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Because Of You By Dawn French

Because Of You‘Because Of You’ is the latest book by Dawn French.

Tick-tock, tick-tock, tick-tock . . . midnight. The old millennium turns into the new. In the same hospital, two very different women give birth to two very similar daughters. Hope leaves with a beautiful baby girl. Anna leaves with empty arms. Seventeen years later, the gods who keep watch over broken-hearted mothers wreak mighty revenge, and the truth starts rolling, terrible and deep, toward them all. The power of mother-love will be tested to its limits. Perhaps beyond.

Ok, so I’ve just finished reading this book and the tears are tripping me, so apologies if this review does not make sense! It’s a good job that tissues came with this book, as I really needed them!

This book is a beautifully written story about motherhood and loss and really pulls at the readers heartstrings.

On New Years 1999, mothers to be Anna and Hope are looking forward to celebrating the new year with a new addition to their families, but the unexpected happens and over the next 18 years, we see the women adapt to changes. Hope becomes the besotted mother to her outspoken and fun daughter Minnie, whilst Anna longs to be a mother.

It’s difficult to go into too much details with this story as you can easily give something away in the many twists that Dawn has weaved into the tale.

The characters are a fabulous mix of personalities from Anna’s husband, Julius who’s an self centred egocentric to the quiet determination of Anna. I particularly loved Hope, who’s love for Minnie is never ending whilst Minnie, is the star of the show with her wit, charm and never one to shy away from confrontation. Another character who really struck a chord with me was Issac, who was Hope’s ex boyfriend, he was a gentle soul who’s calming presence and love never strayed far in the story.

For a comedian, Dawn has written a story that would make the hardest of hearts fall apart. Cleverly written with humour to help the reader recover from the tender moments. Dawn shines a spotlight on the hardships of motherhood and the lengths that a person will go to achieve it. A stellar book written with warmth and compassion, ‘Because Of You’ is a beautiful book to curl up, filled with laughter and smiles this book made for emotional reading.

You can buy ‘Because Of You’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Best Is Yet To Come By Katy Collins

The Best Is Yet To Come‘The Best Is Yet To Come’ is the latest book by Katy Collins.

Izzy has always taken everything in her stride but motherhood is proving more difficult than she thought. She keeps telling herself it’s just a phase but the dark clouds are starting to appear. Neighbour and widower Arthur might be in the winter of his life but he’s not ready to be packed off to a care home. He’s determined to do things his way. When Izzy hears about Arthur’s big move, she offers to help. But Arthur isn’t telling her the whole story. It takes courage to admit you need a friend and when you feel invisible, all you need is a ray of hope. After all, what if the best is yet to come?

If you like stories of new beginnings and friendship, then this book is for you.

The story is seen from the perspective of new mum Izzy and her elderly neighbour called Arthur, who she rescues one night when he falls over. The story centres around their unlikely friendship as they both deal with milestones in their lives, Izzy is adjusting to becoming a first time mother and Arthur is clearing out his home, two years after his wife’s death to move into a retirement village.

The pair are a lovely duo and scenes with together make for really sweet reading. Arthur and Pearl were unable to have children, so Izzy and her baby Evie give him the opportunity to be a grandfather figure which he dotes on immensely. Izzy is a relatable character, she expected motherhood to come naturally but she has struggles that her husband Andrew seems oblivious to which was very frustrating reading. She finds a kinship in Arthur and their shared project which gives them something to concentrate on and bond over.

The story alternates between the perspectives of the pair and it’s uplifting to see them grow in friendship as well as confidence as Izzy gets more comfortable with the mother role.

This story is a beautifully written one that flows at a lovely pace, captivating the reader with moments of poignancy and nostalgia. Emotional and heartfelt, ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’ is a life affirming story of hope, forgiveness and will certainly strike a chord with its relatable and engaging characters.

You can buy ‘The Best Is Yet To Come’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

The Last Goodbye By Fiona Lucas

The Last Goodbye‘The Last Goodbye’ is the latest book by Fiona Lucas.

Anna’s world was shattered three years ago when her husband Spencer was killed in a tragic accident. Her friends and family think it’s time she moved on, but how can she when she’s lost her soulmate? On New Year’s Eve, Anna calls Spencer’s old phone just to hear his voicemail greeting. But to her surprise someone picks up. Brody answers and is the first person who truly understands what Anna is going through. As they begin to speak regularly, Anna finds herself opening up and slowly she discovers how to smile again, how to laugh, even how to hope. But Brody hasn’t been entirely honest with Anna. Will his secret threaten everything, just as it seems she might find the courage to love again?

‘The Last Goodbye’ is the first book that I’ve read by Fiona Lucas aka Fiona Harper and it most certainly will not be the last, a tender and emotional about love and grief this story makes for heart-breaking reading in parts.

Even though, it’s been almost 3 years since her husband and soulmate Spencer was killed when a drunk driver hit him, Anna is not able to move on. Still consumed by grief, she rebuffs offers of nights out with well-meaning friends, who all want to set her up with someone new. The last piece of contact that Anna has with Spencer is the voice mail on his answer machine until one day, it’s gone and replaced with the voice of Brody who’s been assigned the new number. Heartbroken that her connection with Spencer is gone, Anna finds so many similarities in Brody and begins a tender phone friendship with him, as he offers an anchor in her sea of grief.

This story is a beautifully written that I was immediately swept up in. Anna is a lovely character, kind with a sweet nature, she’s lost without Spencer by her side and as everyone moves on around her she finds it hard to let go. Likewise with Brody, he too is dealing with turmoil with no one to turn to but his dog called Lewis. Brody and Anna find a solace and companionship in each other and this makes for tender reading as they confide and progress forward in life. My heart truly went out to Anna at times in this book, as she was under pressure to move on but there’s no time limit with grief and everyone needs to progress at their own pace, which people should be respectful off.

The story travels at a lovely pace as Anna begins to confront her grief and tries to adapt to her new life as well as get to know Brody and their interactions are fun and heart-warming.

An original and heartfelt story that genuinely made for poignant reading, ‘The Last Goodbye’ is an emotional story about loss, hope and courage and is perfect for fans of Jojo Moyes and Cecelia Ahern.

You can buy ‘The Last Goodbye’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Dog Days By Erica Waller

Dog Days‘Dog Days’ is the latest book by Erica Waller.

Dog Days is a novel about those small but life-changing moments that only come when we pause to let the light in. It is about three people learning to make connections and find joy in living life off the leash.

I spent a lazy Sunday with my head in this book. A beautifully written story tackling sensitive subjects such as grief, mental health, domestic abuse as well as sexuality.

The story is seen through the perspective of three characters, George, Lizzie and Dan. Grumpy old man George, who throughout the story made me think of George from the Pixar film called ‘UP’. George has a gruff and ignorant nature and is at a loss when his wife Ellen dies suddenly. George is used to having Ellen, making his meals, washing his clothes and without Ellen there to do these things for him, George’s life stops at a standstill with only a beautiful little Dachshund puppy called Poppy to keep him company. Ellen thoughtfully bought Poppy as something for George to focus on as well as help him lose weight and get some exercise. It’s at his lowest that Betty comes into George’s after receiving complaints about Poppy’s barking and comes to George’s rescue much to his disgust. Betty is a warm-hearted and bubbly woman who loves to help others and the pair of bicker constantly with George protesting against Betty’s help and Betty fighting against with wonderfully sweet and creative language.

Lizzie has turned up at a women’s shelter with her little boy called Lenny, but has yet to reveal her story. She’s a quiet intense woman who misses her old life of being a primary school teacher and is at her most comfortable sharing facts and information with people. She’s not a dog lover but part of leaving at the shelter is to take elderly Jack Russell Terrier called Maud for walks. Maud knows that Lizzie isn’t used to dogs and does all she can to offer friendship and comfort to Lizzie.

Dan is at crossroads with his sexuality and when Atticus comes to his counselling sessions, Dan has to finally confront his thoughts much to his own fears. Dan is a wonderful character, he’s kind, shy and outspoken Atticus helps Dan finally feel comfortable with himself. Dan has a beautiful Golden Labrador called Fitz, a loyal companion who accepts Dan, no matter his sexual orientation.

All three people are facing real struggles in their lives and as they face them, there’s a four legged there to offer a hug or lick at their lowest ebbs. I absolutely adored this book and I found myself racing through it, purely for George’s perspective as he was the most amazing character. He’s a traditional man, with an old-fashioned mindset. Ellen did everything for him but he cared for Ellen in his own way, crafting pieces of furniture for her that made her delighted. His relationship with Betty was truly clever and fun reading as they battled with each other, but they brought some joy and company to their lives. Out of the three characters, George was the man with no interest in dog but as the story progresses, we see the shutters come down and he grows to love the tiny dog and the company she provides. Another beautiful element to the story, was the inclusion of letters to George from Ellen that she left for him after her death. These letters make for tender reading, as she’s offering guidance and support with gentle reminders of things that need sorted. These letters usually arrive when George is at his lowest.

As a dog lover myself, this book wholeheartedly proves the comfort and companionship that dogs provide, they offer no judgement and will love you unconditionally. This book was a joy to read from the start to finish. Filled with wit, tenderness and moments that will genuinely break your heart and give you hope, Ericka has written a book that handles hard hitting issues with grace and sensitivity, ‘Dog Walks’ is a book that stays with you long after you reached the final page.

You can pre-order ‘Dog Days’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 11th March 2021.

My One True North By Milly Johnson

My One True NorthMilly Johnston is back on our bookshelves with witty and poignant story about lost love and new beginnings.

Laurie and Pete should never have met. But fate has pushed them together for a reason. Six months ago, on the same night, Laurie and Pete both lost their partners. Struggling to manage the grief, they join the same counselling group – and meet each other. From their sadness, Pete and Laurie find happiness growing and they sense a fresh new beginning. Except, the more they talk, the more they begin to spot the strange parallels in their stories. Then Pete discovers a truth that changes everything. But, as surely as a compass points north, some people cannot be kept apart.

The story is primarily seen from the perspectives of recently bereaved people Laurie and Pete, who’s partners were tragically killed in a car accident. Now, months later the pair of them are trying to deal with their loss and with the help of their friends join a group for people dealing with grief. The group is lead by Molly, a kind woman who helps people deal with losses after the death of her own partner. In this group we meet a range of characters who are recovering from the loss of people and pets and the impacts that these deaths have had on their lives. The people are an interesting collective who are at different stages of their journey and are there to offer support and friendship when things get tough.

I adored this book and absorbed it in one sitting and was disappointed in myself for not reading it sooner. Pete and Laurie are two fantastic lead characters, both are united in grief and are heartbroken for the lives that were tragically taken from them. As the pair of them join the group, we see them tentatively embark on a new friendship and an understanding as they both share their grief and stories. It’s lovely to join them on their brave steps of making first solo cinema trips, dates and adventures together. As the story progresses we see that the pair have more in common than they could have ever imagined and that the lives they were leading, were far from perfect.

The story is a tender and poignant one that focuses on loss and how different people deal with it but with every bittersweet moment in the book, Milly delivers some wit with her Yorkshire humour that brightens the reader up. Having sadly experienced her own loss in the last year with the death of her father, Milly’s writing is reflective and tender with a special insight on grief.

The story sees the return of ‘The Daily Trumpet’ the local newspaper that is always printing apologies for errors in articles, whether it’s a wrong name or an incorrect letter to a word that gives a story a completely different angle. Alan, the poor the editor is regularly using creative and colourful language to describe his staff and the situations and these scenes with Alan genuinely make for hilarious moments.

‘My One Truth North’ is another wonderful story from Milly that delivers laughs, tears and new friendships, filled with warmth and charm, this is another stunning story from Yorkshire’s finest author.

You can buy ‘My One True North’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.