#BookReview THE BOOK OF FORM AND EMPTINESS by RUTH OZEKI


ABOUT THE BOOK

A brilliantly inventive new novel about loss, growing up, and our relationship with things, by the Booker Prize-finalist author of A Tale for the Time Being

After the tragic death of his beloved musician father, fourteen-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house–a sneaker, a broken Christmas ornament, a piece of wilted lettuce. Although Benny doesn’t understand what these things are saying, he can sense their emotional tone; some are pleasant, a gentle hum or coo, but others are snide, angry and full of pain. When his mother, Annabelle, develops a hoarding problem, the voices grow more clamorous.

At first, Benny tries to ignore them, but soon the voices follow him outside the house, onto the street and at school, driving him at last to seek refuge in the silence of a large public library, where objects are well-behaved and know to speak in whispers. There, Benny discovers a strange new world, where “things happen.” He falls in love with a mesmerizing street artist with a smug pet ferret, who uses the library as her performance space. He meets a homeless philosopher-poet, who encourages him to ask important questions and find his own voice amongst the many.

And he meets his very own Book–a talking thing–who narrates Benny’s life and teaches him to listen to the things that truly matter.

With its blend of sympathetic characters, riveting plot, and vibrant engagement with everything from jazz, to climate change, to our attachment to material possessions, The Book of Form and Emptiness is classic Ruth Ozeki–bold, wise, poignant, playful, humane and heartbreaking.


PUBLISHED BY CANONGATE BOOKS

PURCHASE LINK
Amazon

MY REVIEW


Poignant, emotional, inventive – I think those words best sum up this reading experience! It has one of the most novel ways of telling the story via 2 narrators! Young Benny who is at the heart of the story, alongside the voice of ‘the book’! And Benny hears the book telling his story too which leads to some brilliant exchanges between the two of them and it just makes reading their story even more captivating.

Young Benny is dealing with the sudden death of his father and this trauma leads to him starting to hear voices. And not just any voices, but the thoughts and feelings of everyday items that crowd his mind leading to those around him worry as to what is wrong with him. His mother tries her best to be there for her son, but she’s dealing with her own grief and her hoarding starts to spiral out of control. There’s a lot of exploration of mental health in this story and the author has approached the subjects with compassion and care.

It is a very difficult book to review as there’s so many threads to it, but it all boils down to humans and their fragility. Their strength. Their quirks. And the ways that people find comfort, be that in the pages of a book or through connecting with others.

Your heart just breaks for Benny at times as there’s nobody around who understands what he’s going through. But he finds a strength somewhere deep down to try and make sense of it on his own, while watching his mother go through her issues. There’s a clear message throughout about decluttering/letting go of the past to help clear your mind and this comes across loud and clear in a very creative way.

It’s heartbreaking and heartwarming in equal measures and is one of those books where the characters stay with you long after the final page. Wonderful!


★★★★★

#BookReview WINDSWEPT by ANNABEL ABBS #NonFiction #Windswept



ABOUT THE BOOK


Annabel Abbs’s Windswept: Walking the Paths of Trailblazing Women is a beautifully written meditation and memoir that reflects on that most fundamental way of connecting with the outdoors: the simple act of walking. In absorbing and transporting prose, Abbs follows in the footsteps of groundbreaking women, including Georgia O’Keeffe in the empty plains of Texas and New Mexico, Nan Shepherd in the mountains of Scotland, Gwen John following the French River Garonne, Daphne du Maurier following the River Rhône, and Simone de Beauvoir—who walked as much as twenty-five miles a day in a skirt and espadrilles—in the mountains and forests of France. These trailblazing women were reclaiming what had historically been considered male domains.

The stories of these incredible women and artists are laced together by the wilderness walking in Abbs’s own life, beginning with her poet father who raised her in the Welsh countryside as an “experiment,” according to the principles of Rousseau. Windswept is an inventive retrospective and an arresting look forward to the way walking brings about a kind of clarity of thought not found in any other activity, and how it has allowed women throughout history to reimagine their lives and break free from convention. As Abbs traces the paths of these exceptional women, she realizes that she, too, is walking away from, and towards, a very different future. Windswept crosses continents and centuries in an arresting and stirring reflection on the power of walking in nature.

PUBLISHED BY TWO ROADS

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon

Blackwell’s

hive.co.uk

MY REVIEW

Just glorious!! I found this book to be inspiring, thought provoking, educational, fascinating and just wonderful!

The author uses her own life experiences, especially when she found herself in hospital unable to walk, to explore the art of walking and the fact that there was very few books around by women about walking and their adventures, when there are so many by men. With extensive research she uncovers some amazing characters – many of whom I had heard nothing about – and has brought their stories to life by challenging herself to walk the routes they did in the past, and this really just makes this book so immersive and inspiring.

The women she features are Frieda Lawrence, Gwen John, Clara Vyvyan, Nan Shepherd, Simone de Beauvoir, Georgia O’Keefe, but there is also reference to Daphne Du Maurier and Emma Gatewood.
All very different women but all sharing a deep passion for walking, exploring – and shockingly for women – walking by themselves!! The shame!! But in their adventures they enjoyed the freedom it gave them and allowed them to find their own minds, and the author shared these feelings as she uses each chapter to share her walk, alongside that of the woman she was walking in the footsteps of. There’s a look back in time to the lives of these amazing women, their trials and tribulations, the scandals, alongside her own experiences and thoughts on the changes over time as to the attitudes towards a variety of different topics.

It explores the benefits to your health of walking, the stories of the kindness of strangers met along the way, the pitfalls and reality of walking in the middle of nowhere by yourself, and the overwhelming sense of achievement and confidence these women had when they had finished a walk. And how eager they were to go on other adventures. Some weren’t afraid to go against convention, some lost their families over their actions, but most were just inspired by the solace they felt while walking, despite all of them having a real strong attachment to ‘home’ and realising just how little they needed in their lives.

I learnt so much about these women as the author relayed their stories, alongside her own walking experiences and how that time alone gave her time to think over her life choices. Reading about these women, inspired me to research a little more about them and their work and it’s been enlightening to learn more about these amazing women. The way the author connected with each woman also made this more of an experience as she wanted to feel what

It is one of those books that inspires, educates and just makes you want to walk!! To use your time wisely, and when you get the chance to grab that time for yourself and go out exploring, no matter how near or far!

★★★★★

#BookReview HOW TO BE SAD by HELEN RUSSELL



ABOUT THE BOOK

We live in an age when most reality TV shows climax in a tearful finale. But feeling sad – genuinely sad – is still taboo. Yet, sadness happens to us all, sometimes in heartbreakingly awful ways. If we don’t know how to be sad, it can be isolating for those experiencing it and baffling for those trying to help loved ones through dark times.

Today, most of us know intellectually that ‘sad’ is normal. But we’re not always brilliant at allowing for it, in practice. Sadness is going to happen, so we might as well know how to ‘do it’ right. And it’s time to start facing our problems and talking about them. Positive psychology may have become more accepted in mainstream culture, but rates of depression have continued to rise.

We’re trying so hard to be happy. But studies show that we could all benefit from learning the art of sadness and how to handle it, well.

PUBLISHED BY FOURTH ESTATE

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

MY REVIEW

I finished this book with tears in my eyes! Not because it was a tragic ending, but because it was hopeful and refreshing – you aren’t alone!!

We live in a world that is based on ‘being happy’, seemingly at all costs for some, and this book gives a fascinating balance to that saying we need to embrace the negative more instead of trying to shut it out and avoid it all costs! Life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, and we need to take more in our stride and deal with the differing emotions that life throws our way in a more pro-active way, instead of trying to shut out all feelings with pills and medication.

The author delves heavily into her own life which is full of heartbreak and has led her on the path to trying to understand why she feels the way she does. From childhood, to her present life, she looks back at the different stages and events that have shaped her as a person. And how as a society we are encouraged to dismiss all the bad stuff and strive for happiness 24/7! That isn’t humanly possible! But society tells us it is as we scroll through various social media sites, seeing the happy posts of people, and this book does a brilliant job of looking behind the curtain on a number of issues of how ‘sadness’ is perceived.

She also talks to a number of well known people on their own battles with expressing their emotions in life and that was quite illuminating. The public image versus the personal battles, and that’s another way in which social media has skewered our views on people.

From the role of parents trying to suppress their childrens’ emotions – quick, buy them stuff to make them happy all the time! – to how as adults we find it difficult to express our feelings and feel ashamed to be truthful or ask for help when we are suffering. It also explores different ways of getting out of your head, so to speak, in the form of therapy, medication, reading, being in nature – and the importance of switching off from the digital world for your own wellbeing, something I always feel better for doing.

This was a really well written book, full of so much honesty and great advice and information.

★★★★

#BookReview EARTHED by REBECCA SCHILLER #PublicationDay #Earthed @EmmaFinnigan @eandtbooks @schillerrrrr



ABOUT THE BOOK


In 2017, Rebecca Schiller turned fantasy to reality and moved her family to a countryside smallholding for a life of sowing and growing. But as the first few years go by, and the ever-expanding list of tasks builds to a cacophony, it becomes clear that this is not going to be simple.

Another January comes in, and with it the threat of a mental health crisis, and so Rebecca turns to the garden where she has made her home, and to the women of this place’s past. Here, she stumbles on a wild space of imaginative leaps, where she begins to uncover the hidden layers of her plot’s history – and of herself.

The ground under Rebecca’s boots offers hard lessons as the seasons shift, delivering unflinching glimpses of damage done to peoples and the planet and regular defeats in her battle with the slugs.

Yet as the New Year returns, carrying a life-changing diagnosis and then a global pandemic, Rebecca begins to move forwards with hope: the small holding has become her anchor, her teacher and her family’s shelter. Because when we find ourselves in an unknown land, we all need something small to hold on to and a way to keep ourselves earthed.


PUBLISHED BY ELLIOT & THOMPSON


PURCHASE LINKS


Amazon

hive.co.uk

blackwell’s


MY REVIEW


I found this to be an utterly absorbing and eye opening memoir that looks at the mental health struggles of the author, Rebecca Schiller, as she shares the highs, and many lows!, of dealing with life and how pinning your hopes on a move to the countryside to solve your problems isn’t always the miracle cure that you may hope it will be!

I think we’ve all seen many mental health insights over the past year or so, where someone has changed their way of life and it was a fix for so much in their lives, whereas Rebecca shows the reality with her brutal honesty of while living in the countryside with your own smallholding has many benefits – check out her instagram page for the cutest goat content!! – the reality of family life and the hard work involved takes its’ toll, especially if you are struggling with your mental health in the first place.

When she and her family moved to Kent in 2017 they were full of high hopes and plans for their new lives, and the author shares her experiences of while she was hoping for a slightly slower pace of life in the country, that didn’t work out as planned and the negatives in life continued to outweigh the positives.

This book goes into detail about the strain her struggles put on her marriage, and while she tried to remain positive for her children, it was they who were the ones to point out the positives in the little things in life that would help her to see the good in each day, even when the world to her seemed very black.

She also throws herself into researching the house they moved in to and the people who have lived there before and that was a great distraction for her, and fascinating to learn about, and also made her look more into herself and try and find out what was causing these dips in her mood and outlook and why she kept struggling. It really does open your eyes to the variety of mental health struggles we all face.

This is a book that deals in reality and the honesty in her writing and experiences really does shine through. It was enlightening to read a book where her life didn’t change overnight because she moved to the country, but it made her realise that she couldn’t paper over the cracks anymore and needed to be more pro-active in her search to be happier and find a way to keep living with a more balanced outlook.

★★★★★

My thanks to Emma Finnigan for the advanced reader copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BookReview LOST CONNECTIONS by JOHANN HARI #NonFictionNovember

ABOUT THE BOOK


From the New York Times bestselling author of Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs, a startling challenge to our thinking about depression and anxiety.

Award-winning journalist Johann Hari suffered from depression since he was a child and started taking antidepressants when he was a teenager. He was told—like his entire generation—that his problem was caused by a chemical imbalance in his brain. As an adult, trained in the social sciences, he began to investigate this question—and he learned that almost everything we have been told about depression and anxiety is wrong.

Across the world, Hari discovered social scientists who were uncovering the real causes—and they are mostly not in our brains, but in the way we live today. Hari’s journey took him from the people living in the tunnels beneath Las Vegas, to an Amish community in Indiana, to an uprising in Berlin—all showing in vivid and dramatic detail these new insights. They lead to solutions radically different from the ones we have been offered up until now.

Just as Chasing the Scream transformed the global debate about addiction, with over twenty million views for his TED talk and the animation based on it, Lost Connections will lead us to a very different debate about depression and anxiety—one that shows how, together, we can end this epidemic. 

PUBLISHED BY BLOOMSBURY PUBLISHING

MY REVIEW

This was a really fascinating and eye opening book on the causes/remedies behind depression and anxiety. It is one of those books, I think, that will split readers based on their own personal knowledge and dealings with depression and anxiety as it puts the case across for not ‘swallowing’ (pardon the pun) the normal prescriptive advice from the medical profession and to treat the problem as a whole – what has caused the low moods?

I think the world we live in nowadays, pills seem to be put forward as the answer to everything. In this book, the author looks a bit more objectively to that market and how that some people who are continually prescribed pills to deal with their depression, soon find that the pills begin to wear off so the dosage has to be increased – and repeat the process again. The author wants people to look a little more into the actual cause of the depression in your life and to work on that rather than just hoping a little pill will change your life overnight – for some that works! for others it doesn’t so it was nice to read this book to give the different views and options for helping yourself. It puts a lot of modern life into perspective and I enjoyed the way he looks at the world we live in and sees how that affects our perception of life and of happiness. The impact of social media in this disconnected culture we live in was staggering – basically our society sucks!! It’s a never ending world of wanting more stuff, feeling unworthy and forever chasing that ‘buzz’ be it something new, or a like on a social media post and it’s only going to get worse as youngsters are growing up in this world seduced by brands and impacted on how people portray themselves on instagram. You can see why many more young people struggle with their mental health nowadays – am so glad I grew up before the internet came along!

One phrase I’ll take away from this book is ‘ see the sanity in your sadness, not the madness’

This is a book that divides opinions but I’m grateful for reading something that challenges the pill popping world we find ourselves in – it makes you look a little more into drug companies as well and their ‘claims’! Scary!!

★★★★

The Light in the Dark: A Winter Journal by Horatio Clare #BookReview #Repost @eandtbooks

 

THE LIGHT IN THE DARK: A WINTER JOURNAL

Published by  – Elliot & Thompson

Paperback release – 3rd October 2019

About the book

A moving winter diary that reveals the healing power of the natural world

• An evocative exploration of the season, beautifully designed.

• Horatio Clare is a multiple award-winning memoirist, nature and travel writer.

• Combines scintillating nature writing with a moving personal narrative, touching on issues of winter depression and Seasonal Affective Disorder.

• For readers of The Outrun by Amy Liptrot and the Seasons series by Melissa Harrison.

As November stubs out the glow of autumn and the days tighten into shorter hours, winter’s occupation begins. Preparing for winter has its own rhythms, as old as our exchanges with the land. Of all the seasons, it draws us together. But winter can be tough.

It is a time of introspection, of looking inwards. Seasonal sadness; winter blues; depression – such feelings are widespread in the darker months. But by looking outwards, by being in and observing nature, we can appreciate its rhythms. Mountains make sense in any weather. The voices of a wood always speak consolation. A brush of frost; subtle colours; days as bright as a magpie’s cackle. We can learn to see and celebrate winter in all its shadows and lights.

In this moving and lyrical evocation of a British winter and the feelings it inspires, Horatio Clare raises a torch against the darkness, illuminating the blackest corners of the season, and delving into memory and myth to explore the powerful hold that winter has on us. By learning to see, we can find the magic, the light that burns bright at the heart of winter: spring will come again.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

hive.co.uk

About the author

Horatio Clare is a critically acclaimed author and journalist. His first book, Running for the Hills: A Family Story, won the Somerset Maugham Award. His second book, Truant is ‘a stunningly-written memoir’, according to the Irish Times. A Single Swallow: Following an Epic Journey from South Africa to South Wales, was shortlisted for the Dolman Travel Book of the Year; Down to the Sea in Ships: Of Ageless Oceans and Modern Men won the Stanford-Dolman Travel Book of the Year 2015. Horatio’s first book for children, Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot, won the Branford Boase Award 2016 for best debut children’s book. He lives in West Yorkshire. 

Twitter @HoratioClare

MY REVIEW

It’s that time of year again! The time when we all want to hibernate thanks to the longer, darker evenings and freezing cold mornings, and this book lets you know that you’re not alone in feeling that way! The author has used this book to share his thoughts on how this time of year makes him feel, along with exploring the power that nature has of keeping you looking forward, despite those days when all seems bleak and hopeless.  

It’s a simple concept but the style of writing and honesty that the author shares allows you to see the world through his eyes over the autumn and winter months that he has come to dread so much, and how his attitude to winter has changed over the years.  This is his journal of all that he sees mixed alongside the trivialities of real life and that what makes this a book that you can connect with.  

It’s a beautifully written book that struck a chord with me on many occasions.  The process of seeing the landscape and wildlife change from month to month and seeing how that affects his mood, and how just a simple task of writing a shopping list often became too much when his mind becomes too dark for him to be able to function on a daily basis.

Alongside the sights and sounds of nature, there are also many fascinating facts about S.A.D (seasonal affective disorder) and he also explores the strength that his family give him when he’s suffering alongside useful tips that he’s found in ways of distracting his mind, and realising that he can’t do it all by himself and it’s ok to ask for help.  With the topic of mental health so prevalent in society today, this is a book that can help a reader engage with their own feelings and find help if needed – be that by talking to somebody or just taking time to notice the small things in life.  

I found this to be such an insightful and thought provoking book and it is definitely one of those reads that gives you lots to think about and helps to lighten up the darkness of Winter.  

 

#BlogTour Johnny Ruin by Dan Dalton #RandomThingsTours #BookReview #JohnnyRuin @wordsbydan @unbounders

Delighted to be the latest stop on the Blog tour for JOHNNY RUIND by DAN DALTON.  My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for the copy of the book and letting me be part of the tour.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Depression can be hell. Heartbroken and lonely, the narrator has made an attempt on his own life. Whether he meant to or not he can’t say. But now he’s stuck in his own head, and time is running out. To save himself, he embarks on a journey across an imagined America, one haunted by his doomed relationship and the memory of a road trip that ended in tragedy. Help arrives in the guise of Jon Bon Jovi, rock star and childhood hero. An unlikely spirit guide, perhaps, but he’s going to give it a shot...

P R A I S E

 ‘If you found yourself in a dark wood in the middle of your life, who would you want to lead you out of it? Virgil or Jon Bon Jovi? Dan Dalton chose the latter for a guide and the result is this marvellously strange and sad novel, shot through with a dark gleaming wit’ Jenny Offill

 ‘Strange, intense, brilliant’ S. J. Watson

 ‘A great big howl from the abyss of a broken heart. Incredible’ Richard Skinner

 ‘I read Johnny Ruin with a lump in my throat. It’s raw and beautiful and odd and brokenhearted’ Ali Land

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK  £8.46

hive.co.uk  £7.49

whsmith  £6.47

Author Website

MY REVIEW

Sometimes life gets tough and you need Jon Bon Jovi to see you through the darker times, and that is exactly what happens in Johnny Ruin as he’s left to mourn a relationship and all the depression and misery that may bring with it.  It’s a brilliant example of how twisted a mind can become as it processes changes and how replaying moments from the past can either clarify the situation or just muddy the waters.

I loved the way this story is told – the voice of the narrator is clearly struggling with his mental wellbeing and you’re taken along for the ride – it’s very dark, often explicit but it’s a process he needs to go through and he uses the ‘help’ of Jon Bon Jovi as that takes  him back to a happier time of his life and remembers how hearing his songs made him feel.  

I found it fascinating to hear the thoughts of a bloke going through depression and grieving the loss of loved ones – it’s not all rainbows and unicorns and seeing how dark the mind can turn when you feel there’s no hope was quite disturbing. I keep remembering the phrase ‘life is consequences’ which features and that becomes very apparent as he looks back over his life and past relationships.  It brings him comfort to remember happier times.

This was a gritty, angry, reflective book full of dark humour and I loved the raw honesty of the character throughout.

★★★★

#BookReview Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness @unbounders

ABOUT THE BOOK

When Joe Harkness suffered a breakdown in 2013, he tried all the things his doctor recommended: medication helped, counselling was enlightening, and mindfulness grounded him. But nothing came close to nature, particularly birds. How had he never noticed such beauty before? Soon, every avian encounter took him one step closer to accepting who he is.

The positive change in Joe’s wellbeing was so profound that he started a blog to record his experience. Three years later he has become a spokesperson for the benefits of birdwatching, spreading the word everywhere from Radio 4 to Downing Street.

In this groundbreaking book filled with practical advice, Joe explains the impact that birdwatching had on his life, and invites the reader to discover these extraordinary effects for themselves

Published by Unbound

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK  £10.25

hive.co.uk £10.99

whsmith  £10.49

MY REVIEW

An inspiring book that shows just what you can learn about yourself when you hit rock bottom. And with Joe, his discovery was the calming and restorative hobby of birdwatching and in this illuminating book he shares his journey and a wide range of practical tips of how you can also embrace the power of nature to help your mental health and wellbeing and to enjoy the little things that life can bring.

The story starts with the state of his mind at his lowest point and it doesn’t make for pleasant reading – but it made him reach out for help and to try and find a way of distracting his mind and he recalls how much enjoyment being outdoors brought him as a young child so started to walk locally. And on these walks he began to notice the wildlife around him and how the joy of spotting a new bird gave him so much joy! It also made him much calmer – it gave his mind a chance to escape daily life and to notice different things.

He documents his experiences along his birdwatching journey – setting up bird feeders in the garden to take part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch for example, and I was so pleased to read that he gives the birds that visit his garden names too! He has a coal tit that visits that he names ‘Colin’ – I have a robin that visits who I call ‘Robbie’!! It’s the little things in life that often give the greatest pleasures haha!

It was so fascinating to read the different parts of his journey – the lists he made, the amount he was learning about wildlife and himself, noticing the different patterns of bird behaviour through the seasons and as a keen birdwatcher myself I found myself nodding along in agreement with so much!

What comes across most though is his passion for the subject! The enjoyment it brings him is clear to see and he really does a great job of explaining how having this hobby gave him a new outlook on all that he faced in his life. The perfect read for those looking to improve their mental health and to find out more about birdwatching and how nature is such a great healer.

Blooming marvellous!!

🐦🐦🐦🐦🐦

my thanks to the publishers, Unbound, for my copy in return for a fair and honest review.

#BookReview Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan

About the book

From the bestselling author of The Keeper of Lost Things and The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes – a novel of mothers and daughters, families and secrets and the astonishing power of friendship.

Tilly was a bright, outgoing little girl who liked playing with ghosts and matches. She loved fizzy drinks, swear words, fish fingers and Catholic churches, but most of all she loved living in Brighton in Queenie Malone’s Magnificent Paradise Hotel with its endearing and loving family of misfits – staff and guests alike.

But Tilly’s childhood was shattered when her mother sent her away from the only home she’d ever loved to boarding school with little explanation and no warning. Now, Tilda has grown into an independent woman still damaged by her mother’s unaccountable cruelty. Wary of people, her only friend is her dog, Eli. But when her mother dies, Tilda goes back to Brighton and with the help of her beloved Queenie sets about unraveling the mystery of her exile from The Paradise Hotel and discovers that her mother was not the woman she thought she knew at all … Mothers and daughters … their story can be complicated … it can also turn out to have a happy ending.

Published by Two Roads

Publication Date – 7th February 2019

Purchase Links

hive.co.uk  £11.39

waterstones   £14.99

MY REVIEW

This was a beautifully written story that centres around family relationships, mental health and the consequences of not being truthful to those you love. For me it didn’t quite have the emotional impact as The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes, but still made for an engaging, enthralling and thought provoking read.

I love the fact that we got to see the story from both a young perspective and that of an adult, and how times changes and perceptions can deceive you. Young Tilly is the perfect example of a Daddy’s girl and is devastated when her father goes away and is left with a mother who she thinks doesn’t care about her, and that belief is reinforced when she is sent away to school.

When Tilly grows up she still holds on to that resentment and never has a close relationship with her mother, so when she returns following the death of her mother she is confronted with a mix of emotions as she talks to neighbours, and starts to look back at things with the help of the diaries of her mother that she finds. Tilda shares many traits with her father, and that of her mother too and it’s only when she starts to see her mother as a person, and not the ogre that she remembers, that she starts to really find out who she was, and that helps clear the picture of just who Tilda is as well.

There’s a wonderful cast of characters that the author creates, and the little details in descriptions really help things ping to life and makes the world of Tilda and the way her mind works feel even more real. The struggles she goes through when confronted with a past different to how she saw it is such a fascinating one and makes you warm to her as a character even more. Highly recommended.

💮💮💮💮

My thanks to the author, publisher and netgalley for the advanced reading copy in return for a fair and honest review.