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

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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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The Day I Lost You by Fionnuala Kearney

The Day I Lost You

by Fionnuala Kearney

 

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publishing Date: 11th February 2016

Source:  Copy provided by the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 432

Genre: Literature/Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback (out on 26. 09. 2016)

 Synopsis:

‘Incredibly moving, it’s beautifully written and page-turning’ Susan Lewis

The second poignant and heartrending novel from the Irish Times bestselling author, Fionnuala Kearney.

When Jess’s daughter, Anna, is reported lost in an avalanche, everything changes.

Left to explain her mother’s absence to Anna’s five-year-old daughter, Rose, Jess isn’t yet ready to admit to herself that her daughter might not be coming back. But Anna’s disappearance dredges up some life changing questions: Jess must uncover her daughter’s secret life – and unearth a secret that changes her world irrevocably.

The day I lost you was the day I discovered your secret life.

The day I lost you was the day you tore our family apart.

The perfect emotional and absorbing story for fans of Jojo Moyes and David Nicholls.

Rating: 5/5

 

So, it is with a great regret but I haven’t read Fionnuala’s debut novel yet – and yet is the operative word! I have heard so many prizes about „You, Me and Other People” and after reading „The Day I Lost You” I could have find out by myself why people love this author so much, even though she has written only two books – well, „The Day I Lost You” is enough for me, as after reading it Ms Kearney has catapulted right to the top of my favourite authors list.

How well do we know the members of our closest family actually?

Now, about Jess. She was not as straight – forward as we could think at the beginning. I think some of her reactions or decisions were made on the spur of the moment, that some of them were even false but on the other hand, she was grieving, and I think we all react just like she did when we’re grieving. It only made her normal and real in my eyes. And really, while sometimes she seemed to be very emotional, I felt for her. She was convinced her life is a truly normal one but she had no idea what skeletons are hidden in her – or rather her daughter’s – closet, and that mostly she will have to clean this mess. It looked like that no matter which door she’s going to open, her daughter Anna has left more and more of her secrets, and the first one was just the beginning, and those feelings of confusion, disbelief and also betrayal that Jess felt were so greatly captured by the author.

I was totally, absolutely concerned and sold with the whole Jess’s family, especially with Leah and Gus. They were so incredibly supporting, and even though they tried to live normal, to come to terms with reality and everyday problems, there was always this word or two of consolation, small gestures that showed how much they love Jess, how much they feel sorry and that she can count on them. That is, till one moment in the book, and here we’re arriving at one of the twists that I haven’t seen coming. It took me totally, unexpectedly by surprise, it happened totally out of the blue. Because, you see, quickly, very quickly, I was absolutely sure that I guessed who Rose’s father is. All the writings on the wall were indicating him. I wasn’t sure what I think about it, as I also grow to like this character, but nevertheless, I was thousand per cent sure I got him right. Yes, I had one small moment of hesitation, when I thought that my way of thinking has some loop – holes but still, I was sure that’s him. So imagine please my surprise when the author, with one simple sentence, one simple question, told me that I was wrong! Really, high five to Fionnuala Kearney for taking me so much by surprise and yet making this so logical – now, in perspective, I can see it couldn’t be different. I really haven’t expected this bombshell – and I truly love it, when the author can spring such revelation on me, a revelation that I wasn’t expecting and that shocked me completely, and made me not sure how the story is going to develop after this.

The first part of the book is told through Jess and Theo’s points of view, together with Anna’s entries from her blog, while later it mostly focuses on Jess’s point of view. I liked how the author switched the narrative, how I was able to get really into the heart of the stories and to learn the story from all sides. The characters felt very real, true, they were not flawless, and I didn’t have any problem to connect with them or to relate to them, and the author has really put them through the mill! They had depth, all of them and were written very realistically and I had a feeling I am right there, by their sides.

„The Day I Lost You” is an incredibly well – plotted, powerful and intense novel and yet those feelings are not too overwhelming, they don’t make the book too hard too read. No, on the contrary, they are palpable through the pages but the writing style, the feelings of empathy make it so easy to read. And when we are by the writing style, it was incredible – some authors have this talent to write emotional novels but in a simple way, when you are just galloping through the pages, when you don’t feel tired, you just want to know what’s going to happen and you don’t want to put the book down for a single second – it was like this with „The Day I Lost You”. From the very beginning to the very end, this book held me tight, had me hooked, as I simply wanted to know how it’s going to end, in all aspects. And soon I have started to fear Anna’s entries to the blog, as there was always something new, a new fact.

Yes, this story was heart – breaking, especially the family aspect. It showed how vulnerable we are, and how, in fact, we are nothing without the support of our family and best, proven friends. It shows how easily the bonds can be broken, despite them being so strong, but also that sometimes those bonds are unbreakable, no matter what, and I mean here not only Jess and her sister, but also Rose and Sean. It was really uplifting.

This story has simply it all. It had twists and turns, there are some very unexpected and shocking revelations. It is written in this best way of writing style, this gentle, subtle way and you immediately feel like a part of the characters’ worlds. „The Day I Lost You” moved me, it is a kind of a book that you can’t forget, long after reading the last page, it is unpredictable. It deals with so many issues, it deals with heartbreak, with betrayal and lies, and the characters are deep down there, with all those issues, they are there for each step, and we are not sure if it was the last revelation, or if there is still something for them to discover and deal with. It was just a brilliant read – highly recommended! (And it is such a great feeling to know that there is „You, Me and Other People” waiting there for me to be read!)