Book Review: One Step Closer to You by Alice Peterson

I’ve enjoyed Alice Peterson’s books previously (reviewed here and here). Needless to say, I was very excited to lay my hands on One Step Closer to You courtesy Netgalley. 48790_One Step Closer To You_PB.indd

Polly is a young single mother. Her only focus is her young son Louis. She had a troubled relationship with Louis’ dad and wants to put it all behind her. She is also an alcoholic who is determined to stay clean for the sake of her son.

Ben’s sister died and he ended up becoming his niece’s guardian. Ben is clueless about children, and between coping with his own grief at losing his beloved sister, and looking after a five-year old, he is struggling. His little niece, Emily, isn’t talking, or eating properly and he doesn’t know what to do. Ben is also an alcoholic.

Ben and Polly come across each other and turn into good friends. Life is perfect for Polly, her life with Louis and her friendship with Ben are enough for her.

Everything seems perfect until Louis’ dad who had disappeared, suddenly turns up. Polly’s ordered little world is turned upside down and she is forced to confront the demons of her past. A beautiful story. One that had me hooked from the word go. Narrated by Polly, the book has flashbacks to Polly’s past, giving us glimpses into her life, the reasons why she is so complicated and troubled. Polly’s story is a heart-breaking one, one which you empathise with, one which has you rooting for her, hoping for her to find her way out of the mess she gets into, cheering for her when she does the right things.

The story also gives us a perspective into the life of an alcoholic, of how easily things can go wrong. Of how tough it can be for an alcoholic. The author also explores the possibility of alcoholism being genetic in nature.

It was shocking in places, had me in tears in places. I loved Polly’s character,her strengths and her weaknesses, and her brother Hugo. If anything I loved Hugo even more than Polly. I was enraged at times by the way she took him for granted, and despite all that, the strong, unbreakable bond between them was so beautifully portrayed.

All the characters had depth, and felt very real. I had an inkling of one of the revelations that came towards the end, but even that did not detract from the book.

A book I would strongly recommend. A 4.5/5 read for me.

About the Author
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: 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).

By My Side by Alice Peterson

A book I picked up on a lark, assuming that it would be a typical chick-lit. Little did I know how different it would be.

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Cass, a twenty three year old medical student, has everything to look forward to in life. An exciting career, a wonderful boyfriend, a full life, when a freak accident changes her life completely. She is paralysed from waist down, the boyfriend disappears, leaving just a note, and she can’t think of the future. The everyday things that she once took for granted were huge obstacles for her now. Her family tries their best to keep her spirits high, but it isn’t the easiest task.

Frustrated with her condition, and feeling helpless and depressed, Cass needs help and quick. Ticket, a guide dog, turns out to be Cass’ savior. Having Ticket in her life, she suddenly starts to feel more independent. She slowly turns her life around, one day at a time. She starts interacting more and soon meets up with Dom and Guy, friends she had made while at the hospital. Cass, finally starts to live again. Having Ticket in her life, gives her the push that she needed. She starts to feel independent and even ends up traveling to Colorado to ski. It is Cass’s story but it is also so much more. The book takes you through an unbelievable journey. The sadness, the desperation, as well as the determination to live a full life. It had me in tears, so many times.

The book is written so well, capturing the lives of people with disabilities like these. Such a tough life, and yet, it is portrayed with so much compassion and empathy that it was a beautiful read. For me, it was such an insight to the lives of those with such disabilities. So many things that we take for granted, are such a huge deal for them, and yet to be positive and live a full life, seems so wonderful. Cass is such a lovely, real, believable character, and so are the others in the book. Every character rings true, and the emotions that they go through, the turmoil and the confusion, at various stages, are so understandable. I love the way the author has handled such a difficult topic. It can’t have been an easy story to write, to get under the skin of a protagonist in a condition like this, and I felt that she did a brilliant job.

The book has the right mix of compassion, humour and seriousness. It was a great, positive book to read. I couldn’t put it down.This was my first Alice Peterson book, but it certainly won’t be the last I would read of hers.

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).