The Accidental Love Letter by Olivia Beirne / Blog Tour

The Accidental Love Letter by Olivia Beirne

 

Publisher: Headline Review 48142997._sy475_

Publishing Date: 17th October 2019

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

Number of pages: 288

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback (out on 16.04.2020)

 

 

 

Synopsis:

The funny, uplifting second novel from Olivia Beirne for fans of Sophie Kinsella, Katie Marsh, Zoë Folbigg and Marian Keyes.

What would you do if you received a love letter that wasn’t meant for you?

Bea used to feel confident, outgoing and fun, but she’s not sure where that person went.

Over the last few months, she’s found herself becoming reclusive and withdrawn. And despite living with her two best friends, she’s never felt lonelier. To make things worse, she’s become so dependent on her daily routine, she’s started to slip out of everyone else’s.

But when a mysterious battered envelope covered in stars lands on her doormat, Bea wonders if she could find the courage to open it.

It isn’t addressed to her, but it could be… if you squinted…

Rating:   four-stars

 

Bea Smyth works for a local newspaper writing adverts, even though she really wants to write something more important. She lives in a house that she shares with her two best friends, Emma and Priya. She lives her days according to lists and plans, which, of course, leaves little room for anything new and spontaneous. While Emma and Priya have interesting social lives that they share with girlfriend and boyfriend, Bea is quite the opposite – rather withdrawn and happy on her own but constantly worrying that she’s not good enough and feeling that it’s much easier just to agree with everyone than to put herself above others’ needs. One day a letter addressed to “B” arrives. Even though it’s not directed to her, Bea replies that she never intends to sent but it’s somehow posted to Nathan – and so Bea’s double life begins, life that is going to push her into uncomfortable situations but also brings her joy and new people.

I absolutely adored the way the author has written Bea. She felt so real and true to life, with all her angst and uncertainty, and seeing her being pushed out of her comfort zones made me want to give her a standing ovation. She simply feels like a real person, sitting next to you, chatting with you and it’s impossible not to like her. She is quite timid and hates confrontations, but it sounds quite well – known, no? And I wasn’t blaming Bea for being the way she was, because I could see where she was coming from, I was blaming people surrounding her for being so pushy and taking advantage of her. I couldn’t stand Priya who was supposed to be a friend but was so self – absorbed and selfish, expecting Bea to drop everything to be there for her when she needed her but not giving a second thought for Bea’s needs.  

The unexpected letter was for Bea like a lifebelt. I really liked that she followed her instincts, and I admired her for this, knowing how much it must have cost her. The characters she has met forced life into her and, a bit unintentionally, showed her there is world outside, that there is much more to life. She almost immediately fell in love with the nursing home and the three remaining people there, Nina, Gus and Sylvie, and the carer Jakub. Why only three people, I hear you asking. Well, because the home was supposed to be closing in the New Year and other residents have already found different accommodations. At first Bea only sensed a story that she could sell to her boss Duncan but it quickly turned into a real friendship, into much more for Bea, into a thing that she started to care about so much.

 I only had the feeling that the “accidental love letters” were, I don’t know, an afterthought? I was thinking they’re going to be a prominent part of the book, and I thought this part of the story is going to probably be light – hearted and funny, while it turned out that actually they added much more seriousness to the story. They were poignant and actually this what arose from those letters was much more serious in tone. Nevertheless, I was hoping for more when it comes to the letters, and for something different, but it doesn’t mean that I didn’t like them, oh no. And it wouldn’t be possible for Bea to change, to find herself without them, so it’s a win – win situation. 

There was quite a number of threads to follow but they were all so very well written and they kept me alerted all the time. I also adored the way the author has captured Bea’s feelings and emotions, her anxiety, getting straight to the core of it, putting into words for us how it really feels. The scenes where Bea was calling her mum, leaving a message and asking to call her back soon made me realised what has happened and broke my heart. She was so lost, felt so alone, her roommates wanted to move out and on and now she was also supposed to lose the new friends from nursing home, where she felt needed, comfortable.

Altogether, it was a fairly light and warm read with a deeper side to it. An uplifting, funny and moving story, very well written, bringing the characters to life, a gentle, charming tale about life altogether, relationships, hope and coming out of your shell. Truly recommended!

 

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The List that Changed My Life by Olivia Beirne

The List that Changed My Life by Olivia Beirne

 

40901450Publisher: Headline Review

Publishing Date: 22nd November 2018

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

Number of pages: 336

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

 

 

 

Synopsis:

Sometimes all you need is a little push…

When Georgia’s sister is diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, she promises to do everything her older sibling can no longer do, resulting in a journey that will change her life forever…

Georgia loves wine, reality TV and sitting on the sofa after work. She does not love heights, looking at her bank account, going on dates, or activities that involve a sports bra. And she will never, ever take a risk.

That is, until her braver, bolder, big sister finds out that she won’t be able to tick off the things she wanted to do before turning thirty, and turns to Georgia to help her finish her list.

With the birthday just months away, Georgia suddenly has a deadline to learn to grab life with both hands. Could she be brave enough to take the leap, for her sister?

And how might her own life change if she did?

A hilarious and heart-warming journey of a lifetime, showing us what it means to really be alive.

Rating: four-stars

“The List that Changed My Life”, the debut novel by Olivia Beirne, follows Georgia Miller, a twenty – six year old woman from London, working as an assistant to a designer. Even though Georgie is a great designer herself, she now acts as a runner/organizer/general dogsbody for her boss’s wedding and wouldn’t dare to show her her designs. Georgie’s sister Amy is a fit and cheerful PE teacher, and they both share a very strong bond. It’s no wonder then that when Amy is diagnosed with MS, Georgie’s world collapses as well. Amy challenges Georgie with a bucket list, full of things that she won’t be able to do herself – they’re mostly very out of Gerogie’s comfort zone, so will she be able to do it for her sister? And how much is her life going to change if she did?

I love books about lists, probably because they (the lists) never work for me in my life. And here it was a list that was a little bit different, because it was written for somebody, not by our main character herself. It was for her, from her sister. And well, there were things that really weren’t the easiest ones to do, to complete. No wonder that Georgia was a little sceptical, and it was a real joy to read how she worked her way through all the items on the list. I liked the way the idea of the list was executed, it was this little bit different to all the other lists that I’ve read about and it didn’t feel too meh or too utilised.

Georgia herself was such a lovely and compelling character. Yes, sure, sometimes I’ve got the vibe that she’s letting other people take her life over, that Jack’s involvement into her list was a bit too much, but other than that she was a lovely, friendly young woman that loved her sister so much. She’s been constantly pushed out of her comfort zones and we know ourselves how uncomfortable it can be, but she learnt how to value her life and how to stand for herself during the time. And, let’s be honest, mostly we’re really glad that we’ve done this step, no? I really liked the relationship between Georgie and her sister Amy, though there were moments that I had a feeling that Amy was a little bit too possessive, as if she wanted her sister only to herself, as if Georgie wasn’t allowed to have her own life. It was especially apparent after Amy’s accident on the steps, and as much as I could understand Georgie, that she wanted to be as quickly as possible with her sister, I couldn’t help but felt a little disappointed at the way Amy reacted – as if it was Georgie’s duty to be around her all the time. Georgie was always there for her sister, for better or worse, and I think she deserved a little life of her own as well. But those two had a great bond, that’s for sure.

“The List that Changed My Life” was light, funny and poignant, heart – warming debut novel about love, sisterhood and about how much you are able to sacrifice for those you love, how far you’d go for them. It was emotional, and it was incredibly humorous, there was a lightness to it even though it touched upon such a serious issue as being diagnosed with MS, but it didn’t make my cry. It was about stepping out of your comfort zones and taking advantages and opportunities. It was life – affirming and also thought – provoking, showing that it’s not so difficult to test your limits and to simply enjoy and appreciate what the world has on offer. I’m already looking forward to next Olivia Beirne’s novel, she’s certainly one to watch.