Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell / Blog Tour

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

 

Publisher: Tinder Press 43890641._sy475_

Publishing Date: 31st March 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 3384

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Historical Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Drawing on Maggie O’Farrell’s long-term fascination with the little-known story behind Shakespeare’s most enigmatic play, HAMNET is a luminous portrait of a marriage, at its heart the loss of a beloved child.

Warwickshire in the 1580s. Agnes is a woman as feared as she is sought after for her unusual gifts. She settles with her husband in Henley street, Stratford, and has three children: a daughter, Susanna, and then twins, Hamnet and Judith. The boy, Hamnet, dies in 1596, aged eleven. Four years or so later, the husband writes a play called Hamlet.

Award-winning author Maggie O’Farrell’s new novel breathes full-blooded life into the story of a loss usually consigned to literary footnotes, and provides an unforgettable vindication of Agnes, a woman intriguingly absent from history.

Rating: four-stars

 

“Hamnet” takes us to Stratford – upon – Avon in 1596, when a young girl Judith is taken to bed with a fever. Her twin brother Hamnet is desperate to find help but their mother is not at home – she’s not far away, in her garden, tending to her medicinal herbs – and their father is working in London. So begins the story – also – behind Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”.

Reading books like “Hamnet”, where the author writes a story about real characters, always makes me wonder if their lives really looked like this. I think it must be a real challenge for the authors themselves, to re-tell the story that was told so many times and still to make it refreshing and original and not repetitive, and I can tell you that Maggie O’Farrell has done it brilliantly. Moreover, I am so, so glad that it’s not Shakespeare himself, but his wife Agnes that is the star of the story, that she takes the spotlight, as she was such a colourful and interesting character and Ms O’Farrell’s ability to create such a magical tale out of the few facts that we know about Agnes really deserves a standing ovation.

I truly appreciate the background stories, the courtship of Shakespeare and his wife – to – be but it was the present, this what was happening with their children, much more fascinating. The changes in the times were a bit confusing for me, and yes, it took me a few chapters to get used to the writing style, but then I could relax and really enjoy the flowing story. Yes, at times it was rather slow – paced and I simply wanted to go back to Hamnet and what was happening.

It is a book that explores mother’s grief at the loss of her child and there is a whole rainbow of emotions. It is an atmospheric novel capturing the essence of grief in a heart – breaking, beguiling way. The author also touches upon motherhood in the most difficult times, when the mother tries to learn how to survive after her child’s death.

The setting, time and the feeling of place were brought so vividly to the pages and richly described and the language used is evocative, almost lyrical, bringing the times to life. I can’t help but mention one of the sections of the book that will probably stay with me forever, as it is a real masterpiece of writing, where the author describes the way the plague has taken to finally arrive at Judith’s doorstep – amazing! Altogether “Hamnet” was an exceptional read with a difference that I truly enjoyed – highly recommended!

 

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The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves / Blog Tour

The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

 

Publisher: Century 48669268._sy475_

Publishing Date: 2nd April 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 336

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover

| Paperback (out on 17.09.2019)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

A lifetime together. Six months of silence. One last chance.

Frank hasn’t spoken to his wife Maggie for six months.

For weeks they have lived under the same roof, slept in the same bed and eaten at the same table – all without words.

Maggie has plenty of ideas as to why her husband has gone quiet.

But it will take another heartbreaking turn of events before Frank finally starts to unravel the secrets that have silenced him.

Is this where their story ends?
Or is it where it begins?

With characters that will capture your heart, THE SILENT TREATMENT celebrates the phenomenal power of love and the importance of leaving nothing unsaid.

Rating: four-stars

 

Frank and Maggie have been happily married for forty years, getting by all the bumps and twists that reality put in their way – and there were plenty of them. However, it seems that now they have hit a wall – Franks hasn’t spoken to Maggie for six months. Why? Maggie can’t take it anymore and one day Frank finds her slumped over the kitchen table after swallowing the contents of a bottle of sleeping tablets. He blames himself and is desperate to explain to Maggie why he hasn’t uttered one word to her in the last half year. Encouraged by a nurse at the hospital, Frank starts to speak – is there enough time for him to tell everything?

It is a beautifully written story, both plot – wise and writing style – wise. The narration flowed so naturally, it didn’t feel forced, it just felt so normal and human and the writing is almost lyrical, so very evocative and vivid it is. The author has a way with words, her narration is touching, poignant yet uplifting and flowing effortlessly, keeping you glued to the pages.

I would say that it is a very character driven story, and they all were really well written and developed, as well as the relationships and dynamics between them – and they were never the easiest ones. Their feelings and emotions were effortlessly brought to us on the pages.
Maggie and Frank’s voices are strong and distinctive. During Maggie’s stay at the hospital we learn everything about their life together, starting with the early days of their relationship and their struggle to have a child of their own. I have expected – probably like many of you reading the book – that they had a fight, that there must have been an understatement between them and this is why they live in silence, but the truth is much more shocking and heart – breaking. The story of them is unique, full of memories, anecdotes and thoughts and there emerges a picture of people committed to each other, loving each other and caring about each other.

I must admit that the epilogue confused me a bit – probably because the author has suddenly decided to use the third narrator, so out of the blue and only for the few pages of the epilogue. Somehow it didn’t sit with me so well, not sure why, but it didn’t fit the whole story.

The story explores marriage, parenting and more difficult issues in a gentle, understanding way, showing how hard it sometimes is to communicate with our closest ones and how secrets kept from each other may affect our relationships – but we still keep them, out of fear as we don’t want to hurt them, out of love.
It is a powerful and moving book, so very honestly touching upon many heavier issues, bringing the small family to life, creating them all believable and full of flaws. It is emotional, poignant and uplifting at the same time. It is a great debut novel and the author shows her strong voice – I am already looking forward to her next release. Highly recommended.

 

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When Life Gives You Lemons by Fiona Gibson / Blog Tour

When Life Gives You Lemons by Fiona Gibson

 

Publisher: Avon 48639329._sy475_

Publishing Date: 5th March 2020

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

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Sometimes life can be bittersweet . . .

Between tending to the whims of her seven-year-old and the demands of her boss, Viv barely gets a moment to herself. It’s not quite the life she wanted, but she hasn’t run screaming for the hills yet.

But then Viv’s husband Andy makes his mid-life crisis her problem. He’s having an affair with his (infuriatingly age-appropriate) colleague, a woman who – unlike Viv – doesn’t put on weight when she so much as glances at a cream cake.

Viv suddenly finds herself single, with zero desire to mingle. Should she be mourning the end of life as she knows it, or could this be the perfect chance to put herself first?

When life gives you lemons, lemonade just won’t cut it. Bring on the gin!

 

my-review

 

“When Life Gives You Lemons” introduces us to Viv, 52 years old, with two children, husband and stabile life. However, this life is about to change radically, when she discovers that her husbands has an affair. What follows is a story of a mature woman, coping (or not) with divorce and juggling life as a single – mother.

The book is advertised to be a hilarious romantic comedy. Publishers, please stop doing this – promising things and than not keeping your promises. It was neither hilarious nor romantic nor comedy. I don’t mean to criticise the book, because it was a nice, contemporary novel, so close to life – but perhaps it should be advertised this way.

Fiona Gibson’s characters are always real and human, and it was the same in this book. It’s a very character – driven story and Viv is the main heroine – could be your best friend, she felt so vivid and relatable, jumping off the pages. We mostly get her point of view, through her monologues and actions and thoughts on everything that is happening around her. It was actually truly uplifting and inspiring to see her growing into confidence, establishing her identity, starting to enjoy life again. She’s a character that many readers will be able to relate to and with. What I truly appreciated is the fact that nothing in her journey felt forced or overdone – no, everything seemed just like in real life, her making wrong decisions, having problems, misinterpreting situations, jumping to conclusions.
The supporting characters are a bunch of colourful, vivid people and they take care of our good mood, adding humour but also making the story this little bit more thought – provoking. They provide a range of diversion, giving Viv extra jobs and making her life fuller and complicated, hence keeping her sane (or not!).

My biggest problem was that I wasn’t sure what the book is trying to tell us. Yes, it touches upon some more difficult issues and shows character’s wonderful journey to self – confidence and discovering what it is that makes her happy, but somehow it didn’t convince me and I wasn’t sure where it’s leading at all. The pace was rather slow and there were not life – changing twists or turns, however it had its moments that made me giggle, for example Viv’s omelette – action. The author’s writing style is so easy to follow and it’s a real joy to pick the book up after a long day to relax for a while. Also, you know what’s coming, but in a good way, and this feeling of security is very comforting.

It was a rather slow – burner, this story, however it kept getting better. The author has written a contemporary fiction, balancing seriousness and problems with humour and light – heartedness. Well, you have to find fun in life, otherwise you’re going to get crazy. It is not a fluffy, meh kind of read, and the author deals with falling apart of the family in a sensitive and understanding way. Still, it is an easy and light read with a great message: when life gives you lemons, just add gin and tonic. Take the best out of life. Enjoy it. It is well written and it flow in such a natural, easy way, progressing towards the inevitable happy end. Recommended!

 

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Starting Over at Acorn Cottage by Kate Forster / Blog Tour

Starting Over at Acorn Cottage by Kate Forster

 

Publisher: Aria 50818113._sy475_

Publishing Date: 19th March 2020

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

Number of pages:

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

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Buying a thatched cottage in the country may not be the usual cure for a broken heart.

But after Clara Maxwell finds out her boyfriend and best friend have been sneaking around behind her back, packing her bags and leaving everything in London behind feels like the only option…

Clara knew Acorn Cottage would be a fixer-upper… Yet in person, the cottage is less charmingly ramshackle and more a real health and safety concern. When Henry Garnett, her (rather handsome) new contractor, turns up with his little daughter Pansy and a van shaped like a cottage in tow, she isn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. What on earth has she gotten herself into?!

Still, there is something strangely lovable about the people in the little village of Merryknowe, from Rachel Brown, the quiet, lonely girl who bakes magical confections for the tearooms, to Tassie McIver, a little old lady with a lot of wisdom and a penchant for reading tea leaves. And Clara can’t deny that Henry and Pansy are quickly worming their way into her heart…

With all the heartbreak of the year behind her, could Acorn Cottage be the fresh start Clara so desperately wants?

Rating: four-stars

 

When Clara finds that her boyfriend and her best friend have been going behind her back, she knows it’s time to say goodbye – to both of them and to her life as it is. She has always dreamed of living in a thatched cottage, so, after a glass or two of wine too much, she goes online and bang! Buys a thatched cottage, in Marryknowe. Acorn Cottage looks so beautiful on the photos.
However, as it turns out, right after Clara’s arrival to her new place, the cottage is almost uninhabitable. Forget the roses in the garden when there is not much more else than a roof over her head, and there are still some holes in it.
Fortunately, Henry and his daughter Pansy arrive in their little van, Henry looking for a job, and Clara’s cottage is perfect for him to start working asap.
But is Acorn Cottage really the place that will help Clara to heal?

The book is written in a way that immediately sucks you in and you are truly invested in Clara’s life. She’s this kind of character that you want to succeed, keeping everything crossed for her. There were moments that I was wondering if Clara is showing us her true colours, as, you know, she was everywhere and wanted to help everyone, no matter what. She was not noisy, oh no, she just wanted to help, and I was thinking, is this a diversion? Does she want to hide something from us? The more we got to know her, the more I felt secure in my belief and it turned out that Clara was a much more complex character that we could think at first. Getting to know her story was heart – breaking and sometimes hard to read, but seeing her opening has made my heart sing – she so deserved her happy end.
As well as Rachel – her subplot was truly surprising and sometimes shocking, also not so easy to read, and it’s awoken all kind of emotions in me. To be honest, I at first couldn’t understand why she hasn’t done anything, but the more I read the more I started to understand things, Rachel and the whole situation. How can you help yourself when your whole life you were told what to do and whatever you did was criticised, right? I loved seeing how creative she was, I loved her little rebellions and loved seeing her growing in confidence.
Tassie was a very interesting character and I liked her very much. There was this magical element to her, and not only because she could read tea leaves, but she could also see things in the future and she was very wary about nature, being able to read all the signs it was trying to tell us. However, as much as I liked her, it was a hard cookie to chew, to believe – yes, it was a bit overdone. I get what the author wanted to achieve here, and generally she has managed it, Tassie bringing out all the positive things and changes, but I could really live without this element of magic.

I must admit that the book took me a little by surprise, especially the fact that, except being a charming romance, it also touches upon very heavy issues, bringing tons of depth to the plot and the characters’ development.

Altogether it was a lovely story, but there were too many moments that it simply felt too forced and too clichéd. There were also moments that the story felt so chopped and so abrupt, and I had to check if I’ve missed a page or two. And there were a few things that seemed out of place and the book could do without. Also, I’d love the story to be more ambitious, as the things were either black or white, I’ve missed the shadows between.

“Starting Over at Acorn Cottage” is a story about community, about friendship, courage, strength and keeping together, about forgiveness and kindness. It shows how strong women can be, and that it’s so important to keep your eyes open and see when people need help. The author has a way with words and she knows how to balance lightness and humour with all those heavy issues she has decided to write about – and hats off to her for doing this, as she’s touched upon issues that are not easy to be talked about. This book made me smile and it made me think, personally I enjoyed the story very much.

 

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The River Home by Hannah Richell / Blog Tour

The River Home by Hannah Richell

 

Publisher: Orion 50262847._sy475_

Publishing Date: 19th March 2020

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 320

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 04.08.2020)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The river can take you home. But the river can also drag you under… The new novel from bestselling author Hannah Richell. A wise and emotionally powerful story of a broken family and the courage it takes to heal.

The river can take you home. But the river can also drag you under…

‘It’s something she learned years ago – the hard way – and that she knows she will never forget: even the sweetest fruit will fall and rot into the earth, eventually. No matter how deep you bury the pain, the bones of it will rise up to haunt you … like the echoes of a summer’s night, like the river flowing relentlessly on its course.’

Margot Sorrell didn’t want to go home. She had spent all her adult life trying not to look behind. But a text from her sister Lucy brought her back to Somerset. ‘I need you.’

As Margot, Lucy and their eldest sister, Eve, reunite in the house they grew up in beside the river, the secrets they keep from each other, and from themselves, refuse to stay hidden. A wedding brings them together but long-simmering resentments threaten to tear the family apart. No one could imagine the way this gathering would change them all forever. And through the sorrow they are forced to confront, there is a chance that healing will also come. But only if the truth is told.

Rating:  four-stars

 

“The River Home” introduces us to three Sorrell sisters, Margot, Lucy and Eve – very different, partly estranged, but when Margot receives a message from Lucy begging her to come home as she needs her, she knows she has to return back to Windfalls. She hasn’t been back for years, as the heartbreak and pain and disappointment of the past is simply too huge. But can Lucy’s shotgun wedding fix everything? The estrangement from her mother Kit, the tension with her father, past mistakes? Margot is determined to do this, for Lucy. However, she is not the only sister keeping secrets, and now they refuse to stay hidden… Is it going to break the broken family even more?

“The River Home” is Hannah Richell’s fourth novel, however my first read by this author, and I must tell you that I am already under her spell – the writing is beautiful, atmospheric, almost lyrical yet chatty and accessible, and she has captured my attention with this heart – breaking and shocking story. The descriptions are vivid, bringing the setting and the characters to life.

The characters are really well rounded, full of flaws, getting into troubles, making wrong decisions, and they all feel human. Not likeable – they are so dynamic that you keep changing your mind about them, stop liking them, start to feel sympathy towards them – but simply human. The story is told through different points of view, and this truly helped to get into each of the characters’ heads and understand them and their actions. I can’t say that I had a favourite character, as all of them experienced/were experiencing events that were heart – breaking, the challenges they had to overcome were so unfair, and it was impossible not to fall for them and feel their emotions.
The three sisters couldn’t be more different, even if you asked for it. At first sight, Margot seems to be the main characters, although I think that it was Lucy later that started to deserve this title. Margot has tried to put her past so hard behind her but there are things she simply can’t forget, and her childhood home is for her a place of pain and bad memories. Seeing her, confronting the old memories and guessing what has really happened in the past was heart – breaking, and even though there were moments that I wanted to shake Margot so badly and tell her to stop acting like this, I also fell for her and felt so much sympathy to her.

The element of mystery, surrounding mostly Margot, worked really well in this book. Yes, I started to worry that it is taking a bit too long for it to be revealed, but all the other events and memories were intriguing enough to keep me patiently waiting. However, I do think that it slowed the pace of the story a little, but no worries guys, getting to know the whole background of the situation, and also characters’ past is great, and then all the actions start to really make sense.

The author writes so well about family dynamics, about all the ups and downs of those complex and complicated entities. She really well captured the relationship between the sisters, painting it strong and loving, but also the dynamics and changes of married life. She also touches upon parenthood, love, hate, betrayal, disappointment, loss, grief, guilt, teen angst with passion and understanding and emotional writing.

It’s a book about family dynamics and secrets that can break even the strongest family. It is emotional and even though you may guess the twists by yourself, it doesn’t spoil the reading, as the secrets come out slowly, keeping our attention, and the confrontations and accusations make the things even more complicated. It is actually unputdownable, as you are desperate to know what has happened and if you were right. It was a dark, atmospheric read with building tension. It was not the easiest read, as it truly touched upon many heavier issues, but the beauty of the writing has made the reading w wonderful experience. Truly recommended!

 

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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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