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The Weekend Before The Wedding By Tracy Bloom

The Weekend Before The Wedding‘The Weekend Before The Wedding’ is the latest book by Tracy Bloom.

All Shelley wanted on her hen weekend was to enjoy three days of sun, sea and sangria. But instead of being surrounded by the A-team of her closest friends, she somehow ends up with a Golden Girls-meets-the-Spice Girls B-list that includes her mother, a rebellious teenager, and a best mate ‘on the verge’. The squabbling starts at the airport, and on arrival in Spain, Shelley barely has time to unpack her suitcase before getting an unwanted text ̶ one that throws her wedding into doubt. Shelley has got a BIG decision to make, but her unruly medley of nearest and dearest seem determined to confuse matters with their own problems. Have they got what it takes to get her through the most important weekend of her life?

‘The Weekend Before The Wedding’ was the perfect book to get absorbed in, particularly during this beautifully sunny weather.

The story is written in the past and present tense leading up to the eventual wedding of Shelley. An older bride, her mother Peggy is relieved that’s she finally off the shelf and found herself a husband. To celebrate her nuptials, her friends whisk her away to the Spanish island of Andelica and there she has the unforgettable weekend ever, filled with mishaps, drama and plenty of laughs along the way.

I loved this story, the characters were such a magical and eclectic mix of personalities that made for such enjoyable reading. I loved Shelley, the older bride who’s always wanted to find the one but thought her day would never come. She’s quiet and thoughtful, unlike her outspoken and crabby mother Peggy, who’s not one for heart to hearts. Shelley is engaged to Colin, a bumbling idiot of a character that has stolen Shelley’s heart, he comes from a wealthy family and Shelley can’t believe her luck that he wants to spend his life with her.

Becca, Shelley’s best friend is looking to party and not have to look after her twin babies. Shelley’s aunt, Nancy is a fantastic woman, the older sister to Peggy, she’s wise and fun and never shies away from banging into people with her mobility scooter, her daughter Rosalind is more set in her ways, more conservative whilst Chloe, her teenage daughter who’s doing everything in her power to annoy her mother with her outspoken ways and drama. This perfect mix of women really made the book a wonderful story to get absorbed in and I really found myself warming to them as they wanted Shelley’s hen to be best time ever for her, but in doing so, they had to face dramas and conflicts but this only made the unique bunch even closer.

The past tense reflects on the dramatic hen weekend whilst the present tense, is Shelley’s wedding day and is a nostalgic journey down memory lane as the women reflect on the weekend away.

A story of new friendships and finding love no matter your age, ‘The Weekend Before The Wedding’ is a heartwarming and fun story that will have you smiling throughout.

You can buy ‘The Weekend Before The Wedding’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

This Shining Life Giveaway

This Shining LifeI’m delighted to have two copies of ‘This Shining Life’ by Harriet Kline to giveaway to two lucky people.

When Rich dies, he leaves behind a family without a father, a husband, a son and a best friend. His wife, Ruth, can’t imagine living without him and finds herself faced with a grief she’s not sure she can find her way through. At the same time, their young son Ollie becomes intent on working out the meaning of life. Because everything happens for a reason. Doesn’t it? But when they discover a mismatched collection of presents left by Rich for his loved ones, it provides a puzzle for them to solve, one that will help Ruth navigate her sorrow and help Ollie come to terms with what’s happened. Together, they will learn to lay the ghosts of the past to rest, and treasure the true gift that Rich has left them: the ability to embrace life and love every moment.

To be in with a chance of winning, simply leave your answer to the question in the comment box below.

When Rich dies, what does he leave his family behind?

Winners will be revealed on Monday 23rd May and the giveaway is limited to UK and Ireland only. Good luck!

Did Ye Hear Mammy Died? By Seamus O’Reilly

Did Ye Hear Mammy Died?2021 saw Seamus O’Reilly’s debut book about childhood loss in Derry made for heartfelt reading called ‘Did Ye Hear Mammy Died?’.

Séamas O’Reilly’s mother died when he was five, leaving him, his ten brothers and sisters and their beloved father in their sprawling bungalow in rural Derry. It was the 1990s; the Troubles were a background rumble (most of the time), and Séamas at that point was more preoccupied with dinosaurs, Star Wars and the actual location of heaven than the political climate.

The story is seen through Seamus’s innocent narrative as he adapts to life without his leading female role model as well as deal with the guilt and fear of forgetting her and that his father will be taken also.

This story is beautifully written and as it’s set in Northern Ireland and it’s a relatable one that made for genuinely heartwarming reading. Seamus’s father is the real hero of the story, who took on the role of mother/father to 11 children and made a life for them that all children would be envious off.

Packed with heartwarming and funny scenarios that made for laughing and tearful reading as one boy tries to find his place in life and within a huge family. ‘Did Ye Hear Mammy Died?’ Is a sentimental and loving story filled with Northern Ireland charm made for poignant reading.

You can buy ‘Did Ye Hear Mammy Died?’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Impossible Truths Of Love By Hannah Beckerman

The Impossible Truths Of Love‘The Impossible Truths Of Love’ is the latest book by Hannah Beckerman.

When Nell’s father makes a deathbed declaration that hints at a long-held secret, it reignites feelings of isolation that have plagued her for years. Her suspicions about the family’s past only deepen when her mother, Annie, who is losing her memories to dementia, starts making cryptic comments of her own. Thirty-five years earlier, Annie’s life was upended by a series of traumas—one shock after another that she buried deep in her heart. The decisions she made at the time were motivated by love, but she knew even then that nobody could ever understand—let alone forgive—what she did. As the two women’s stories unravel, a generation apart, Nell finally discovers the devastating truth about her mother’s past, and her own.

It’s been a while since a Hannah Beckerman book has been published but it’s certainly been worth the wait with her latest book from her new publisher. This poignant tearjerker had me gripped late last night and I was unable to put it down until I reached the final emotional page.

The story is written in the past and present tense seen through the perspective of mother and daughter Annie and Nell.

The present tense is seen through Nell’s narrative dealing with the aftermath of her fathers death and her mother’s dementia. On his death bed, he told her that he loved her even though she wasn’t his to love. As she helps her sisters pack up the family home as her mother goes into a nursing home, this triggers Nell into looking into her childhood as she always felt different to her older sisters.

The past tense is seen from Annie, who’s trying to come to terms with losing her baby and learning to love another one.

This story is a beautiful one that grabbed my attention from the first page. Both Nell and Annie are fascinating characters and I found myself racing through the chapters wanting to know more of their back stories.

The story tackles postnatal depression, dementia and grief and like Hannah’s previous novels, she handles these topics with sensitivity, immediately pulling on the reader heartstrings.

I loved the flow of the story as Nell dealt with the aftermath of her father’s death and the uncertainty of her place in her family and Annie tackled the death of her son in a time when post natal depression was seen as a taboo subject.

Beautifully and observationally written, ‘The Impossible Truths Of Love’ is a poignant and emotional book about family, grief and acceptance that had me reaching for the tissue box throughout.

You can pre-order ‘The Impossible Truths Of Love’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 5th October 2021.

This Shining Life By Harriet Kline

This Shining Life‘This Shining Life’ is the latest book by Harriet Kline.

When Rich dies, he leaves behind a family without a father, a husband, a son and a best friend. His wife, Ruth, can’t imagine living without him and finds herself faced with a grief she’s not sure she can find her way through. At the same time, their young son Ollie becomes intent on working out the meaning of life. Because everything happens for a reason. Doesn’t it? But when they discover a mismatched collection of presents left by Rich for his loved ones, it provides a puzzle for them to solve, one that will help Ruth navigate her sorrow and help Ollie come to terms with what’s happened. Together, they will learn to lay the ghosts of the past to rest, and treasure the true gift that Rich has left them: the ability to embrace life and love every moment.

This book is seen the perspective of a family as they deal with grief and loss.

Outspoken and fun Rich has been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour and wants to make the most of his last days. He puts together a gift list for his nearest and dearest, only for it to get messed up leaving his wife, son and best friend with a puzzle to solve after his death.

This story is a deep exploration of grief and how everyone reacts differently to it. Ruth never imagined a life without Rich in it and now she’s alone, she’s struggling to deal with grief as well as manage Ollie, their only son. Ollie has Autism and struggles with emotions and has outbursts as he tries to understand his father’s death. These struggles are hard as other members of the family try to understand him as well as deal with their own grief. Angran, who’s Ruth’s mother is seen as a hard woman who lives in the woods, but underneath her hard and brash exterior is a woman who cares deeply for her children and finds there is more to life than material goods. Whilst Rich is dying, his parents have to deal with his father developing dementia and having moments of clarity and other times is confused as to what is going on. And just like with Ollie, this can also make for upsetting reading.

This story is emotional reading, focusing on sensitive subjects such as grief, terminal illness as well as dementia. I particularly found the narratives from Ollie intriguing as he dealt with grief and coming to terms with loss and how he tried to rationalise life as he needs structure and order in this chaotic world.

I loved how the mishap with Rich’s gifts became a puzzle and this helped the family with their grief and unite them and helped Ollie deal with death.

This story is a sad one but Harriet has included some humour into the debut to bring a smile to the reader’s face. ‘This Shining Life’ is a skilfully written book about life, hope and loss.

You can buy ‘This Shining Life’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.