Book Review: The Making of Us by Lisa Jewell

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This was a book that I picked up months ago, at Daughter’s school summer fair. It sat there in my contingency book section, to be picked up when I’ve run out of all other books. I came across it when I was busy tidying and rearranging the book shelf, and decided to read it. It’s almost time for the next summer fair, can’t keep a book waiting for that long!

In a hospice in Bury St Edmunds, a man called Daniel is slowly fading away. His friend Maggie sits with him every day; she holds his hand and she listens to the story of his life, to his regrets and to his secrets. And then he tells her about the children he has never met and never will. He talks of them wistfully. His legacy, he calls them.

Lydia is a successful business woman, wealthy but is still overcoming the effects of a difficult childhood. She wants to put it all behind her, and move on but despite all her success, she is lonely and struggling to live a normal life, with normal interactions with people.

Dean, is a young man, who has just been burdened with a tremendous responsibility. He is struggling to come to terms with it, when something else comes his way.

Robyn is a young woman, at university studying medicine, following the footsteps of her birth father, who is a doctor. She is living a life she thinks is destined for her, after all, isn’t she completely different from the rest of her family? And that sounded right as well, given that she only part belonged to her family.

Lydia, Dean and Robyn are all in phases of their life when things aren’t very clear or they have confusions that seem to take over their lives. How is the dying man connected to these three? You will have to read it to find out.

It was a very different read. A story-line of the sort that I’ve not come across so far. It’s a tale of self discovery along with some going back to roots. Some of it a bit too far-fetched to believe, to be honest, but a different sort of book. One I would recommend, just because it’s got a different perspective to the one we normally come across.

I would rate it 3.5/5.

Also, on a different note, I really liked the cover, it implied what the story was about. It is another thing that it didn’t register with me until I had read the book, but having read the book, I have to say, it makes complete sense.

About the Author
Lisa Jewell is a popular British author of chick lit fiction. Her books include Ralph’s Party, Thirtynothing and most recently 31 Dream Street. She lives in Swiss Cottage, London with her husband and daughters.

This book is available from Amazon(UK).

Book Review: Ten Years On by Alice Peterson

I read Alice Peterson for the first time, when I picked up this book from the library. I had loved it as you can see from the review. I ended up following Alice on Twitter and was delighted to find out that her book ‘Ten Years On’ was on a discount on Kindle. Cheap as I am, I couldn’t let that go!

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Rebecca is happily married to Olly. Living a comfortable life in London, with Olly working as a teacher while trying to write his script and Becca, working in a art gallery with a lovely boss. Life is perfect. It only takes a moment for that to change. When tragedy hits, Becca is forced to move back into the little village that she grew up in, and live with her parents. Grieving and hit with another change in her circumstances, Becca’s life has changed more than she could ever imagine.

Becca ends up meeting Joe, an old friend of Olly’s and her’s. They had been in university together and had been the best of friends but had lost contact over the years. It was ten years since they had lost touch with Joe. Reconnecting with Joe brought back memories for Becca, which she had kept buried. As she struggles with the cards that life dealt her, she is faced with a second chance at happiness, if only she could be brave enough to grab it. That’s about all I can say about the book without giving away the plot.

An absolutely lovely read. A book about love, loss and second chances. Becca and Olly’s relationship is beautifully portrayed and so are all the other relationships. Becca’s relationship with her parents and sister, her friendship with Joe. Her feelings and the turmoil that she goes through. It feels real, it’s not the perfect, ‘there-is-not-one-thing-wrong’ kind of relationship, but a normal relationship between two caring partners, who came with their baggage, frustrations and issues. I loved the way Peterson crafts her characters. As I said before, the characters are all real, the situations are those that we can identify with. It’s a perfect book to curl up with, just keep the tissues handy.

Peterson also manages to keep a little bit of mystery about what happened ten years ago, and that makes it a completely engrossing read. I would give it a 4/5 easily.

About the Author
Alice Peterson is the author of three very popular books. At the age of eighteen Alice had been awarded a tennis scholarship to America when she experienced pain in her right hand. It was rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and she hasn’t picked up a tennis racket since, a sadness that shall always be with her.The theme of disability features in her fiction, but there is nothing gloomy about Alice or her work. Rather this gives her fiction the added dimension of true poignancy.

This book is available from Amazon(UK).

Book Review: The Courage Tree by Diane Chamberlain

Call me a shallow reader, but I do love some authors like Diane Chamberlain and Dorothy Koomson. There is something about their books that appeal to me. And when I love an author’s works, I end up picking up their works again and again.
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Janine has just sent her eight year old daughter, Sophie on a Brownie Camping Trip. A big enough event for most parents, but it has even bigger implications for Janine as Sophie, has never been on a trip like this before. Sophie is a very ill child, with a Kidney disease that has no known cure. She has been severely ill and used to need dialysis on a daily basis until Janine put her on an experimental treatment that met with severe opposition from both Janine’s parents and her ex-husband, Joe. That this treatment seems to have helped Sophie cuts no ice with Joe or her parents who are not comfortable with the fact that Janine has chosen an alternative treatment which nobody else has ever heard about. Even worse is the fact that it was Lucas, a gardener who introduced Janine to this alternative treatment.

Now, in addition to the treatment, Janine also took the decision of allowing Sophie on a trip away from home. Janine only wanted Sophie to live like the little girl she is, but for both her parents and Joe, it is an unthinkable option – sending an ill child to a camp! Janine goes to pick Sophie up, from the pick up place, only to find Sophie missing. Things are bad enough when a normal child goes missing, but for Sophie, things are much more dangerous. She could die if she does not have access to treatment.

Janine is desperate, she needs to find Sophie, and she needs to find her fast. She refuses to believe that Sophie is dead. Janine has to search and find her precious daughter before it is too late.

Just as Janine is struggling to find and rescue her daughter, there is another mother who is trying hard to save her own daughter, even if it means that another mother’s daughter must die for her daughter’s safety. Would she be big enough to think of someone other than her own daughter?

A story that is guaranteed to tug at your heart-strings. Janine’s vulnerability and her strength are both beautifully brought out. The dilemma that Janine faces, the uncertainty of the choices that face her, and the way she faces the situation that confronts her.. It’s a beautiful book, another Diane Chamberlain book that is un-put-downable. Absolutely engaging and completely gripping, till the very end. A book I raced through, because I couldn’t not know what was coming. Completely worth the read it was too. A book I would definitely recommend if you like books of this sort. A 4/5 read for me.

About the author
Award-winning author Diane Chamberlain, was born and raised in Plainfield, New Jersey, and attended Glassboro State University. She also lived for many years in both San Diego and northern Virginia, where she still resides. She is an author of 22 novels. She usually writes about relationships between men and women, parents and children, brothers and sisters, and friends.

This book is available from Amazon(UK).