Cornwall Lorna’s cottages are fully booked. The sun loungers are lined up beside the swimming pool, the sky is blue and a new set of arrivals are on their way . . .

Em’s planned the perfect break with her teenagers plus her new boyfriend, George . . . but now his difficult six-year-old is coming too. Will their romance survive the realities of parenthood?

Maggie’s hoping a seaside holiday will bring her and her daughter closer together, but when her ex makes a surprise reappearance, it changes everything. Can she trust the man who broke her heart?

Olivia has escaped the domestic grind, only for the past to catch up with her. Maybe the time has come to confess all – if she can find the courage . . .

Meanwhile, the teenagers are running wild and love is in the air. With friendship, heartache and secrets in the mix, will this holiday turn out to be a scorcher – or simply too hot to handle?

Rating: four-stars

 

Three women that don’t know each other end up at the same holiday cottages complex belonging to Lorna and Roy in Cornwall. Emma has booked the holiday after a few glasses of wine and arrives with her two teenagers, new boyfriend and his 7 – year – old daughter. Maggie hopes to reconnect with her bolshy and dismissive teenage daughter but a surprising meeting and request can put her plan into jeopardy. And Olivia, a young mum struggling with motherhood ends up there after running away from her daily responsibilities. However, can you have a perfect holiday? As it turns out, the things don’t go so well for any of the women but at least it brings them all together. Can they help each other?

The story so relatable, I mean, for sure all of us can tell stories about their own holidays that were supposed to be “perfect” but turned out into real disasters, right, and our characters here don’t have it differently.
It introduces us to four women, and Lucy Diamond can write real, living and breathing characters. Our Em is a single mum to two teenagers, Izzie and Jack, and is in a new relationship. She’s suggests that George, her new boyfriend, should join them on their holidays, even though she has some doubts – is it going to work? Especially as, on short notice, George has to bring his little daughter, a very spoilt one let me add, and a queen of drama and interfering. Oh boy. I admired Em for her patience, really. She hoped that maybe this break could be a perfect way to bring them together, make a real patchwork family out of them all, but is this possible?
Then we have Maggie with another teenager, and really, Lucy Diamond can write them in the best possible way, they feel so true to life and realistic, I tell you. It all is to come for me yet but I can prepare myself reading Ms Diamond’s book 🙂 Maggie is also a single mother, and I felt so sorry for her, the way her daughter was treating her was so, so awful, but what should Maggie do, right? Give her best and hope for the best probably.
Olivia is a young mother to twin boys and she can’t take it anymore. Her husband is still enjoying life, going out with his friends, making small breaks, while she is with the children all the time and feels like the bad cop in this relationship. Feeling worn down, and plagued by memories from her childhood, she runs away and ends up at Lorna and Roy’s, not knowing the those are their cottages – as there is a past connection between them.
All the characters, whilst normal and realistic, are all written with love. They are like any other woman you can meet at any moment and I adored this fact, as it made them even more true to life and genuine, with all their problems, troubles and children. They all have their own distinctive voices, they’re not overdone, they simply show how it is to be a woman, in various situations and periods of life, juggling work with children, new man and your own mental health.

The story is set in Cornwall, and I must admit, I’ll never get tired of it, especially with descriptions like Lucy Diamonds’. The writing style flows effortlessly, it’s chatty and readable, so easy to get into, full of warmth, wisdom and humour.

The book deals with so many normal and realistic issues in an approachable and relatable way. You have stroppy teenagers, grief, patchwork families, accepting yourself, the ups and downs of a motherhood, finding yourself and many, many more, and the author deals with all those things in a gentle and sensitive way, making it possible for us to easily identify with all those feelings and emotions that accompany those issues.

What I so adore in Lucy Diamond’s books is the fact that the subplots seem at the beginning absolutely independent and like having nothing in common with each other, but in the end they always come to a neatly wrapped up and happy final – just what I like, this brilliantly warm security that I’m going to get everything I want from the book, that I’ll eventually arrive at the end that is sorted out and everything is going to be okay again.

Perhaps the pace is a bit slow, but on the other hand I think it’s good that the author has taken this time to introduce us to all the characters and their background, and then to develop the story in – what felt like – natural flow. It’s great to unpeel all the layers that story hides and it’s a great feeling to come to this moment when everything starts to make sense, with the characters’ motivations being uncovered. There are some twists and turns thrown on the way, maybe not life – changing but realistic enough to make the read so much more relatable and I was really involved in the characters’ lives. I wanted to know how their lives are going to play out and I really fell for Maggie, Em and Olivia.

It’s a book showing there is a way forward, about friendship and not judging other people because you really have no idea how they life look like. It’s a story that gives you a look at families, at balancing family with your own needs and personality and it shows what usually happens when your high expectations meet with reality, and while we all know that we shouldn’t expect too much, I absolutely fell for the three women who wanted all the best for their families. A great read that hugely recommend.

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver / Blog Tour

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

 

Publisher: Penguin 42289360._sy475_/ Viking

Publishing Date: 30th January 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 432

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Hardcover (out on 03.03.2020) | Paperback (out on 05.03.2020)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Two Lives. Two Loves. One Impossible Choice.

Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’ve been together for almost a decade, and Lydia thinks their love is indestructible.

But she’s wrong. Because on her 27th birthday, Freddie dies in a car accident.

So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob ’til her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to live her life well. So, enlisting the help of his best friend and her sister Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world and starts to live – perhaps even to love – again.

But then something inexplicable happens, which gives her another chance at her old life with Freddie. A life where none of the tragic events of the past few months have happened. But what if there’s someone in in her new life who wants her to stay?

A heart-breaking, uplifting story for fans of PS I Love You and Jojo Moyes, this gorgeously romantic novel will make you laugh, cry and remind you of what a wonderful gift it is to love and to be loved.

Rating: five-stars

 

Lydia and Freddie have been together for ever – since they were really young. Now, they are happily engaged and planning their future together. But then fate intervenes and, on his way to Lydia’s birthday dinner, Freddie dies in a car accident. Lydia is devastated. This is actually an understatement. she can’t live, she can’t breathe, she can’t sleep without Freddie. She is unable to handle a day in life, and everything that it includes: eating, washing, going to work. When she’s finally given sleeping pills, she finally sleeps, but she also awakes – in a dream that is too vivid, is lifelike – next to Freddie. She soon realises that the pills help her to be with Freddie again, and so she starts to live two lives – her real one and her dream world. But will it be helpful? Will this bring Lydia back to life, help her rebuild it? Is it at all possible, without consequences, to lead such a double life, with one foot in and one foot out of the real world? 

Lydia’s character was exceptionally well written. There was so much depth to her, and you could feel all the emotions that were accompanying her days. Her pain and despair at losing the love of her life were literally heart – breaking, you had a feeling that you are simply next to her and experience the same things. She was complex, believable and genuine in her feelings, and was also full of flaws but that always makes a character even more likeable and relatable.                                                                                              She’s also a character that develops throughout the story and it was truly uplifting to observe her taking control of her life again, especially after seeing what she has to experience to come to this point in her life. She wanted to hide away so much and I was so thankful for her to have her brilliant mum,  sister Elle and friend Jonah who never gave up on her, who tried to show her that maybe, somewhere, there is a light at the end of this dark tunnel? I kept everything crossed for Lydia. I could easily understand her and her decisions, even if they were so hard to grasp, especially by her closest ones. I loved how strong in the end the author has made her, guiding her through the process of grief, slowly picking up the pieces of her life and forging a new path.                                The relationships in this story are also brilliant written, no matter if the author writes about love between Lydia and Freddie, or familial relationships with Lydia’s mother and her sister, or normal friendships. They all felt real, realistic and so truly human.  

The author has already proven with her debut novel, and she shows it again, that she has a way with words, writing about feelings and grief in such a sensitive and understanding way. She explores love in a way that not everybody can, in an almost lyrical but not too overdone move, and she won’t let you have a dry eye at the end. But don’t worry if you think this book is sadness pure, no, it’s not, there are bags of humour and Ms Silver’s words are light and chatty. The pace was absolutely right, showing without rush, but also without slow moments, how grief can impact a person, in both short and long term.

Yes, I think you can feel cynical, what with the whole magical element but while sometimes it really doesn’t work in a book, this time the author has created a perfectly believable alternative for Lydia. It felt… I don’t know, real? Yes, somehow real. Not too pushed, not too forced, not too far – fetched, simply being there and making me believe.

So, “The Two Lives of Lydia Bird” is about having to come to terms after your world has fallen apart and the fact how important unconditional support is, no matter wherever it comes from. I was completely immersed in Lydia’s grief and her idea of true love – it was beautiful. I fell for her immediately, it was impossible not to. It’s a beautiful, sensitive, heart breaking and at the same time uplifting novel. It’s a powerful and thought – provoking read and the dreaded second book proved itself to be as great as the first one (if not this little bit better!). It’s an emotional and moving that’s going to steal your heart, break it, mend it and break it over and over again, but in the end it’s going to give you hope and this overwhelming feeling that everything will be okay. Hugely recommended!

 

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