Today I am absolutely excited to be a part of Beth Moran’s blog tour for her new novel „The Name I Call Myself”. I fell in love with Beth’s writing after reading her previous book „I Hope You Dance” – her books are the perfect blend of bitter and sweet, humour and sadness for me and I can’t have enough of them! „The Name I Call Myself” is one of the best books I’ve read recently and I couldn’t put it down – I didn’t want to put it down! Really, guys, whatever you do, just drop it and treat yourself to this beautiful story about Faith – and this name is really significant!
The Name I Call Myself
by Beth Moran
Publisher: Lion Fiction
Publishing Date: 15th July 2015
Source: Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!
Number of pages: 320
Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)
Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback
All Faith Harp wants is a quiet life–to take care of her troubled brother, Sam, earn enough money to stop the poverty wolves snapping at her heels, and to keep her past buried as deep as possible. And after years of upheaval, she might have just about managed it: Sam’s latest treatment seems to actually be working, Faith is holding down a job, and she’s engaged to the gorgeous and successful Perry. But, for Faith, things never seem to stay simple for long. Her domineering mother-in-law-to-be is planning a nightmare wedding, including the wedding dress from hell. And the man who killed her mother is released from prison, sending her brother tumbling back into mental illness.
When secretly planning the wedding she really wants, Faith stumbles across a church choir that challenges far more than her ability to hold a tune. She ends up joining the choir, led by the fierce choir-mistress Hester, who is determined to do whatever it takes to turn the group of ragtag women into something spectacular. She also meets Dylan, the church’s vicar, who is different than any man she has ever met before . . .
After reading and loving Beth Moran’s last release, „I Hope You Dance”, I was waiting impatiently for her new novel. I haven’t read Beth’s debut novel yet and I must eventually treat myself to it but reading her previous book made me fell in love with her writing and the way she tells her stories – stories that usually have much more to them than meet the eye, complicated, beautiful, incredibly sad but also incredibly uplifting stories with the right mix of humour and tears. It was really like Christmas coming in summer when I’ve received an email asking if I want to be a part of Beth’s blog tour for the new novel and when the book itself arrived on my doorstep I dropped everything and started reading it on the spot.
Looking at the cover of this book you may expect a light, fluffy rom – com and partly you get this, but „The Name I Call Myself” mostly concentrates on much more serious issues. However the fact that it is about abuse, violence, mental health issues and women that don’t believe in themselves doesn’t mean that the book isn’t uplifting or optimistic – because it is! Thanks to the writing style the tone switches from comedy to dramatic and this is all so very well balanced and the book is going to make you laugh out loud and cry in the next second. I am lost in admiration how well Beth Moran „does” feelings and emotions, everything she writes about rings the bell, feels so realistic and close to life and I often had desire to shout yes! I know how it feels!
Faith is planning her wedding to Perry, a „millionaire playboy”. However, she very quickly realises that the wedding day is going to be not her own big day but rather her future mother – in – law, interfering mother of Perry, Larissa’s, who has planned everything – also Faith’s wedding dress, the „Ghost Web”. But quickly we learn that the „Ghost Web” and Larissa could be Faith’s least essential problems. She is supporting her very troubled brother Sam and is at his beck and call – there are awful secrets and dark past involved. Even though a fiancée to a millionaire, Faith is struggling financially, as she doesn’t want to accept Perry’s help and is determined to earn her own money and bread. Then, accidentally, when visiting the church her mother went to and its Minister Dylan, Faith finds herself joining the choir, and it is actually then that everything happens – she starts to learn to live again but her dangerous past is suddenly trying to catch up with her and Sam…
The cast of characters is brilliant! They are all not only vivid, larger than life people with their own personalities but they feel like 3 – D people. They’re dimensional, they’re relatable and all of them have their own stories. Faith. Oh my word, Faith. Independent, strong on the surface but inside she was carrying the weight of the whole world on her shoulders and she had scars that will probably never heal. She’s only 25 years old but she seems so much older and so much wiser for her age, I was actually surprised when I learnt that she’s so young, but it’s not a wonder that she is like she is as her past was not a bed of roses. What I so adored in her was that even though Perry was incredibly rich and offered her money at every turn, Faith wanted to be independent of him and insisted to work, which sometimes led to very hilarious situations, let’s only mention Faith’s engagement party. Faith’s past was so, so sad, and all the time new facts came to the light, there was always more to know, and I admired her for the fact that she always tried to keep her chin high and look forward. The way she was telling the story made me feel like a part of it, as if I knew faith personally for a long time.
Larissa may be considered your clichéd future mother – in – law but the scenes with her, as much as they made me desperate to bite her head off, were brilliant and added so much fun to the story. She’s a true nightmare, Larissa, and I know it is so easy to say that Faith should have just say no to her – I think it was impossible. I wouldn’t dare. Even Perry wouldn’t dare, and he was his son, so we can’t expect it from Faith, the strong, brave Faith.
The story of Sam was at the beginning truly engaging and heart – wrenching, though I must admit that through the course of the novel it started to knacker me out. He had no idea how lucky he is with the two women dumping everything and everybody when he was in need. Sure, I can’t put myself in his shoes, and I even don’t want, I truly can’t imagine what has happened to him and I am certain it was freakingly difficult for him but on the other hand, he got so many chances, he had so many possibilities and still he wasn’t strong enough. It doesn’t mean his story didn’t move me, because it did, I am just incredibly sad that after all the things he and Faith went through he just gave up.
The biggest highlight of the book is, I think, the choir and its members. It was a very special choir and let me tell you this one thing: if you had such a group of friends around yourself, you needn’t fear anything. With those women you could move mountains and they’d walk a mile in the rain to help you out. It’s not a wonder that Faith finds solace in the church and its choir group, even with the choir master Hester who – yes, sometimes terrifying – gives the women what they need – confidence, makes them feel comfortable in their own skin, even if in a controversial and sometimes very adventurous and dangerous way. Being in the choir helps Faith to find herself and to open up to people. It was incredible, this choir, only reading about it and seeing how strong Hester was made ME feel stronger and like ME better. Because of the choir members there are many characters in this book but they are all so incredibly vivid and life – like that I’ve never had a problem with who is who, and they all added tons of depth to this book. I loved them all and I fell for them all and I kept my fingers crossed for them. They were strong, believable characters that you root for and the author so effortlessly brings them all to life.
The romance element is there, of course, and I found it a little misleading. For a very long time I was thinking Perry to be a really great guy, the real Prince on a White Horse, the perfect showpiece and the friendship (or more) of Faith and Dylan was – even though really sweet and full of understanding and seeming as if those two were a real match made in haven – confusing. I couldn’t understand why Faith feels such reservations towards marrying Perry (I’d better not mention Larissa here. It would be enough to end all relationships and engagement), even though she’s agreed to marry him, they’re engaged. It was confusing, because Perry was always there for Faith, he didn’t ask questions, he helped her, so it was a kind of mystery to me and it took a long time before the situation was cleared.
Beth Moran in a perfect way blends and covers so many issues in one story – it is about families and friendships, abuse and violence, mental health, love… She somehow manages to combine all the threads together and delivers an emotional, moving and terrific story that is thought – provoking and so light to read. Ms Moran has already placed herself at the top of my favourite authors list and I am already waiting for her next book (and in between, I’m just hitting the „Order” button for „Making Marion”). I would compare this book to the novel written by Marian Keyes – full of sadness and difficult issues but also full of hope and lightness, bitter – sweet novels about brilliantly drawn characters with many layers. „The Name I Call Myself” is full of surprises, it is brutally honest and it can easily break your heart, but it is also uplifting, optimistic read that shows that with some work you will eventually find your happiness. It is this kind of story that stays with you for long after you turn the final page, which is a magnificent feeling. It is this kind of book that you wanted to finish as soon as possible to see how it’s going to end but you also want to last and last and never end. It is a book with a soul, it’s deep, it’s incredibly gripping and it feels really genuine. The author puts her characters through so much and together with them we are taken on an incredible, funny and sad journey through ups and downs, twists and turns. It, in a beautiful way, describes friendship, love and trust. Just like with the last book, this time the author has offered us the perfect balance of bitter and sweet, of dark and light, of hope and hopeless and I adored every single second of it – highly recommended!
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