Blog Tour Review: The Widow of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Welcome to my stop on the blog tour. Thank you to HQ Stories for the invitation to take part and my copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS:

A town gripped by fear. A woman accused of murder. Who can save Pale Harbour from itself?

1846. Desperate to escape the ghosts of his past, Gabriel Stone takes a position as a minister in the remote Pale Harbour, but not all is as it seems in the sleepy town.

As soon as Gabriel sets foot in the town, he can’t escape the rumours about the mysterious Sophy Carver, a young widow who lives in the eerie Carver Castle: whispers that she killed her husband, mutterings that she might even be a witch.

But as strange, unsettling events escalate into murder, Gabriel finds himself falling under Sophy’s spell. As clues start to point to Sophy as the next  victim, Gabriel realises he must find answers before anyone else turns up dead.

MY REVIEW:

Witchcraft, suspicion and secrets abound in this dark, atmospheric thriller that is a perfect autumn read. 

“He wasn’t sure why he was drawn to the house on the hill, but his feet carried him there as if they knew the answer.”

A reclusive, wealthy widow that is the subject of whispered accusations and rumour, and a transcendentalist minister new to town and in search of redemption, are our narrators in this shadowy tale. As soon as Gabriel Stone, a widower himself, hears the rumours about Sophroina ‘Sophy’ Carver he is fascinated by the curious widow who lives a reclusive life on the hill. From the moment they meet there is a spark between them and the pair find themselves dreaming up ways to see each other.

As the pair become increasingly smitten,  the mystery of the dead animals and birds and the effergies left around the town deepens. The townspeople are still convinced it can only be Sophy and think that she has bewitched Gabriel, but he sees how she is being targeted and, as they try to fight their feelings, they begin to work together in secret to search for answers. But, as things escalate, people are found dead and notes reveal Sophy is in their sights, the search for the culprit takes becomes imperative. 

“Now that she had broken through her wall of fear, the freedom was intoxicating.”

I loved the character of Sophy. She has been damaged by what has happened in her life but seems to glide above it all gracefully. She is misunderstood and maltreated but remains kind, quietly doing what she can to help those she cares for. Gabriel took me some time to warm up to. I didn’t dislike him, but I didn’t really care for him either at first. But as he found the voice to stand against the entire town in defense of Sophy, I began to see his strength and decency shine through. There were some great secondary characters in this novel too. One that stood out for me was Helen, Sophy’s maid and companion. She’s a strange character and I was never quite sure if I trusted her or if I was misinterpreting her over-protectiveness to be something sinister. I like that she wasn’t someone I could figure out, just like I couldn’t shake my suspicions of a number of the others.

“It was not a particularly welcoming place, but now a sense of wrongness took hold of him, as if he were not supposed to be here. As if something did not want him here.”

Part romance and part mystery, this historical, Gothic fiction novel has all the right ingredients for spooky read. The author builds vivid imagery of Pale Harbour as ghostly and unwelcoming from the start. It isn’t a place I’d want to wander through alone at night. Despite this the book started started slower than I would have liked, and for a long time it felt like the love story rather than a gothic novel. But as the author turned up the suspense and built up the eerie and foreboding atmosphere I love in Gothic fiction, I found myself turning the pages as fast as possible and unable to put the book down. I was hooked and on the edge of my seat as we reached the heart-stopping conclusion. 

Publication Date: October 17th

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Hester Fox comes to writing from a background in the museum field as a collections maintenance technician.

This job has taken her from historic houses to fine art museums, where she has the privilege of cleaning and caring for collections that range from paintings by old masters, to ancient artefacts, to early American furniture.

She is a keen painter and has a master’s degree in historical archaeology, as well as a background in Medieval studies and art history. Hester lives outside of Boston with her husband and two cats.

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Blog Tour Review: The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this spectacular novel. Thank you to Anne at Random Things Tours for my invitation to take part and to Simon & Schuster UK for my copy of the novel.

SYNOPSIS:

***The epic and long awaited new romance from the author of Letters to the Lost, winner of the RNA award***

  1. The war is over and a new generation is coming of age, keen to put the trauma of the previous one behind them.

Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing whose life is dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure; to parties and drinking and staying just the right side of scandal. Lawrence Weston is a struggling artist, desperate to escape the poverty of his upbringing and make something of himself. When their worlds collide one summer night, neither can resist the thrill of the forbidden, the lure of the love affair that they know cannot possibly last. 

But there is a dark side to pleasure and a price to be paid for breaking the rules. By the end of that summer everything has changed. 

A decade later, nine-year-old Alice is staying at Blackwood Hall with her distant grandparents, piecing together clues from her mother’s letters to discover the secrets of the past, the truth about the present, and hope for the future.

MY REVIEW:

Wow! This was my first read by Iona Grey and she left me stunned with this enchanting, poignant and breathtaking novel that is every bit as beautiful on the inside, as it is on the outside. 

Atmospheric, luminous, hedonistic, glittering and affecting, this is a love story, a tragedy and a journey of self-discovery. Moving between the summer of 1925 and the year 1936, we learn the story of the secrets Alice Carew’s mother Selina has kept for over a decade. 

What was at the heart of this novel is love: a love between two people from opposite social classes and the love between a mother and daughter. The two very different love stories that were told were equally moving, compelling and heartbreaking. The author also shows us the many different faces of love throughout the story: sexual love, maternal love, the love between friends, dutiful love, love that is controlling and undying love. We all love in many different ways that vary not only depending on our personality, but the roles different people play in our lives and I loved how many examples of these, as well as the impact they have on our lives, were shown throughout the story.

There were many wonderful characters in this book and I felt like the author vividly brought each of them to life through her exquisite writing. They felt real to me. I could hear their voices and see them like I was watching a movie; which this should definitely be turned into in my opinion. From the start I felt bad for Alice being all alone in that big house with her aloof grandparents and strict governess for company. Thankfully, she has the comfort of her mother’s faithful maid and friend, Polly, and the secret letters from her mother. It’s clear her mother is the only person she’s ever felt loved by so being separated for so long is bound to be difficult. Selina was an ambiguous character that I felt a range of emotions for. She’s integral to the story and watching as she grew from a self-focused young woman into a devoted mother was fascinating. I loved her group of friends and one of them was by far my favourite character. The fabulous Theo was over the top in every way and brightened any scene he was in. 

The Glittering Hours is my favourite book so far this month and is one of my books of the year. Insightful, romantic, heartrending and magnificent, this is also a fun, bawdy romp that transported me into the roaring twenties, giving a lively look at the glamour, glitz and decadence of the era. 

Out October 17th in Paperback.

Out on Kindle and in Hardback now.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Iona Grey has a degree in English Literature and Language from Manchester University, an obsession with history and an enduring fascination with the lives of women in the twentieth century. She lives in rural Cheshire with her husband and three daughters. She tweets @iona_grey

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Blog Tour Review: The Birthday House by Jill Treseder ⭐⭐⭐.5

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Today is my stop on the blog tour for this novella. Thank you to Anne Cater of Random Things Blog Tours for the invitation to take part, and to Anne and Silverwood Books for my copy of this novella. 

SYNOPSIS:

A friendship. A murder. A life that will never be the same.

The year is 1955, the location picturesque Devon. In a house by the River Dart, schoolgirl Josephine Kennedy posts invitations to her twelfth birthday party – a party that never takes place. Horrific violence is committed that night in the family home, leaving all of its occupants dead.

Based on a disturbing real-life crime, this compelling story explores Josephine’s fate through the prism of friends and family – the victims and survivors who unwittingly influence the events that led up to the tragedy.

Josephine’s best friend, Susan, is haunted by the secrets of the birthday house. Can she ever find a way of making peace with the past?

MY REVIEW:

As a true crime junkie my interest was piqued when I received the email about this book. I had never heard of the crime that it is based on, but I loved the idea of a work of fiction based on true events that explores not only the crime itself, but the effects on those who were left behind to grieve and wonder what they could have done to prevent it happening. 

This novella is a character study of family, friendships, betrayal, grief and mental illness. It was engaging, fascinating and wonderfully written. The beautiful setting of Devon is a striking contrast to the darkness of the murders. Told from multiple points of view that move between dual timelines, we first see the story unfold from the eyes of Susan, Josephine’s best friend, in the present day. Now an adult, she is looking back at what was taken from her and her friend that day, and wondering how different life would be if Josephine was still alive. Susan wasn’t told the truth about how her friend died at first and only learned the extent of what she went through many years later. She ponders on how this has shaped her grieving process and who she is, and looks back at her memories of her best friend while trying to understand what drove an adoring father to kill his family.

Reading the different points of view enabled the reader an understanding that many of those who were left behind never had. All of the Kennedy family narrate chapters that lead us right up until their final moments. Pamela Kennedy is a dutiful wife and loving mother. She tells us about her marriage, what happens behind closed doors, and the things she never dares to say out loud, especially in the months leading to her death. Josephine Kennedy loves her Daddy but not his “monster moods”. She tells us her worries about him, about her best friend Susan and her hopes for the future before her life is cruelly snatched from her. Harold Kennedy was a troubled, angry man who, despite his adoration for his wife and daughter, is someone they fear and tiptoe around. The turmoil he carried inside was overwhelming and these insights into his thoughts made events all the more tragic and heartbreaking for me and his chapter was the most interesting of all. 

The Birthday House offers an intriguing analysis of what motivates a man to kill his entire family and illustrates how we can influence other people and events without realising, sometimes with disastrous results. It is a dark, poignant and heart-rending read that I would recommend to anyone interested in these subjects and crime. 

One last thing: reading the author’s notes at the end of this book is essential. In it she explains more about the real-life crime on which the book is based, and her reasons for writing about it in this way. 

Out now.

Jill Treseder Author Picture

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

(from http://www.jilltresederwriter.com)

I started writing in a red shiny exercise book when I was seven years old. But in that time and place it was an ‘invalid’ activity, was overlooked, but never went away. It was many years before I felt able to call myself ‘writer’.

But there came a day when the phrase ‘I am a writer’ no longer sounded pretentious, but legitimate, and even necessary. Was it because I had a writing room instead of the corner of a landing? Or because I spent more time writing? Or because I’d got better at it? Or because I get miserable and bad-tempered if I don’t write? Probably a combination of all of the above.

Writing is my third career. The first was as a social worker with children and families, a job I loved, but left because I could no longer cope with the system.

This led to a freelance career as an independent management consultant, helping people to handle emotions in the work context. I worked in the IT industry, in companies large and small, as well as public organisations. Later I became involved in research projects concerned with the multi-disciplinary approach to social problems such as child abuse. So, in a sense, I had come full-circle.

All these experiences feed into the process of writing fiction, while my non-fiction book ‘The Wise Woman Within’ resulted indirectly from the consultancy work and my subsequent PhD thesis,‘Bridging Incommensurable Paradigms’, which is available from the School of Management at the University of Bath.

I live in Devon and visit Cornwall frequently and these land and seascapes are powerful influences which demand a presence in my writing.

Writers’ groups and workshops are a further invaluable source of inspiration and support and I attend various groups locally and sign up for creative courses in stunning locations whenever I can. I try doing writing practice at home but there is no substitute for the focus and discipline achieved among others in a group.

I have written some short stories and recently signed up for a short story writing course to explore this genre in more depth.

I live with my husband in South Devon and enjoy being involved in a lively local community.

Twitter @Jill_Treseder

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Blog Tour Review: The Family by Louise Jensen ⭐⭐⭐⭐.5

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SYNOPSIS:

ONCE YOU’RE IN, THEY’LL NEVER LET YOU LEAVE.

Laura is grieving after the sudden death of her husband. Struggling to cope emotionally and financially, Laura is grateful when a local community, Oak Leaf Organics, offer her and her 17-year-old daughter Tilly a home.

But as Laura and Tilly settle into life with their new ‘family’, sinister things begin to happen. When one of the community dies in suspicious circumstances Laura wants to leave, but Tilly, enthralled by the charismatic leader Alex, refuses to go.

Desperately searching for a way to save her daughter, Laura uncovers a horrifying secret but Alex and his family aren’t the only ones with something to hide. Just as Laura has been digging into their past, they’ve been digging into hers.and she discovers the terrifying reason they invited her and Tilly in, and why they’ll never let them leave.

MY REVIEW:

Family. Secrets. Lies. Cults. Death. Revenge.

As soon as I read the chilling synopsis and saw the eerie cover I knew I HAD to read this book. Shadowy, sinister, claustrophobic, and dripping with suspense, this was an intoxicating and involving read. 

Louise Jensen is an author who’s been on my radar for a while, but somehow I’ve never quite got around to reading one of her books. I am so glad I finally did and that it was this book. The Family is a sharp, well plotted and twisty novel, and a cunning hall of mirrors experience that I couldn’t put down. Right up until the final page she had me guessing and on the edge of my seat.

I read a lot of thrillers and I always think that reading a story where the characters are trapped in a situation or place elevates the tension. Laura and Tilly are slowly lured into their new “family” and imprisoned in the community. It happens with such subtlety that it takes them a while to see the warning signs, and some they don’t see at all. 

The story is told from multiple points of view which is something I always enjoy. I love getting a glimpse into the minds of the characters and trying to ascertain if they are reliable in what they’re saying. I also find it fascinating to read the same event from different points of view and in this book I particularly enjoyed doing so from a mother and daughter perspective as there viewpoints were inevitably very unalike. As a mother of  teenagers these glaring contrasts were thought provoking and a great reminder of the fact that how we intend things is not always how it comes across or is received.

The believability of this story is a testament to the author’s talent. All the characters had depth and I thought she chose her narrators perfectly. Laura is vulnerable, helpless and desperate and her daughter is both her weakness and her strength. She’s only there for a short-term fix and never fully buys into what they’re selling her. Tilly is feeling isolated, confused and angry. Her pain is palpable and her fierce need for acceptance sees her drinking the kool-aid quickly while also falling under Alex’s spell. Alex is the perfect cult leader and villain. He’s magnetic, charming and affable but the readers also get to see his inner turmoil and flagitious nature. Together they are a perfect storm. 

So, if you’re looking for something creepy and dark to read on a cold autumn night, I would highly recommend this jaw-dropping and unnerving thriller. 

Thank you to HQ for my invitation to take part in the blog tour and gifted copy of this novel.

Out now.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Louise Jensen has sold over a million English language copies of her International No. 1 psychological thrillers The Sister, The Gift, The Surrogate and The Date. Her novels have also been translated into twenty-five languages, as well as featuring on the USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestseller’s List. Louise’s fifth thriller, The Family, will be published in Autumn 2019 by Harper Collins.

The Sister was nominated for the Goodreads Debut Author of 2016 Award. The Date was nominated for The Guardian’s ‘Not The Booker’ Prize 2018. The Surrogate has been nominated for the best Polish thriller of 2018. The Gift has been optioned for a TV film.

Louise lives with her husband, children, madcap dog and a rather naughty cat in Northamptonshire. She loves to hear from readers and writers.

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Blog Tour Review: Call Me Evie by J. P. Pomare ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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I had seen a lot of buzz on bookstagram about this novel at the start of the year, so in April I was excited to be approved for an arc copy and eager to read the book for myself. Six months later I’m delighted to be taking part in the Instagram blog tour for the paperback release of this riveting thriller.  

Thank you to Millie at Little Brown Book Group for the invitation to take part and my gifted copy of this book.

SYNOPSIS

‘Literary suspense as dark and fresh as midnight in winter, with a merciless twist-of-the-knife finale. One of the most striking debuts I’ve read in years.’ – A. J. Finn

In this compulsive, twist-filled and haunting psychological suspense debut, a seventeen-year-old girl struggles to remember the role she played the night her life changed forever…

Don’t trust him. It wasn’t me. It couldn’t have been me.

Meet Evie, a young woman who has fled with her uncle to the isolated New Zealand beach town of Maketu.  Jim says he’s hiding her to protect her, that she did something terrible back home in Melbourne. Something Evie can’t remember.

But Evie isn’t her real name. And Jim isn’t really her uncle.

In a house that creaks against the wind, Evie pieces together the events that led her here. And as her memories return she starts to wonder if Jim is really her saviour …or her captor.

A riveting debut novel that fearlessly plumbs the darkest recesses of the mind. Call Me Evie explores the fragility of memory and the potential in all of us to hide the truth even from ourselves.

MY REVIEW:

The book is narrated by Evie and is split into “before” and “after” the night that she did something terrible. We have no idea what she did, or in fact if she actually did it, and that made the book very confusing for me at first. I found it hard to follow what was happening and it was hindering my enjoyment, but I never give up on a book before I’m a quarter of the way through and I was intrigued by the plot. Soon the story began to flow more smoothly and I was completely hooked and immersed in Evie’s situation.

“He’s trapped me in the nineties.”

The book starts with Kate, who is now going by Evie to hide her identity, having her head shaved by a man she says she once loved. She’d tried to run from the house in the secluded beach town that he’s brought her to but he found her and reminds her that “they” are looking for her and she isn’t safe. She’s skinny and he gives her juices with a powder he tells her will help her gain weight. He also takes her to the doctor and she’s prescribed antidepressants but the man, who she decides to call Jim, refuses the doctor’s suggestion that she see a psychologist. He tells her he’s helping her heal mentally and she doesn’t need to see anyone else.

When Evie begins to tell us the story of before the incident she begins by taking us back to  her first memory: at five years old her Nanny left her alone in the bath for a few moments and she poured scalding water onto herself, scarring her for life. Not long after her mother died and her father retired from his professional rugby career to work in finance and raise her himself. 

Back in the present Evie is starting to remember little bits about that night: drinking, the mysterious ‘him’ lying face down with blood spreading under his head and  herself in the car. She’s afraid to remember more even though she is sure she didn’t do anything bad, that it had to be Jim and he’s lying to her. She writes letters that Jim sends back to Melbourne which are full of confusion and fear as Evie talks vaguely about what happened and tries to grapple with what the truth is of that inauspicious night.  She is determined to escape as she becomes increasingly sure that Jim is lying to her and holding her captive rather than protecting her. But who can she trust? And when she sees what’s being written about her online she is once again unsure where to turn and what’s real.

As the book goes on we learn more about Evie’s life growing up in Melbourne, her relationship with her dad, friendships and blossoming relationship with a boy named Thom. But we still don’t know much about that night or who Jim really is. I had my suspicions but I found they vacillated as the story went on.

“Sometimes if you bite into a joke you find a stone of truth at the centre.” 

This was a strange book at times but highly addictive and I devoured it in one sitting. I needed to fit the pieces of the puzzle together, to know what Evie supposedly did, if she did it, if I was right about who Jim was, and if people were really after her. I wasn’t prepared for the shocking twists in this story or how the one I had guessed correctly would play out. I was completely blindsided. The complex plot and multifaceted characters are cleverly written and you are kept guessing until the final sentence. 

Call Me Evie is a story about love, anger, fear, truth and lies. It makes you question the truth of your own memories and what reality is. A spectacular debut that I can see making a great movie. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves mystery and thrillers.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

J P Pomare grew up on a horse-racing farm in small town New Zealand with his three older siblings and his father. He left for Melbourne where he developed his craft, entrenching himself in the Australian literary community. For almost two years he produced and hosted a podcast called On Writing, interviewing almost thirty local and international authors including Joyce Carol Oates, John Safran, Dorthe Nors, E Lockheart, Chris Wormersley, and Sofie Laguna.

J P Pomare has been published in several journals including  Meanjin, Kill Your Darlings, Takahe, and Mascara Literary Review. He has also won, and been short and long listed for a number of prizes include the KYD Unpublished Manuscript Prize. Call Me Evie is his first novel.

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September Wrap Up 

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It’s the end of another month. Autumn is well and truly settling in here in England and it feels like the time for hot chocolate, cosy blankets and spooky reads. I admit I’m missing the sun already though. 

September has been a really busy for me. I’ve read 11 books, taken part in 12 blog tours, and have been to two book events.

First I’ll start with what I read this month:

  • The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Woman Upstairs by Ruth Heald ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Ask Again Yes by Mary Beth Keane ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫
  • The Bad Place by MK Hill ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Testaments by Margaret Atwood ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • Postscript by Cecelia Ahern ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫
  • The Flower Arranger by JJ Ellis ⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • My Judy Garland Life by Susie Boyt ⭐⭐⭐💫
  • The Liar’s Sister by Sarah A. Denzil ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫
  • I Wanted You To Know by Laura Pearson ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
  • The Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen ⭐⭐⭐⭐

My favourite book this month was The Testaments, but I Wanted You To Know and Postscript were the two others I loved most of all. 

I’ve loved taking part in so many blog tours this month but realise that I took on too many for one month. I’m being stricter about how many I do each month now and in October I have blog tours for 6 books and one novella. So keep an eye out for those reviews. 

I went to two fantastic book events this month. The first was to hear Sara Collins speak about her book The Confessions of Frannie Langton at the Festival of Women’s Writing in Hawarth on September 21st. This was my second time hearing Sara speak and again she blew me away with how intelligent, interesting and friendly she was. I took my Mum along and it was her first book event. She loved every minute and went straight home with my copy of the book to read for herself. I’m hoping it’s the start of more events together. 

The second event was one I still can’t believe I’ve been too. On September 26th I went to the VIP Launch Party for The Foundling, the new novel by Stacey Halls, which is out early next year. The Familiars was my favourite book this year so to be able to not only meet the author, but go to the launch of her next book was incredible. The event took place at Brunswik House which is a beautiful Georgean setting that couldn’t have been more perfect for the book. Stacey was so lovely and spent time talking to every single person there. Hearing her talk about her inspiration for the new novel and read from it has me so excited to dive in, but I’m making myself wait until nearer publication. I attended this event with my blogger friend, Beth, and we met some other bloggers we talk to online and an author that we didn’t realise would be there. The staff from Zaffre were all so friendly and I had some great conversations with some of them. This was my first book launch and they gave whatever launch I attend next a lot to live up to. The Foundling is out February 6th 2020.

So as you can see, September has been a great month. I’ve got some great books I’m planning to read next month and am attending an event in Nottingham where I’ll see Jessie Burton and Laura Purcell – two of my favourite authors. 

Have you read any of the books I read this month or did you attend any book events? Let me know in the comments below.

Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for my gifted books, and Tracey at Compulsive Readers, Anne at Random Things Blog Tours, Peyton at Agora books and Blogger HQ for the invitations to take part in the blog tours. A big thank you to Ellen at Zaffre for my invitation to The Foundling launch party.

Blog Tour Review: I Wanted You To Know by Laura Pearson ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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I’m delighted to share my review for this beautiful story today. Thank you to Peyton at Agora Books for the invitation to take part in the blog tour and the photo, and NetGalley and Agora Books for my copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

SYNOPSIS:

Dear Edie, I wanted you to know so many things. I wanted to tell you in person, as you grew. But it wasn’t to be.

Jess never imagined she’d be navigating single motherhood, let alone whilst facing breast cancer. A life that should be just beginning is interrupted by worried looks, heavy conversations, and the possibility of leaving her daughter alone to grow up without her.

Propelled by a ticking clock, Jess knows what she has to do: tell her daughter everything. How to love, how to lose, how to forgive, and, most importantly, how to live when you never know how long you have. 

From best-selling author Laura Pearson comes her most devastating book yet. Honest, heart-wrenching, and emotionally raw, I Wanted You To Know is a love letter to life: to all its heartache and beauty, to the people we have and lose, to the memories and moments that define us.

I Wanted You to Know is Laura Pearson’s third novel.

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MY REVIEW:

This book broke me. It reached into my heart and soul and took my breath away, making me cry a river of tears along the way. As soon as I read the raw and powerful opening letter from the author to the reader, I was already needing tissues and knew I was in for an emotional ride. 

What would you want your child to know if you found out you weren’t going to be there as they grew up? That is the heartbreaking question addressed in this mesmerising and poignant novel. 

Twenty-one-year-old Jess is getting to grips with being a single mum to baby Edie when the rug is pulled from under her and she’s told she has breast cancer. Never in her wildest dreams did she imagine she’d be facing a fight for her life so young or so soon after becoming a mother. What will happen to Edie? What about all the things she wanted her to know? So, she decides to write to her daughter. Beginning each letter with the words “Dear Edie, I wanted you to know…” she imparts the wisdom she thinks her daughter will need about life and love, while also telling her who her mother was so she will have a chance to know her even after she’s gone. Jess is open and honest in these letters, never shying away from her own flaws and mistakes and sharing her fears about having cancer.

As well as these letters, we follow Jess from the day of her diagnosis, her attempt to come to terms with the awful news, her fight against the disease, and her relationships with those closest to her. I don’t want to say too much about what happens on that journey as part of the beauty of this book was discovering that. 

I loved the author’s decision to blend prose and letters as it made this book all the more moving by helping me connect with Jess’s character on a deeper level. Jess was real to me and I was completely invested in her story.  As a mother, I couldn’t help putting myself in her place and my children in Edie’s, and this was not only devastating, but gave me an admiration for the strength she possesses and dignity with which she carries herself. But I also liked that she had many layers and flaws, which only endeared her to me. I felt quite maternal towards Jess and while writing this I realise I’m probably about the age her mother is in the story, so that makes sense. I wanted to reach through the pages to comfort her and tell her how amazing she is and spent the whole book hoping for a happy ending for this young girl. 

This isn’t a book that shouts from the rooftops and makes your heart race. It is one that has a more soft and subtle allure and draws you in with the feeling that radiates from its pages. I anticipated an emotional novel but I was not expecting to be so moved that I had to read the last part of it with tears streaming down my cheeks or feel so ravaged when the story ended. 

What I want you to know is that I highly recommend this book. Just make sure to have the tissues handy and be prepared for possibly finding a new must read author – just like I have. 

Finally, I want to address the author herself: Laura, I am in awe of your bravery and strength in writing this novel. You are an exceptional writer and inspirational woman. You not only conveyed Jess’s feelings so acutely that they lept off the page, but you did the same with every single character. The pain, grief, anger and regret was palpable and made me a wreck as I read it. I will never forget this story or the way it made me feel. Thank you for writing it and sharing it with the world. 

Publication date October 3rd. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Laura Pearson has an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Chichester. She spent a decade living in London and working as a copywriter and editor for QVC, Expedia, Net a Porter, EE, and The Ministry of Justice. Now, she lives in Leicestershire, where she writes novels, blogs about her experience of breast cancer (www.breastcancerandbaby.com), runs The Motherload Book Club, and tries to work out how to raise her two children.

I Wanted You To Know (Final eBook)