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I’m made up to have been selected to be part of the blog tour to launch this wonderful heart-warming book from the amazing selection of beautiful, readable and unforgettable books from Orenda books the wonderful British publishing company whose titles nearly always ring my bell.
If you haven't discovered their titles yet you must have a peek at their website - HANG ON, not yet, please read my review before dashing off.
Not having read either of the two previous highly acclaimed novels by this author I opened it without any preconceptions ... and was immediately captivated by the authors easy and engaging writing style, which absorbed me deep into the story instantly.
The main protagonist is Catherine, a 31 year old woman who has recently been affected by locally devastating floods which wrecked her home and affected the lives of many local folk.
Catherine (or Katrina as she becomes known) used to be called Catherine-Maria when she was little, but like many of the fuzzy events of her childhood, she is unable to remember quite why she had a sudden name change when she was 9. In fact a lot of her life is shrouded in fog and her memories have a huge gaping hole in them.
Catherine likes to help other people. Smarting from a recent, broken relationship, living in a flat share whilst her flooded out home is renovated and repaired, doing a job she finds pretty unrewarding, she volunteers to work on a telephone help line set up to enable victims of flooding (and loneliness and despair) to phone in and chat. Whilst she listens and counsels and cares for others it becomes apparent that it’s not just the helpline callers who have problems.
Catherines father died when she was young, her Mum died at Catherines birth and her beloved Nanny Eve died too and now she is left with an uncaring stepmother to rival Cinderella's and the snarling step sister bitch from hell, together with her lovely “Aunt Hairy” whom I adored. Yes I did say Hairy – read it and you’ll find out!
All Catherine’s ever wanted is to be loved, but she's learnt that "if it doesn’t hurt it’s not love" and she just can’t take much more pain, so she puts up a wall, developing a snippy snappy persona and a swear word for every occasion, yet she finds catharsis in listening to other folks woes.
Giving folks secret nicknames is just one way of keeping them at arms length and we will meet Jangly Jane and Robin who’s not called Robin at all.
Just as the incoming helpline calls from actress Kate with which she deals, reveal it’s not really about the trees, I was quite surprised that, being based around a flood help line, it’s not really about the floods either!
Skilfully painted with a deft hand this highly emotional read has a lovely touch of humour, interspersed with some terribly dark and emotive topics.
To say any more would be to be guilty of spoilers and this amazing book doesn’t deserve that. But enough to say some sensitive readers may find parts of the story upsetting to read as dark deeds are revealed and there is definitely something nasty in the woodshed alright.
I loved this novel, suffice to say that I galloped through it, found it wonderful and moving harrowing and uplifting and funny all at the same time, so prepare to have your emotions wrung tightly out and hung up to dry.
I cried so much near the end I was nearly sick – Oh I’m a glutton for a good old sob-fest me!
It's proving rather difficult to find the right words to explain how superb this book is, so I'll leave you with a thought,
THIS thought .....
READ THIS BOOK! (Oh yeah, I think I got that across alright)
Now that I’ve discovered how delightful an author Louise Beech is I will be adding her other books – How to be Brave and The Mountain in my shoe to my to be read list forthwith. I suggest this may be a good course of action for you too.
|The Author - Louise Beech|
NOW you can dash over to Orenda and drool over their books.