The Girl at the Window by Rowan Coleman

I’ll admit it wasn’t at all what I was expecting. In fact I thought it was going to be an homage to Hitchcock, because of the title. Instead I was surprised to find an intricate story, actually a Russian doll like story. It was a story based on a classic story, which in turn had a story inside it. Very much a Faberge egg of literary surprises, and most certainly an homage to the legacy of Emily Brontë.

What flows throughout the book is the love, adoration and admiration Coleman has for the Brontë sisters, in particular Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, and of course Ponden Hall. Historical facts are woven into the fictional story seamlessly to the point where the reader is absolutely on board with the possibility that it could be true. And I also admit to googling pics of Ponden Hall, the bed and the window, after reading this.

One of points the author builds into the plot is the question about whether antique and first edition books should be kept secluded from the public in private collections or should the public be allowed to enjoy the magical pleasure of such precious items. There is something mystical about seeing (touching is not allowed) and being around antique books.

This is a ghost story, a thriller, and it’s historical fiction. It is also very much a love story – love for Emily Brontë. There are parallels between the story Emily finds and the one she writes. The destructive power of obsessive love, which readers often read with a romantic pair of spectacles on instead of seeing things in the cold light of day. It’s certainly a captivating read.

Buy The Girl at the Window at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Ebury Press – Paperback pub date 8 Aug. 2019. Ebury Digital pub date 27 Jun. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Follow on @rowancoleman on Twitter, on Goodreads, Visit rowancoleman.co.uk

What Red Was by Rosie Price

what red wasThe way Price approached the rape and the reaction of the victim to the rape is done in a very specific way, and perhaps not the way the majority of readers will expect it be addressed.

The focus is on everything and everyone surrounding the event and Kate. Every single person, event and item is described in minutiae barring the most poignant one. It shifts the attention on the reactions and emotions of everyone except victim and perpetrator.

I found it an intriguing way to approach the topic, especially because in reality this is often what happens. The trauma of a rape never just belongs to the person it most certainly should belong to. Family members, loved ones, friends and acquaintances – everyone thinks they are entitled to not only an opinion, but also to own a part of the trauma.

As Kate fights to come to terms with the reality of what happened and the way it might change her life if she reveals the truth

Whose story is it to share? Does it belong to the person it happened to, the person who did it or does it belong to the general public? This is the real question that arises from the entire situation. As if it’s some sort of public service to inform, to judge and to bare all. Even at the expense of the victim.

One of the pivotal points of the story is the platonic relationship between Max and Kate and the repercussions of the assault on said relationship. The equilibrium between them is destroyed, but only one of them is aware of that fact.

This is an engaging piece of contemporary fiction with a noirish quality to it.

Buy What Red Was at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Harvill Secker; 9 May 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Library of the Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick. It’s an intricate contemporary read, a mystery.

About the Author

Phaedra Patrick studied art and marketing and has worked as a stained glass artist, film festival organiser and communications manager. Her short stories have won competitions run by Penguin and Darley Anderson and she now writes full time. She lives in Saddleworth with her husband and son.

Follow @phaedrapatrick on Twitter, on Facebook, on Goodreads,Visit phaedra-patrick.com, Buy The Library of Lost and Found 

About the book

Librarian Martha Storm has always found it easier to connect with books than people–though not for lack of trying. She keeps careful lists of how to help others in her superhero-themed notebook. And yet, sometimes it feels like she’s invisible. All of that changes when a book of fairy tales arrives on her doorstep.

Inside, Martha finds a dedication written to her by her best friend–her grandmother Zelda–who died under mysterious circumstances years earlier. When Martha discovers a clue within the book that her grandmother may still be alive, she becomes determined to discover the truth. As she delves deeper into Zelda’s past, she unwittingly reveals a family secret that will change her life forever.

Filled with Phaedra Patrick’s signature charm and vivid characters, The Library of Lost and Found is a heart-warming reminder that even the quietest life has the potential to be extraordinary.Review

Martha does everything for everyone. Their laundry, sewing, fixing costumes, baking and any other thing she thinks will help others. Except there is a fine line between helping and be taken advantage of.

That’s is the crux of Martha’s problems, she is unable or unwilling to stand up for herself. A lifetime of being oppressed and of kow-towing to her father, putting her needs last and playing by rules made by others. It has made her a target for those who like to bully, use and abuse.

The other side of her helping out is the way her inability to say no impacts her living situation. It appears to be quirky and eccentric at first, but the truth is perhaps more serious.

Her life changes when a mysterious package is left outside her place of work. It leads her to questions she didn’t know existed or that she needed to know the answers to. To a world behind the truth she knows, the only truth she knows.

Read me, I’m yours.

Would you be able to resist a book with a post-it note reading the aforementioned? I am certain I wouldn’t be able to. The question is why someone would do that. To share the love of reading, to create an invisible thread to the source or is it ego-centric?

It’s all connected to the stories Martha wrote as a child and the fact that she stopped writing them. This story is all about finding your inner mojo, especially when it has been repressed and locked away for many years. Martha comprehends the level of emotional and coercive abuse her mother suffered, but it takes meeting Zelda to finally understand what her father did to her.

It’s a beautiful and heartfelt story about mental health, self-discovery and the kind of secrets that change lives. It’s an intricate contemporary read, a mystery. A family full of secrets, hidden heartache and the soul of a little girl lost in the body of grown woman. The story has a hint of mystique, which in the end is perhaps just the culmination of human mistakes and a love for the written word.

Buy The Library of Lost and Found at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper.

#BlogTour The Promise Between Us by Barbara Claypole White

The Promise Between Us

Two days late and a dollar short – here is my blog post for the BlogTour the Promise Between Us by Barbara Claypole White. It’s a contemporary read and women’s fiction with a focus on mental health.

high resolution.jpgAbout the Author

Bestselling author Barbara Claypole White has created her own idiosyncratic niche in mainstream fiction: hopeful family drama with a healthy dose of mental illness. Originally from England, she writes and gardens in the forests of North Carolina, where she lives with her family. Her novels include:

The Unfinished Garden, Mira Books, 2012, winner of the Golden Quill for Best First Book 2013; The In-Between Hour, Mira Books, 2014, chosen by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance as an Okra Pick; The Perfect Son, Lake Union, 2015, Goodreads Choice Awards Semi-finalist for Best Fiction; Echoes of Family, Lake Union, 2016, WFWA 2017 Star Award Finalist; The Promise Between Us, Lake Union, 2018. (View the book trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLW9XFo0nlg&t=5s)

Barbara is also an OCD advocate for the A2A Alliance, a nonprofit group that promotes advocacy over adversity.

To listen to Barbara’s 2018 interview with Frank Stasio on The State of Things, click here: http://www.wunc.org/post/her-family-grapples-ocd-author-tackles-stereotypes-through-writing?fbclid=IwAR08E-DQ73f31jWBP2uKlix-eFsV7OOSQk_pXfS4uX3kqgnuHkbtVeB1Wvc

To watch Barbara’s 2018 interview with Linda Hurtado on Fox 13, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJUPUBZLCf8&t=33s

For more information on Barbara, please visit www.barbaraclaypolewhite.com

Follow @bclaypolewhite on Twitter, on Instagram, on Facebook,

Buy The Promise Between Us

The Promise Between Us Full Tour Banner

About the book

Metal artist Katie Mack is living a lie. Nine years ago she ran away from her family in Raleigh, North Carolina, consumed by the irrational fear that she would harm Maisie, her newborn daughter. Over time she’s come to grips with the mental illness that nearly destroyed her, and now funnels her pain into her art. Despite longing for Maisie, Katie honors an agreement with the husband she left behind—to change her name and never return.

But when she and Maisie accidentally reunite, Katie can’t ignore the familiarity of her child’s compulsive behavior. Worse, Maisie worries obsessively about bad things happening to her pregnant stepmom. Katie has the power to help, but can she reconnect with the family she abandoned?

To protect Maisie, Katie must face the fears that drove her from home, accept the possibility of love, and risk exposing her heart-wrenching secret.

White-ThePromiseBetweenUs-21872-CV-FT-v8.jpgReview

The core theme throughout the book is fascinating, and I have to say kudos to the author for trying to bring more understanding to the topic and for trying to educate readers. I think walking away from this read plenty of readers will look upon postpartum OCD, anxiety and OCD in general in a completely different way.

I think a lot of mental health conditions are thrown under the umbrella term of OCD, and perhaps equally just as many that belong there aren’t. Claypole White shows the more intrusive and devastating side of the disorder. The side of OCD that is misdiagnosed, misinterpreted and often goes undiagnosed, due to a lack of understanding and information flow. More importantly she also writes about the genetic component to the disorder.

The author shows these quite well when it comes to Maisie. As her anxiety and worries grow her coping mechanisms deteriorate and the symptoms of her OCD multiply. It may manifest itself in a slightly different way to an adult, but it is far more realistic to assume that said symptoms may be confused for something else, such as hormones, teenage years and just being a girl. Yes, that sort of sexism and gender inequality does exist when it comes to young children and teenagers, especially in relation to diagnosing medical or mental health conditions. Heck it still happens in adulthood.

There is no one person to blame for the situation between Katie and her ex-husband, and yet neither of them are blameless either. His refusal to accept the need for therapeutic help isn’t an unusual opinion, unfortunately there is still too much stigma attached to mental health.

It’s a contemporary read and women’s fiction with a focus on mental health. It’s a story about family and what constitutes being a family in a world full of patchwork ones. The meaning of the word family has been redefined over the last few decades. In a way that allows more than just the standard mother, father and child unit to exist, which opens up a better world for all of us.

Buy The Promise Between Us at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Lake Union Publishing’ pub date 16 Jan. 2018. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Because of You by Hélene Fermont

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Because of You by Hélene Fermont. It’s contemporary and women’s fiction.

About the Author

Hélene Fermont writes character-driven psychological crime fiction with a Scandi Noir flavour. Known for her explosive, pacy narrative and storylines, she has published three novels – Because of You, We Never Said Goodbye and His Guilty Secret – and two short story collections – The Love of Her Life and Who’s Sorry Now? Her fourth novel is due for release in the summer of 2019. After 20 years in London, Hélene recently returned to her native Sweden where she finds the unspoiled scenery and tranquillity a therapeutic boost for creativity.

Enjoying a successful career as a Psychologist, when she’s not working her ‘day job’, Hélene spends her time writing, with friends and family, or playing with her beloved cat, Teddy. All three novels can be purchased via her website helenefermont.com/books/

Follow @helenefermont on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, on Pinterest,

Buy Because of You

About the book

How desperate are you to get the one you love?

When Hannah and Ben meet at a friend’s party, he knows she’s The One. But Hannah’s in an intense relationship with Mark and planning to return to her native Sweden to embark on a teaching career.

Desperate to make Ben fall in love with her, rich spoilt heiress Vanessa sets in motion a devious string of events that ultimately changes the course of four people’s lives indefinitely.

Hannah is the love of Ben’s life, yet Vanessa will stop at nothing to claim the man she is convinced is her destiny.

Because of You is a dark, morally complex and cross-generational story of enduring love, fate and destiny.

Review

Before Hannah meets Ben she has a rather tumultuous relationship with Mark. In fact Mark takes up over half of the book.

Let me just say this; Ben, Mark and Linus aren’t exactly excellent examples of male behaviour, yes even Ben now and again. Hannah is inexperienced, which is probably why she has no idea why their behaviour isn’t always that of a gentleman.

Mark’s actions and behaviour aren’t romantic. He has no idea what consent means, he stalks, intimidates and emotionally blackmails Hannah. Unfortunately his behaviour is perceived as that of an enthusiastic and love-struck man. It’s not. Nothing he does can be excused or waved away.

There is some semblance of acknowledgement by Hannah about his behaviour as time goes on, however her decisions are fuelled more by the anti-Semitism that comes her way. The story shows us her journey from a young girl to a woman of experience and strength. The people who have helped to nurture and define her, and the people who tried to keep her from evolving.

One could think that the author believes the harassment and behaviour tropes of the men in this story are romantic, hence expected to titillate and give readers a warm fuzzy feeling. ‘Aww, he is just being a manly man and the silly woman doesn’t know what’s good for her’. Instead it’s a way of shoving the inequality and abusive nature of the relationship right into the spotlight.

It’s contemporary and women’s fiction. For me it didn’t fall into the category of Scandi Noir. It also doesn’t fit into romance, however it is a contemporary read about abuse, anti-Semitism, consent, manipulation, chauvinism, privilege and jealousy. That paints a pretty bleak picture I suppose, but the story also features strong family bonds, friendships, coming of age and discovery of self. It levels out the more darker aspects of the story.

I hope readers, especially younger ones, take something away from this read. The ability to recognise abuse, coercion and oppression when they experience it, and that it has nothing to do with love or romance and everything to do with control.

Buy Because of You at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Fridhem Publishing; pub date 15 Oct. 2018. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Ellie and the Harp Maker by Hazel Prior

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Ellie and the Harp Maker. It’s contemporary fiction, a story about breaking free from the chains of our existence and societal rules.About the Author

Hazel Prior lives on Exmoor with her husband and a huge ginger cat. As well as writing, she works as a harpist.

You can find and follow Hazel at @HaveAHarp on Twitter, Visit hazeltheharpist.co.uk

Buy Ellie and the Harp Maker

About the book

Meet Ellie. She’s perfectly happy with her home and her husband and her quiet life. Happy enough, anyway. Which is why she’s so surprised to find herself drawn to an extraordinary stranger who gives her a gift – and a fresh perspective.

Dan. He thinks all he needs to be happy is the time and space to carry on making harps. Sometimes people buy them, too. But the last thing he expects is for Ellie to walk into his life, a whirlwind with cherry-coloured socks, bringing a string of surprises into his ordered existence.

As Ellie and Dan get to know one another, they begin to see the world – and themselves – in an entirely new way…

Review

What comes to mind when you read this is the simplicity of the interactions, the words, the dialogue and structure of the story.

Whilst it is never referred to in the sense of a diagnosis, it’s clear that Dan doesn’t fit into certain typical stereotypes. He has his own way of living. A perspective through his own lenses, which doesn’t necessarily fit with the general overall perspective the majority of the world has.

The author doesn’t give it or Dan a label, which I found quite refreshing, because that way every reader experiences him in a different way and through their own frame of reference.

His vision of the world and of beauty is envisioned through the works of art, his harps. He doesn’t make them to make money, he creates them because he has a calling. That’s the only way to explain it. His harps have individual identities, each one forged by hand.

When Ellie stumbles upon Dan and his harps she has no idea how it will change her life. It helps her to open up the door to her own wants, needs and dreams. A life controlled, determined and undermined first by her parents and then by her husband. A possessive and abusive husband who doesn’t want her to discover the magic of harps.

On a side-note: Anyone who calls any person, especially a woman Honey-pun deserves to be tarred, feathered, maimed and quartered. I am fairly certain that would drive me to commit the most heinous of crimes. Why did you kill your husband? He called me Honey-pun one too many times.

I couldn’t decide whether I liked the oversimplified writing, however when taking the entirety of the story into consideration it helped to portray and tell the story in a way it needed to be told.

It’s contemporary fiction, a story about breaking free from the chains of our existence and societal rules. It’s also a story about self-discovery and lifting the veil of oppression.

Buy Ellie and the Harp Maker at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.Publisher: Bantam Press; pub date 2 May 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour As Far As the Stars by Virginia Macgregor

It’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour As Far As The Stars by Virginia Macgregor. It’s a YA contemporary read, but also one for all ages.About the Author

Virginia Macgregor: ‘I was brought up in Germany, France and England by a mother who never stopped telling stories.  From the moment I was old enough to hold a pen, I set about writing my own, often late into the night – or behind my Maths textbook at school.  My maiden name is Virginia Woods: I was named after two great women, Virginia Wade and Virginia Woolf, in the hope I would be a writer and a tennis star. My early years were those of a scribbling, rain-loving child who prayed for lightning to strike my tennis coach.

After studying at Oxford, I started writing regularly whilst working as an English Teacher and Housemistress.  I taught in three major UK boarding schools for ten years until I met my husband who, as I like to say, ‘loved me into being a writer.’ He persuaded me to take year out to write full time. By the end of that year I had a publishing deal for my first novel, What Milo Saw, with Sphere of Little, Brown and two years later I landed a deal with HarperCollins for my first YA novel, Wishbones. I now write full time.

To date, I have published five novels: What Milo Saw, The Return of Norah Wells, Before I Was Yours, You Found Me and Wishbones. In 2019 I will be publishing my second YA novel, As Far As The Stars and my fifth novel for adults: The Children’s Secret: these last two novels are my first set in the US, which is where I now live with my husband and my children.’

Follow @virginiawrites @HQStories @Harper360 on Twitter, on Instagram, on Facebook, Visit virginiamacgregor.com

Buy As Far as The Stars

About the book

How do you change what’s already written in the stars?

Christopher is the sort of guy that no one notices, yet when Air catches sight of him making intricate paper birds in the airport, she can’t look away.

But their worlds are about to collide in ways they never expected. Someone they love is on Flight 0217 from London Heathrow. And it’s missing.

Convinced that her brother was on a different flight, Air drives them hundreds of miles across the country, on a trip that will change their lives forever.

But how do you tell the person you’re falling for that you might just be the reason their life has fallen apart?

Q&A

Before we get down to business (i.e. talking about your book) I would like to ask a set of questions I call ‘Breaking the Ice.’

The last book you read? (Inquisitive bookworms would like to know) I’m currently reading All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It was recommended to me by a reader who read What Milo Saw, my first novel, as it has some themes in common: a child narrator in an adult book and the amazing resources of a child who is, or is going blind. It’s one of the most beautifully written books I’ve read in a long time: hugely moving, so intricate and a timely reminder of the atrocities that can come from extremism. It rightly won the Pulitzer prize. I’m going to press it into the hands of any friends who haven’t yet read it. 

The last movie you watched, which you felt left a mark (in your heart, soul, wallet…you name it)?  I recently watched Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. My husband is a big Martin McDonagh fan and I watched it more for him than for me – I thought it would be another one of those clever dark comedies that wouldn’t sit quite right with me. But I was proved wrong. The unrelenting love of a mother for her daughter and her longing to get justice for her, was beautifully and painfully rendered by Frances McDormand.

Writers or books who have inspired you to put pen to paper? So, so many book and writers have inspired me. Writers range from Barbara Kingsolver, Jon McGregor, Anne Tyler, Carol Shields to Shakespeare and Michael Ondaatje and Roald Dahl. From when, as a child, I worked out that there were writers behind the stories I loved and that writing stories was their job, there was no going back: I decided that that was what I wanted to do. 

Which famous person (dead, alive, barely kicking) would you most like to meet? Leondardo Di Vinci: I’m totally in awe of how he managed to fuse art and science and how he understood the world long before his time. A total genius.

A famous declutterer a la Marie Kondo has decided to help you organise your home – you have to get rid of all but three of your books (the ones you have written yourself are exempt) which three would you pick and why? Well, first, I’d never let her do that! She can have my clothes and my kids’ toys and all the funny shaped cake tins I’ve only used once but she’s keeping her hands off my books! But if I had to give you an answer, I’d pick the following (and every day I’d give you a different answer): 

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. This book taught me about how powerful writing from multiple viewpoints can be – the story is told through the voice of five women, a mother and her four children. It’s a novel that has it all. Amazing characterisation. An epic storyline. An extraordinary sense of place. Universal themes that will be as relevant tomorrow as they were when they were written. And a book that makes you really feel deeply. I cried buckets when reading this novel. 

The Selected Poetry of Mary Oliver. Poetry has that magical quality of revealing new truths every time its read and Mary Oliver’s poetry is just so beautiful – she makes us look at the natural world more closely and gives us so much joy and hope through her beautiful language. She also lived and wrote about New England, which is now where I live.

The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson – my favourite children’s book of all time: about as perfect a story as a gets. Courage. Love. Adventure. Friendship. Kindness.

All of the above questions are actually a pretty elaborate pysch evaluation disguised as random questions. Have no fear here come the real ones. Let’s talk about As Far As The Stars.

Let me just take this opportunity to tell you how much I enjoyed your book.

Can you tell us a little bit about your inspiration for this story? I’ve always wanted to write a story of first love (I’m a hopeless romantic), so it’s been brewing for a while. But I didn’t want it to be a saccharine or clichéd. So, I waited until I had an idea that would make that first love come to life in an original way. I then became fascinated by how strangers are thrown together in the aftermath of a tragedy: how they go from not knowing each other at all to, sometimes, sharing the most intimate experience of their lives. When the Malaysian airliner went missing in 2014, I wondered how the friends and relatives of the crew and passengers would feel, not knowing what had happened to their loved ones or where they were and having to come to terms with the fact that they might never see them again or recover their bodies. There is also something a bit mysterious about how a big lump of metal can just vanish like that without a trace. All these ideas came together and formed the starting point for As Far As The Stars. 

There are quite a few important storylines in As Far As the Stars. The guilt Air feels, the relationships between the siblings, the relationship between Air and Christopher and the grief they both feel. Which one is the most important to you?For me, all the strands work together but if I had to choose one it would, of course, be the relationship between Air and Christopher: meeting each other changes their lives forever. I loved writing about how these two young people fall in love – and grow and change as their relationship deepens.

Leading on from that, what would you like readers to take away from this story? To be open to the strangers whose lives collide with yours – how those people might just become the most important people in your life. And how, even in the darkest moments, when you experience a loss from which you think you will never recover, there is hope.

Air takes Christopher on an odd sort of nostalgic road trip. Is it because she wants to find Blake at these special locations or feel him there, or perhaps both? Air is in denial about what’s happened to Blake. She is forever convincing herself that he’s going to be okay – so much so that the reader keeps hoping too. But deep down, I think she does know and that visiting these places and showing them to Christopher is her way of clinging onto Blake and trying to keep him alive. 

You disentangle the hierarchy and complex relationships between Blake, Jude and Air.  Why is that so important in this story? I love that you picked this up! The novelist, Anne Tyler, once said that the most interesting character question, for her, is birth order. In February I gave birth to my third child: a little brother to my two older girls. I wrote much of As Far As The Stars when I was pregnant with him and, as I sat there writing and growing my baby boy, I gave lots of thought to how children are affected by where they fall in the family and how my three would be affected by each other. I think I was trying to work out the psychology of my kids through my characters!

Grief plays a pivotal role throughout the story. It’s different for each character and their reactions fuel the story.  You weave emotions of attraction, shock, pain and grief to drive the characters and the story. Was this the way you envisaged it or did the story evolve that way? Psychologists often write about the stages of grief that people go through when they experience a great loss. When researching this I realised that people don’t always go through those stages in the same order or at the same time: that grief is messy and complicated and full of contradictions. That there are moments of joy and humour and love even in the darkest times. How we can take one step forward and then spiral back again. And how the most important element to finding some kind of healing is connection to others. 

Thank you answering all of my questions, even the odd ones. Thank you so much, it’s been a pleasure – your questions were so thoughtful.

Review

Sometimes there are books that can create an emotional bridge between the reader and the story. It’s not the same as being completely enamoured by characters, a plot or experiencing empathy and a rush of emotions for certain elements of a story. It’s the kind of bridge that connects words and heart.

The story is about two young people who become connected forever when a plane goes missing with their loved ones on board. Air thinks there has been a mix-up and Christopher isn’t willing to speak about his own truth just yet.

Air takes Christopher on a road trip of sorts. In a way she is revisiting places she has been with her brother in the hope he will either be there waiting or hoping she will be able to feel him while she is there. Air keeps that sliver of hope alive for herself and for the readers. Perhaps it isn’t beyond the realms of all possibilities that Blake could pop up somewhere along the route – he definitely got on a different plane, right?

I’m not sure if I can capture exactly why this story evoked such a visceral reaction in me, perhaps because I can understand the need to hold on to hope, even when the truth is that all hope is lost. It’s a curious part of human nature, the part of us which needs unequivocal proof before accepting certain things. This is especially the case when it comes to death. It’s often not enough to hear or read the words, sometimes we need to see and feel for it to be accepted as real.

Macgregor shows the similarities between two young people dealing with grief and the differences between the two of them. The result is a canvas bag full of emotional turmoil waiting to implode as they navigate the depths of their loss, and also as the reader waits for the external explosion. The finality of acknowledgement as it pours over the characters like a heavy spring rain shower.

This is a contemporary read, and although it comes under the genre of YA it is a read for all ages, because it is something everyone can relate to in some way, eventually. I loved the subtlety and softness of the approach to the topic of grief.

Buy As Far as The Stars at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Young Adult; pub date 18 April 2019. Buy at Amazon com.