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Merry Christmas From Handwritten Girl

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Christmas is nearly upon us and I’ve found myself writing my annual sign off instead of wrapping presents that are still in their bags. Last minute as always!

This year was a great year for books and I’ve even listed my top ten books for 2017, just incase you are looking for a few last minute stocking fillers.

It was also a great year for Handwritten Girl, as I attended the Bord Gais Energy Book Awards for the first time and had an amazing time meeting some of Ireland’s finest literary talent ans well as spending Halloween weekend learning about the dark and interesting world of crime writing.

Before I sign off, I would like to say a huge thank you to all the lovely publishers and authors who introduced me to some of the most wonderful books this year, from intense thrillers to happy romances, there’s something for everyone to curl up with during the cold winter nights.

Most importantly, thank you to the readers of the website for taking the time to read a review, tweet, Favourite or Like a post, your support is appreciated tremendously. I hope you all have a safe and relaxing Christmas and receive loads of treats from Santa Claus, especially books as there are some great ones out there.

Have a Happy New Year and I shall see you in 2018.

Handwritten Girl’s Favourite Books of 2017.

1. The Break by Marian Keyes
2. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
3. Final Girls By Riley Sager
4. Bring Me Back By BA Paris
5. You, Me, Everything by Catherine Issac
6. The Summer of Impossible Things By Rowan Coleman
7. The Last Piece of My Heart by Paige Toon
8. Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land
9. A Song For Tomorrow By Alice Peterson
10. The One By John Marrs

You, Me, Everything By Catherine Isaac

You, Me, Everything‘You, Me, Everything’ is Catherine Isaac’s debut novel.

Sick of her boyfriend Adam’s lying and cheating, Laura throws him out only months after giving birth to their son. While she brings up William with the help of her mum, Susan, Adam moves to France to follow his dreams. But ten years on, Susan is battling a debilitating disease, aged just 53, and she convinces her daughter that William needs his father in his life. So, in their first trip abroad in years, Laura and ten-year-old William set off to spend the summer at Chateau de Roussignol, in the sunlit hills of the Dordogne, where Adam now lives. Laura is determined is to make Adam fall in love with his own son. But the problem isn’t only that he’s an unwilling participant in this game. It’s that Laura is tormented by a secret of her own, one that nobody – especially William – must discover.

If you haven’t heard of Catherine Issac then I’m sure you’ve heard of her other writing name, Jane Costello. Jane has written nine novels, all filled with humour and charm that make for the perfect escapism read.

In her first book, writing as Catherine Issac, although there is the sharp injection of Jane’s humour, there is also a beautiful tenderness to this love story that made the book a struggle to put down.

In this story, we meet single mother Jess and her son, William who head off to France as Jess wants William to bond with his father. Even though, Adam broke Jess’s heart, she wants them to have a relationship and spend more time together despite the distance.

Jess isn’t entirely happy about this situation, but goes ahead with the plan, more so to keep her mother happy. Her mother, is terminally ill with Huntington’s disease, an illness that is rapidly taking over her body and one of her wishes, is that William has a relationship with his father.

The story is written in the first person and is seen solely through Jess’s narrative. She’s a kind hearted woman, who never really got over the heartbreak that Adam caused her and tries to hide her resentful feelings from William. Meanwhile, William is wildly curious about life and loves nothing more than sharing random facts. I loved the scenes with William and Jess, where they argued over ownership of the iPad and he battled with his occasionally embarrassing mother.

The main subject of the story is Jess’s mothers ongoing battle with Huntington’s Disease and regularly flashes back to when Jess was a teenager and her mother began to show symptoms of the illness. What’s terrifying to read is that in all the advancements in medicine and technology, there is no known cure for the illness and once contracted, the illness has a 50/50 chance of being passed onto a child. Catherine has thoroughly researched the illness and provides background information for those who have never heard of it.

To say that this story is beautifully written would be an understatement and it’s no surprise that it’s already being adapted for film.

It’s gentle, flows at a lovely pace and for every tearjerking moment, there’s a gentle joke to lighten the mood.

A story that stays with you long after you reached the final page, ‘You, Me, Everything’ is an enchanting tale about love, new beginnings and most importantly, hope.

You can pre-order You Me Everything from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 20th September 2018.

Book News – You, Me, Everything By Catherine Isaac

You, Me, EverythingCatherine Isaac has revealed the cover to her debut novel called ‘You, Me, Everything’ which excitedly is being adapted for film, even though it won’t be out until 2018.

But for people not in the know, Catherine Isaac is actually Jane Costello, who already has nine books under her belt.

What the back cover says:

Sick of her boyfriend Adam’s lying and cheating, Laura throws him out only months after giving birth to their son. While she brings up William with the help of her mum, Susan, Adam moves to France to follow his dreams.

But ten years on, Susan is battling a debilitating disease, aged just 53, and she convinces her daughter that William needs his father in his life. So, in their first trip abroad in years, Laura and ten-year-old William set off to spend the summer at Chateau de Roussignol, in the sunlit hills of the Dordogne, where Adam now lives.

Laura is determined is to make Adam fall in love with his own son. But the problem isn’t only that he’s an unwilling participant in this game. It’s that Laura is tormented by a secret of her own, one that nobody – especially William – must discover.

With a beautiful cover and a heartbreaking synopsis, ‘You, Me, Everything’ sounds like a stunning story.

You can pre-order You Me Everything from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 20th September 2018.

The Day I Lost You Book Tour – Interview With Fionnuala Kearney

Fionnuala KearneyFionnuala Kearney pronounced Finoola, lives in Ascot with her husband. They have two grown-up daughters. One of seven children, ‘The Day I Lost You’ is her second novel with Harper Collins.

  1. Can you tell us what your new book ‘The Day I Lost You’ is about?
    The book tells the story of Jess, a forty eight year old woman, whose only child, twenty five year old, Anna, has been reported missing in an avalanche. Jess is devastated, and while immersed in grief, is left looking after Anna’s five year old daughter Rose. As secrets and lies unfold and Jess discovers a world of suspicion and hurt left by Anna, she’s forced to question whether she ever knew the person she loved most in the world. It looks under the skin of a mother and daughter relationship, and explores love (in all its guises) and loss, but ultimately – hope.
  2. Where do you get your ideas for your stories?
    Everywhere! Listening in on a conversation on the tube, reading an article in a newspaper, hearing something on the radio… Or sometimes, I come up with a character whom I love and ask loads of ‘What if?’ questions about them.
  3. Was there ever a book that you read, that didn’t live up to the hype that surrounded it and left you disappointed?
    Ooh! If there was, I’m too much a lady to say! Seriously, I admire anyone, and I mean anyone, who has a novel published today, so I’d hate to single out someone and say I was disappointed. That said, reading enjoyment is such a subjective thing. Also, I rarely read a hyped up book during the hype, preferring to keep it until after the fuss dies down!
  4. I always thought the opening lines to “The Lovely Bones” was quite memorable, are there any opening lines to books that stuck out to you?
    Since I love writing family drama, one of my favourites has to be ‘Anna Karenina’:
    “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Another favourite (Hell, I love every line she writes) is the beginning of Maggie O’Farrell’s ‘The Hand That First Held Mine’ for its immediate sense of atmosphere.
  5. The Day I Lost You

  6. What’s been your favourite book of 2016?
    It’s hard to choose but if you’re making me?! So far, probably ‘Olive Kitteridge’ by Elizabeth Strout which just has the most brilliant characterisation…
  7. What part of the writing process do you most enjoy?
    I love writing the first and second drafts – where the writing is free and I can bash out my story and characters without worrying about it too much. The subsequent drafts, where I have to cut and cull and enhance and zone in on the detail of the plot and the story, I find more of a challenge!
  8. How would you describe your writing?
    Gosh, that’s a hard one! I write family drama so I try hard to make sure my dialogue is authentic i.e how these people would really speak to one another. I don’t go in for long lengthy descriptive prose, preferring my characters to tell the story. As a result, I think most of my books are pretty dialogue heavy. I try also to tune into the senses – what’s going on in the background? Are there any sounds – is that a siren that just went by? Is that the outline of a sleigh I can see in the dark? What’s that smell? And taste – as well as food and drink – fear, anxiety and desire can be tasted too.
  9. What is your favourite book and why?
    I have two – completely different – so please don’t ask me to choose! The first is a classic – ‘Wuthering Heights’, by Emily Bronte, a beautiful tale of love, loss, revenge and obsession. Frankly, Heathcliff is probably singularly responsible for my writing tortured male parts!
    The second is a more recent novel, ‘One Day’, by David Nicholls. And yes, it too has a (more contemporary) complex male in the form of Dexter! It’s essentially a love story but its simple structure – where the two main characters Emma and Dex meet on the same day for the following twenty years is one I wish I’d thought of!

Follow Fionnuala Kearney on Twitter Fionnuala Kearney for updates

You can buy The Day I Lost You from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Fionnuala Kearney Reveals New Book – The Day I Lost You

The Day I Lost YouFionnuala Kearney is back with a new book in 2016 called ‘The Day I Lost You’

The story of ‘The Day I Lost You’ is –

The day that Jess’s daughter, Anna, is reported lost in an avalanche is the day that changes everything.

Left to explain her mother’s absence to Anna’s five year old daughter, Rose, Jess isn’t yet ready to admit to herself that her daughter might not be coming back. But Anna’s disappearance dredges up some life changing questions: Jess must uncover her daughter’s secret life – and unearth a secret that could change her world irrevocably.

The day I lost you was the day I discovered your secret life.

The day I lost you was the day you tore my family apart.

I really enjoyed Fionnuala’s debut novel,’You, Me And Other People’, so this is another book to look forward to in 2016.

You can pre-order The Day I Lost You from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 16th June 2016.