You know, I've requested this book after reading the synopsis, thinking it's going to be a next psychological thriller on my list. It was only when I You know, I've requested this book after reading the synopsis, thinking it's going to be a next psychological thriller on my list. It was only when I started reading it I realised that it's going to be a very special read, a very unusual read, and sure, it is a book that truly got under my skin. I've finished reading it few days ago and I am still thinking about it, about the events and situations - it is not a book that you finish, close and forget. it's very intense and compelling, very controversial and thought - provoking and oh boy, am I glad that I came across "All Is Not Forgotten".
"All is Not Forgotten" is a story about rape - a young girl is raped in the woods during a house party. And the author doesn't spare us the descriptions - the rape is graphic. Very graphic. It made me cringe inside and often I felt repulsion, it really made me feel sick. But back to Jenny, the main character - she is offered a new treatment, during which the doctors can erase the memory of the rape and the aggressor so that she will never have to come back to those memories. But - and this is one big BUT - can you really erase all memories? And is it sensible? Can you cope without knowing? Without those memories it's impossible to punish the assassin. So Jenny's parents, Charlotte and Tome, seek help of a psychiatrist who specializes in therapy that should bring back her memories.
What surprised me most was the way the book was written, I think I've never read a book written in such a way, as if it were told from someone's perspective, someone's that is not involved. At the beginning I didn't have a freaking idea who it is that is telling the story and I must admit, it annoyed me, it really annoyed me. This person was reporting what has happened as if they were a fly on the wall. I had my suspicions who this could be and it was confirmed in chapter 7, I think, but really, till then it irritated me not to know who is talking to us. And to be totally honest, the first half of the book felt as if I am reading a psychology coursebook - there were so many descriptions of feelings, emotions, the therapy and the author was using very technical words, words that I've seen for the first time in my life actually, and it was hard and difficult to get through this half. The very clinical tone, and especially the focus on exploring all the psychological aspects is - in my opinion - really dangerous. While studying I used to also have psychology classes, and I loved them, I was the only one to get the best note once (sorry. Sorry. I needed to tell you this :) ) but still, there were moments that it was too much of the academic language and I skim - read some of those passages. There were also many facts and some characters introduced that seemed so insignificant to this story, because well, let's be honest, why should I be interested in someone, a person that the therapist was also helping? Yes, it annoyed me, and I was so close to put this book away, but there was something that kept me reading, and when I crossed this magic half, then I didn't want to put this book away for a single second! It kept me hooked, I knew who is who and why and I had a feeling that actually everything is VERY significant to the story. It is a book that you can love or hate but it is for sure not going to leave you emotionless and indifferent.
It was really a very special way to tell the story through the eyes of the psychiatrist. It was like a never ending, very long monologue and there were no dialogues like we are used to. He was only reporting what other people told him and yes, it took me a long time to get used to it. It switched from character to character, it switched between times but it was always told through Dr. Forrester eyes. And as much as he tried to be objective and presented us the facts without emotions, there came a moment that I stopped to believe in his objectivity and I'd give anything to hear something, anything directly from other characters. This narrative is almost analytic, with no emotions involved, so clinical and clean. My biggest problem was that I couldn't place Dr. Forrester. I wasn't sure if I can trust him - no idea why, though somewhere after the first half of the book I stopped to trust him completely, although it was again mixed, because he had his own interior motives but still it seemed that he really wants to help Jenny! So what to think??? I also had problems with his personality. He seemed so smug and arrogant, the know - better - kind, patronising his own wife and her not being as intelligent as he was. He was totally devoid of emotions, or at least he looked like this, and maybe he needed to be like this to stay professional, but he just gave me the shivers. However, I had a feeling that he knows much more than he wants to say and that he tried not to let out anything and also that I am not fully allowed into the story because he controls everything.
But no matter what you think and what are your feelings towards the book, it is for sure going to make you think. It is a story full of twists and turns and tension and honestly, I didn't know till the end who raped Jenny and why. I'm not sure how I feel about it, and especially about the reasons why and what made the assassin to did what they did but I think it couldn't have different end, as I think the author wanted to show us how different people's minds work. It was not an explosive reveal or something like this, no, but for me it was still unexpected, and thanks the author for this! Altogether, a dark story written by the author who knows how to manipulate the reader, a very unpredictable read, moving and very intense. Recommended!
Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a review. ...more
"Sunshine and Secrets" is the first part in the new series by author Bella Osborne set in the picturesque Dumbleford, a Cotswolds Village. I admit, I "Sunshine and Secrets" is the first part in the new series by author Bella Osborne set in the picturesque Dumbleford, a Cotswolds Village. I admit, I requested this short story on NetGalley, albeit hesitantly, as recently I've read a novel by Ms Osborne and had some issues with it, but nevertheless I loved the premise to "Sunshine and Secrets" - it sounds really intriguing and I am really glad that I decided to read it.
First of all, I truly like the idea of buying a cottage in the auction without even seeing it - not that I'd decide for such a great step myself, but as Beth did it was a great, promising start to the story. And well, the cottage looked so great in the auction catalogue, right, so what could go wrong? It turns out that a lot can go wrong but please read for yourself - it's hilarious. But our Beth is not a woman that quickly gives up - at least she looks like this (in this first part we didn't get many chances to get to know her deeply. We know that she's running from an abusive relationship, that she has a son and that she had a great job but for me there was not much about Beth's personality but I hope we'll get to know her better in the next instalments) and so she decided to renovate the cottage of course. As Beth is very new to the village, together with her we are introduced to the people of Dumbleford and one seems to be more eccentric than the other and I am truly waiting for an explanation of this - I hope it'll come! One of the villagers is Jack and they didn't start their acquaintance in the best possible way.
The narration alternates between Beth and her best friend Carly, and it is the same way Ms Osborne previous book "A Family Holiday" was written, which bothered me mostly when reading it, and it bothers me here as well, because those two stories are totally different and I am not sure if they anything in common, except for Beth and Carly being friends.
I've already found the village a charming place, even with some of the villagers being so controversial, but also some of them very friendly, like the barmaid in the pub, and Beth's behaviour bothered me a little - she seemed as if she patronised the people, as if she were better than all of them, she had moments that she was too smug and shallow for my liking, not too keen to allow her little boy to play with others and there was one scene in the pub when she didn't want anybody to sit next to her that made me feel a little uncomfortable.
But already in this first part the author gives us a foretaste of what we can expect in the future - a hooking, interesting story including abusive relationships, commitment problems, new beginnings. I really have a feeling that there is a lot coming. There is also the romance element introduced, which I already started to like, and I will be waiting for the next part impatiently. "Sunshine and Secrets" is a lovely, quirky, summery quick read, great for one evening with a glass of wine.
Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a review. ...more
I've heard many praises about Colette Dartford's debut novel "Learning to Speak American" and I truly wanted to read the book for myself, so when the I've heard many praises about Colette Dartford's debut novel "Learning to Speak American" and I truly wanted to read the book for myself, so when the opportunity for taking a part in the blog tour came, I didn't hesitate and jumped at the chance. I really liked the sound of the book as well and I was asking myself all the time, can such a tragedy bring people together or rather drive them away? This is the question that was really bothering me all the time, maybe because I know people who are experiencing the same situation and it doesn't seem to work for them, so I was really intrigued to see how it is going to continue between Lola and Duncan. On the surface they both seem to cope with the death of their daughter, or should I rather write "cope" because I think it is a situation that you can never process, and I wanted to see for myself the outcome of this story.
I think that for a debut the author has chosen a really difficult subject matter to deal with, and hats off to her for starting with such ambitious novel. The book started in a very promising way and I could feel all the feelings and emotions of the characters myself, as they were really written in very descriptive way and I could feel the tension, the uncertainty, this wall between Duncan and Lola. However, soon the story went a little downhill for me, I found it hard to get into it - I can't tell you why exactly, it's just that all the feelings started to overwhelm me. I also think that the death of Clarissa should have been explained much quicker - we know that Lola and Duncan had a daughter and that she's dead, and this subject came every once in a while in the story, but the real reason of her death was kept a secret. There were some flashbacks, some hints but we needed to wait almost to the end of the book for it to be explained, and I think it was unnecessary tension as it led us to thinking that there was some kind of mystery, especially as Duncan made it clear more than once that he feels guilty about it. I think it should have been told straight at the beginning because maybe then it would change my view of the characters? Because I also couldn't connect with the characters and as much as I understand that after such a tragedy you must find something to keep you occupied, I couldn't stomach Duncan and his escapes into work and other "hobbies" (I didn't like Duncan. I just didn't. He was a coward, he was cold and he was unjust. I understand his grief, I truly do, but he should have open to Lola and stop carrying the weight of the whole world on his shoulder - because he felt like this. Though there were moments that even with me disliking him, my heart really went to him, he was so incredibly sad and he lived with this sadness alone) and Lola being obsessed with the house renovations.
I much more enjoyed the parts of the book set in Napa Valley than the parts in the Somerset village, as they were so full of sadness, secrets and lies and they made me feel really depressed. And the characters that I liked most were probably Lola's new neighbours. I empathised with Lola but somehow, the way she acted and reacted, she didn't feel so genuine to me - I can't put my finger on my problem and it annoys me to be honest, because there seemed everything to be okay with Lola and yet I had problems to warm to her. To be honest both the characters, Lola and Cain McCann felt just too bland to write a whole story around them and I think I missed a little more depth to them.
The book is written in a lovely writing style, however the pace was too slow for my liking and I was mostly waiting for something to happen. But it was a deeply emotional novel about grief, about second chances and new beginnings and I was intrigued by Lola and Duncan's story and wondered how it's going to end. Although the end was far too Disney - like in my opinion and it didn't make me feel so content and glad. I liked how the story was told from Lola and Duncan's perspectives, alternatively, as it gave us a deeper insight into their heads, into their thoughts and we were fully aware of what they were thinking and feeling. And the secrets they were keeping from each other as well, and there was quite a number of them. And what the author managed to do is write a novel that is sad on one hand, and on the other filled with hope - she did it really professionally and perfectly blended those two feelings. She has also with a lot of subtlety captured the works of a broken relationship. Yes, I am a little torn about "Learning to Speak American" but altogether it was a nice book and I will be looking forward to reading more from Colette Dartford.
Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a review. ...more
After reading and loving Beth Moran's last release, "I Hope You Dance", I was waiting impatiently for her new novel. I haven't read Beth's debut novel After reading and loving Beth Moran's last release, "I Hope You Dance", I was waiting impatiently for her new novel. I haven't read Beth's debut novel yet and I must eventually treat myself to it but reading her previous book made me fell in love with her writing and the way she tells her stories - stories that usually have much more to them than meet the eye, complicated, beautiful, incredibly sad but also incredibly uplifting stories with the right mix of humour and tears. It was really like Christmas coming in summer when I've received an email asking if I want to be a part of Beth's blog tour for the new novel and when the book itself arrived on my doorstep I dropped everything and started reading it on the spot.
Looking at the cover of this book you may expect a light, fluffy rom - com and partly you get this, but "The Name I Call Myself" mostly concentrates on much more serious issues. However the fact that it is about abuse, violence, mental health issues and women that don't believe in themselves doesn't mean that the book isn't uplifting or optimistic - because it is! Thanks to the writing style the tone switches from comedy to dramatic and this is all so very well balanced and the book is going to make you laugh out loud and cry in the next second. I am lost in admiration how well Beth Moran "does" feelings and emotions, everything she writes about rings the bell, feels so realistic and close to life and I often had desire to shout yes! I know how it feels!
Faith is planning her wedding to Perry, a "millionaire playboy". However, she very quickly realises that the wedding day is going to be not her own big day but rather her future mother - in - law, interfering mother of Perry, Larissa's, who has planned everything - also Faith's wedding dress, the "Ghost Web". But quickly we learn that the "Ghost Web" and Larissa could be Faith's least essential problems. She is supporting her very troubled brother Sam and is at his beck and call - there are awful secrets and dark past involved. Even though a fiancée to a millionaire, Faith is struggling financially, as she doesn't want to accept Perry's help and is determined to earn her own money and bread. Then, accidentally, when visiting the church her mother went to and its Minister Dylan, Faith finds herself joining the choir, and it is actually then that everything happens - she starts to learn to live again but her dangerous past is suddenly trying to catch up with her and Sam...
The cast of characters is brilliant! They are all not only vivid, larger than life people with their own personalities but they feel like 3 - D people. They're dimensional, they're relatable and all of them have their own stories. Faith. Oh my word, Faith. Independent, strong on the surface but inside she was carrying the weight of the whole world on her shoulders and she had scars that will probably never heal. She's only 25 years old but she seems so much older and so much wiser for her age, I was actually surprised when I learnt that she's so young, but it's not a wonder that she is like she is as her past was not a bed of roses. What I so adored in her was that even though Perry was incredibly rich and offered her money at every turn, Faith wanted to be independent of him and insisted to work, which sometimes led to very hilarious situations, let's only mention Faith's engagement party. Faith's past was so, so sad, and all the time new facts came to the light, there was always more to know, and I admired her for the fact that she always tried to keep her chin high and look forward. The way she was telling the story made me feel like a part of it, as if I knew faith personally for a long time. Larissa may be considered your clichéd future mother - in - law but the scenes with her, as much as they made me desperate to bite her head off, were brilliant and added so much fun to the story. She's a true nightmare, Larissa, and I know it is so easy to say that Faith should have just say no to her - I think it was impossible. I wouldn't dare. Even Perry wouldn't dare, and he was his son, so we can't expect it from Faith, the strong, brave Faith. The story of Sam was at the beginning truly engaging and heart - wrenching, though I must admit that through the course of the novel it started to knacker me out. He had no idea how lucky he is with the two women dumping everything and everybody when he was in need. Sure, I can't put myself in his shoes, and I even don't want, I truly can't imagine what has happened to him and I am certain it was freakingly difficult for him but on the other hand, he got so many chances, he had so many possibilities and still he wasn't strong enough. It doesn't mean his story didn't move me, because it did, I am just incredibly sad that after all the things he and Faith went through he just gave up.
The biggest highlight of the book is, I think, the choir and its members. It was a very special choir and let me tell you this one thing: if you had such a group of friends around yourself, you needn't fear anything. With those women you could move mountains and they'd walk a mile in the rain to help you out. It's not a wonder that Faith finds solace in the church and its choir group, even with the choir master Hester who - yes, sometimes terrifying - gives the women what they need - confidence, makes them feel comfortable in their own skin, even if in a controversial and sometimes very adventurous and dangerous way. Being in the choir helps Faith to find herself and to open up to people. It was incredible, this choir, only reading about it and seeing how strong Hester was made ME feel stronger and like ME better. Because of the choir members there are many characters in this book but they are all so incredibly vivid and life - like that I've never had a problem with who is who, and they all added tons of depth to this book. I loved them all and I fell for them all and I kept my fingers crossed for them. They were strong, believable characters that you root for and the author so effortlessly brings them all to life.
The romance element is there, of course, and I found it a little misleading. For a very long time I was thinking Perry to be a really great guy, the real Prince on a White Horse, the perfect showpiece and the friendship (or more) of Faith and Dylan was - even though really sweet and full of understanding and seeming as if those two were a real match made in haven - confusing. I couldn't understand why Faith feels such reservations towards marrying Perry (I'd better not mention Larissa here. It would be enough to end all relationships and engagement), even though she's agreed to marry him, they're engaged. It was confusing, because Perry was always there for Faith, he didn't ask questions, he helped her, so it was a kind of mystery to me and it took a long time before the situation was cleared.
Beth Moran in a perfect way blends and covers so many issues in one story - it is about families and friendships, abuse and violence, mental health, love... She somehow manages to combine all the threads together and delivers an emotional, moving and terrific story that is thought - provoking and so light to read. Ms Moran has already placed herself at the top of my favourite authors list and I am already waiting for her next book (and in between, I'm just hitting the "Order" button for "Making Marion"). I would compare this book to the novel written by Marian Keyes - full of sadness and difficult issues but also full of hope and lightness, bitter - sweet novels about brilliantly drawn characters with many layers. "The Name I Call Myself" is full of surprises, it is brutally honest and it can easily break your heart, but it is also uplifting, optimistic read that shows that with some work you will eventually find your happiness. It is this kind of story that stays with you for long after you turn the final page, which is a magnificent feeling. It is this kind of book that you wanted to finish as soon as possible to see how it's going to end but you also want to last and last and never end. It is a book with a soul, it's deep, it's incredibly gripping and it feels really genuine. The author puts her characters through so much and together with them we are taken on an incredible, funny and sad journey through ups and downs, twists and turns. It, in a beautiful way, describes friendship, love and trust. Just like with the last book, this time the author has offered us the perfect balance of bitter and sweet, of dark and light, of hope and hopeless and I adored every single second of it - highly recommended!
Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a review. ...more
Sue Watson has accustomed us, or at least me, to humorous stories full of quirky, lovely heroines that already experienced a lot in their lives. "We'l Sue Watson has accustomed us, or at least me, to humorous stories full of quirky, lovely heroines that already experienced a lot in their lives. "We'll always Have Paris" however was remarkably different - it was much more serious in tone. Sure, Rosie, our heroine is already a mature woman and there are some comical situations but altogether it was a new direction, more mature. And I think it's great - no matter what Ms Watson's writes about, it turns out into a lovely, so close to life story with relatable characters.
All of the characters in this book are wonderfully rounded and feel like real people and the author has brilliantly captured the differences between the generations. We have the grandmother Rosie, a lovely, woman who remained young who loves her family above all but there is also a lot of life in her and I absolutely freakingly adored the fact that she felt she deserves to live, even after her beloved husband dies. She had her period of grief and she still loved Mike but she felt young enough to follow her heart. She devoted all of her life to her family, she raised two great daughters and had two brilliant, quirky granddaughters (they don't appear often in this story but what I got made me fell in love with those girls, especially with the older one - I loved their conversations!) and now it was Rosie's time. She wasn't afraid of challenges and new experiences and I truly admired her for this.
I loved how the book dealt with all the dilemmas and how gently and with a lot of respect Sue Watson approached all the questions and uncertainties of falling in love when you're of a mature age. She took all the aspects into account as it was not only Rosie's life that was changing but also this of her family.
I only think that I'd love a little different introduction to Peter. Rosie was reminiscing, thinking about her youth and her first young love and then suddenly, boom, he entered the scenes - it was obvious that he's going to appear in the story sooner or later. I think for me it would be bigger surprise when he first appeared and then Rosie would introduce us to him and tell us about him and their young, turbulent relationship. Also, the book was on a very steady level, the pace was very peaceful and quiet and yes, sometimes you don't need fireworks and drama but this time I was waiting for something to happen. Not sure what, perhaps some troubles in paradise, just something that would pump up the volume and the temperature a little and add so very needed twist. But other than that, I really adored this story, it was lovely, warm and full of feelings.
"We'll Always Have Paris" is really a book about women - power, I think, putting women in the centre in this story. It is about different generations of women, because even those that are not longer with the characters were important part of the book, like Rosie' mother Margaret, who Rosie now, grandmother herself, learnt to appreciate. It shows the unconditional love mothers feel, it shows how families work and it also shows that actually there is always the same circle of life - we give birth to our children, we love, adore them, we suffer together with them, we want to kill them but they always stay our children, no matter how old they are, and it is the same for our daughters, granddaughters... This is a story for everybody, no matter how old you are because it shows you how to appreciate your family and your own time in life. And hello, it is never too late for a romance and fall in love, right? This is also a wonderful tale of rediscovering not only your first love, but also yourself. It shows that loving one person doesn't mean you can't love the other. It's about real family and real family dynamics, and this all written in such a lovely, vivid and gentle way. Witty and poignant, sweet and bitter, a real joy and gem to read. Recommended!
Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a review. ...more
Oh wow, I haven't even realised how much I've missed Cathy Bramley's writing! I could probably read her books on daily basis, so dear Cathy, please ne Oh wow, I haven't even realised how much I've missed Cathy Bramley's writing! I could probably read her books on daily basis, so dear Cathy, please never stop writing novels! I don't know how the author does it but each time I start a new book or new series by Ms Bramley I immediately feel at home and I feel as if I had known the characters for a long, long time already - the warmth of the writing just envelopes you and really, the stories are like an evening out with best friends - brilliant, funny, comforting and relaxing.
I've really read many books about food but in "The Plumberry School of Comfort Food" believe me, there is a lot of food, glorious food indeed, so well described that I actually felt my mouth watering, even though I am relatively resistant to such things, but the author has really excelled herself in describing these lovely, gorgeous canapés and some other food. Glorious food. Yes, I am aware I used the word "glorious" already. But it is glorious.
This time, as usual with Cathy Bramley's heroines, Verity Bloom is at crossroads with her life. We are introduced to her not in her best moment to be honest, and let's only say it involves unfaithful boyfriend, her job and she's still grieving after the very unexpected death of her best friend Mimi. The story of Verity is so natural and realistic, sounds so believable and she's another fantastic character from Cathy Bramley (and ditto for the whole cast of characters in the book - I immediately connected with all of them and am felt like a part of their gang), and I loved seeing her coming back to life she enjoyed before, blossoming and starting to laugh again. What she needed was one phone call from Mimi's mother Gloria, owner of a new cooking school - even though Verity wasn't sure about cooking, as she connected cooking and food with great memories of Mimi. But nevertheless, she knew that marketing the school is something she can do really well, so there was nothing keeping her at home and she took the chance. I really enjoyed the way our Verity was changing and coming back to life and the whole process of it. It was not easy for her and the author has brilliantly captured all the emotions and feeling accompanying Verity. I loved to see how her passion to life was growing back, how she was finding cooking relaxing and bringing joy again and I also loved how she dealt (or not) with the romance element in her life. I absolutely, totally adored watching how Verity and Tom were coming together, how awkward it was occasionally, and how genuine, and you've no idea how much I wanted those two to stay together, which was not so obvious, as - of course! Of course! - the author has pulled the rug from under their feet more than once!
I also loved to see how the school is coming to life. I adored the classes that the school offered and I'd myself love to try one or two of them, even if I were supposed to respond "Yes, Chef" to Tom. I could respond however he wished, to be honest, as Tom, you lovely folks, Tom is again one of the best male characters ever. I've no idea how Cathy Bramley manages to create such characters, as every book of hers brings us a new cookie. But better back to school, oh dear, I kinda went too far with my thoughts about Tom... The descriptions of the cookery school, inside and outside, and of the village were, as always, full of lovely details, vivid and springing to life.
The group of characters is just the best. Tom, Gloria, Mags, Rosie, Pixie - they were all fantastic, larger than life, funny and sad, just like the real people. However, I couldn't warm to Mimi's husband Gabe. I don't know why, there was something in him that made me feeling like this. And of course they all stick together! They support each other, they can count on each other, they bicker and then mend the fences and this all felt so genuine! It was really palpable that they all felt so good in their own company but also that any new person was heartily welcome, and this made me feel like a part of their world.
As usual, Cathy Bramley adds some more serious issues to her story, and it's the same with this novel, and this subplot is mention en passant every once in a while. I must admit, I relatively quickly guessed what it could be, that was so controversial and made Verity fell out with her parents, especially with her mother, but nevertheless it was an interesting look at this issue and I really appreciate the fact that Cathy has found a place for this in this light - hearted story. She also complicates the lives of the characters, adding a catastrophe here or there and she sees the timing brilliantly - she knows when to add a funny scene to brake the ice and when to add some drama to pump up the pace and feelings. There are twists and turns along the way but always treated with a dose of humour and wit.
Reading the book was a real joy, from start to finish. It is so well written, it has a lovely storyline and it's full to the brim with events of all sorts. It is a great journey that makes you laugh, cry, cheer and boo the characters, a great rollercoaster of emotions and full of beautiful descriptions and lovely setting. It belongs to these kind of books that you want to read as quickly as possible to see what's going to happen but you also don't want to end. However, after reading "The End", I felt so satisfied and so happy - Cathy Bramley has again delivered a brilliant, light - hearted, warm and uplifting read that I'll be coming back to for comfort. You really don't need comfort food when you have the book to hand. There were characters that you can relate to, it was down - to - earth and - again! - the cover is so incredibly gorgeous and inviting! Loved it and can't wait for more! Highly recommended!
Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for a review. ...more
So, when signing for this blog tour I actually didn't know what I'm getting into. Sure, I've read a synopsis but before I started reading the book I kSo, when signing for this blog tour I actually didn't know what I'm getting into. Sure, I've read a synopsis but before I started reading the book I kind of forgotten it and my first thoughts were what am I reading??? Yes, I'll be honest with you, the first two, three chapters were somehow difficult for me to get into and I was so short from putting the book away, and it was only the fact that I am reading it for a blog tour that kept me reading. Archangels, angels, GOD, and then add to this many rules and life plans and I was truly confused and it took me some time to decipher who is who and why and what's actually happening. But - I kept reading and after some time I got used to the very descriptive form of narration and to the story itself. And let's be honest - on the other hand, the plot of "Where is Emma Butler's Life Plan?" was really original and fresh and it for sure makes the book standing out of the many other novels, so similar to each other.
The story introduces us to Emma Butler - single, young, attractive, intelligent and loving her job. She's happy with her life but she's also unaware that somewhere above her, in the heavenly regions, there is a life plan written for her, just like for any other human on the planet Earth. Moreover, she has absolutely no idea that an error occurred about her life plan and that she has only a week of life left. But, as it was discovered only now by the Archangel Gregory, he and other angels start to work overtime, manipulating and changing, only that Emma can complete her life plan before her very quickly approaching recall date. Of course Emma has no idea about it, so it is a kind of surprise for her when suddenly she finds that her life is turning upside down. For example she's supposed to lost her job and it happens, though Emma has no idea what and why it happened. She's also supposed to fall in love but to fall in love you need a second person, right? So, the smart angels found this person and here is when we are introduced to Jack, owner of the health food shop. Their first meeting was not the most optimal one so the angels rush (of course. Of course!) to plot a plan that includes fire at Emma's flat or random meetings until eventually the attraction is there. As well as Emma and Jack, the angels were interesting characters, though I had a feeling that they were lost somehow between the narration and the long, long, very long descriptions and internal monologues, and I also felt that it's just impossible to get to know them totally and, in consequence, I've never warmed to them completely.
The book had its moments, really, when it had me giggling and I that the author tackled the matter of death and afterlife with a lot of subtle and intelligent humour and now I'm seeing that when I'm alone about doing something stupid I am looking around, searching for any sign of my very own guardian angel - but what bothered me was the fact that there wasn't any female angel and I was asking myself, why? Why couldn't a woman be a guardian angel and there were only Edmund, Tobias or Gregory and not Anna, Mary or Elizabeth? However I liked how the author described the angels, so very humanly and now, when angels are mentioned, I can't help but thinking about them running around in a panic, flapping their wings, squabbling with each other and playing little games against each other, just like people.
I was incredibly curious how the author is going to solve the mix - up as - to be honest - I didn't want to see Emma die. During this race against time there were many ups and downs together with twists and turns and altogether, it was a sweet, not demanding story with some important messages, but also such one that you can take with a pinch of salt. The book mixes humour and more serious issues with spirituality, it's light - hearted but with a deeper message. It was for sure a different read, interesting read, and it is really giving me shivers that maybe, probably, there is also a life plan for me, somewhere. It is a little crazy, a little too far - fetched, sometimes too predictable and sometimes you'll be looking at the words with disbelief, but altogether it was an enjoyable, funny novel. I had some issues with the writing style itself, as I've already mentioned it was very descriptive and more on the heavy side and for me it didn't read as easy and effortlessly as I like, but it's just me and my problem, so there. ...more