Why This Book Someone (I wish I could remember who -- and if it's you, please tell me) recommended Love, Secrets, and Absolution by K.L. Loveley earlier this year. I downloaded the book while it was free, then it sat in my TBR on Kindle Reader until I had time to read it. I am trying to clear off all my ARCS, giveaways or commitments on authors I know, so I chose this one to read while boarding a flight over the holidays. I'm glad I did -- it's quite a good story - 4.5 stars! (It's so rare I give out a 5, but this came very close.)
Plot, Characters & Setting The book kicks off when Alfie is born in a small English village to parents Grace and Paul. As he grows into a toddler, his behavior becomes questionable, pushing his father Paul to grow angry and ultimately have an affair, as he no longer loves Grace over how she coddles Alfie. Grace, with little education or money, learns how to raise Alfie on her own. Alfie learns how to make friends, socializes with others and attends college throughout the course of this novel. He encounters drugs, alcohol, girls and bullies, all in a way to self-medicate or handle his different personality and social anxieties. We later learn he likely has Asperger's Syndrome, which has helped shape how he sees the world.
Approach & Style The book is relatively short and very easy to read in one sitting. I read the Kindle version on my iPad in ~2 hours. It's told in third person POV with a focus on a bunch of different characters who all interact with Alfie. It's inviting and simple, yet complex in emotions.
Thoughts I adored this book. Alfie and Grace have a very sad -- and happy -- story that will tug at your heart. It avoids all the cliches of the high points and low points, instead focusing on the middle range of someone with this type of alternative approach to interpreting the world. Alfie is such a likable character, and I could read more about him anytime. He makes mistakes - I want to shake him. He shows love - I want to hug him. It's a snapshot of different points in his life where he learns lessons of who to love and trust, and who will lead him astray. Loveley captures a brilliant and endearing quality in a boy who deserves so much more than what he was given. Even though Grace is a wonderful mother, and Paul turns out to be fairly decent in the end, Alfie deserves even more. He needs friends, better extended family and true support from a school. It's a remarkable story and I cannot recommend it enough for the way it will help you see things just a little bit differently.
Summary Loveley is a great writer; she knows how to elicit your feelings and trust. I will definitely read more from her, as there is a beautiful quality in how she tells a story. You'll be engaged from the first moment where Alfie talks to you while in his mother's womb to the very end where he has to handle all that's thrown at his mother when she needs help. Take a chance on this one, please.
About Me For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
Grace and Paul had been trying for sometime to have a baby before she finally falls pregnant. Alfie makes his appearance in the world and as he grows up and takes in his surrounding and other, he realises that he is not quite the same as other children. Paul is aware that his son is a little different, Grace loves her son regardless. Set during a time of miners strikes in Nottinghamshire, money is tight, nerves are frayed and emotions run riot, the reader is allowed into this little family group and gets a very unique perspective of how the family works, observing the stresses, strains as well as the happy times and milestones.
This is a wonderful read that had me hooked from the very first few paragraphs to the very last sentence. Told from the perspectives of Alifie and Mum Grace, from his arrival in the world through his early years, schools and university, and also wonderful diary entries from Grace. I loved the reasoning, experiences, observations and thoughts from both of these characters, but especially from Alfie. He is a vulnerable, easily led and naive boy trying to find his place in the world, wanting to belong and find his “normal” place in society.
It also touches upon how schools, Doctors and health professionals didn’t diagnose Alfie, but also how Grace didn’t push for a diagnosis. A very insightful and poignant read, that was emotional at times and very believable, having to remind myself several times that these were not real but characters. The author has used her experiences from nursing and observing people in various situations to add that all important extra detail to this story.
This is a great read that I would definitely recommend to readers who like General Fiction, Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction with some wonderful detailing on family dynamics, social attitudes and factors, as well as mental health issues.
What a wealth of emotions I experienced whilst reading this heartwarming book. I always find that books told from different perspectives get right under my skin. Seeing a story unfold from both sides gives the reader an insight that we wish we could have in real life. Alas, you can never know what somebody is thinking but in the world of books and fiction we become marvellous, magical mind-readers!
K.L. Loveley has written an emotional, frank and thoughtful book on a family dealing with Asperger's Syndrome. Now this story starts during the miner's strike of 1984 with Paul and Grace welcoming their longed-for first child into the world, in a time where kids weren't diagnosed with ADHD or autistm, they were just thought of as weird or naughty. Baby Alfie is not like other children, he doesn't so much play with toys or books as rearranges them: in straight lines, size order or colour coded. His mother, Grace, loves him unconditionally but his father, Paul, thinks his brain isn't wired right. As far as I was concerned, Alfie is bright and smart and so what if he is a little different.
I knew I would love Alfie from the minute he describes his birth. He is like a little sponge, absorbing information and becoming smarter every day whilst seeing things that his young mind cannot fully understand but he knows is wrong. He doesn't make friends easily but those who are lucky enough to befriend Alfie have someone on their side who would lay down their life for them. He may not have fully developed social skills but he sure does go the extra mile for people he loves.
Grace's chapters are told via her diary and I loved this. Rather than just telling the story from Grace's point of view, we are allowed a peep into her diary where she records her innermost thoughts and feelings. Her love for Alfie shines through every page and you might be thinking that she sounds like an overprotective mother but she allows Alfie to make mistakes and learn from them, but Grace is always there to pick up the pieces and set him back on the right track (as long as it is straight).
I thoroughly enjoyed watching Alfie grow up before my eyes. He's not perfect as he's an easy target for those scumbags who prey on the weak and vulnerable, but I like to think that, with his friends and family on his side, he becomes a stronger person because of his mistakes.
Open your heart to Alfie and pick up a copy of Love, Secrets and Absolution today! It's something a little different from most family dramas as Alfie's condition isn't diagnosed until his late-teens. So until then, his family and friends don't know what they're dealing with - he's just 'not right', but who decides what is 'right' and what isn't? Perhaps people should look in the mirror before labelling something as flawed or 'not right'. The world would be a boring place if we were all perfect.
I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.
I was approached by the author to see if I would like to review Love Secrets & Absolution after reading her previous novel Alice.
The blurb immediately gripped me and I willingly began to read. Now very occasionally I get a book where I am so immersed that ‘real life’ ceases to exist. I flew through the pages of Love Secrets & Absolution and was so desperate to reach the conclusion that I was still reading at 3am!
My heart went out to Grace, she is the mother of Alfie. Grace is absolutely besotted with her son, her love, devotion and immense protection towards him is admirable.
Her hubby Paul begins to question whether the boy is ‘normal’ .. Paul is a miner, typical working man of that era (80’s) and almost embarrassed to admit his boy is different from the other kids who play in the park.
Alfie is unique, his life is very black or white he has no grey. We follow the lives of this family from Alfie’s birth, throughout his childhood, teens and to adult.
Told mainly from Alfie’s point of view and Grace’s diary the insights are remarkable. As much as Grace realises Alfie is different she sacrifices everything to ensure he comes first and gets the most out of life. The journey is not an easy one, the family is shrouded in secrets, lies and deceit and as a *trigger* I have to mention there are drugs and alcohol involved. It is all relevant to the story and tastefully done but just be aware anyone who may be sensitive.
I loved the exploration of friendships, financial issues, learning and acceptance. I particularly enjoyed the first few chapters where Alfie is describing life from his view as a baby, very thought provoking. This is so beautifully written I defy anyone not to fall under Alfie’s spell. It plays with your emotions and I was pretty strung-out by the end but satisfied with the finish.
A marvellous book that envelops the reader and leaves you with an awful lot to think about human relationships. I heartily recommend Love Secrets & Absolution and don’t hesitate to give it five stars. I’m now experiencing a ‘book hangover’ where the next book I read has a hell of a lot to live up to!
My thanks to the author and Globe Flower agency for my copy which I read and reviewed voluntarily.
Love, Secrets, and Absolution was such a moving and poignant book. It is the tale of a family torn apart because of the son Alfie's autism, his mother Grace's devotion and defense of him while everyone else (including his father) says Alfie is just not "quite right". Told from alternating viewpoints, starting with Alfie as an infant, and progressing with him up through college, it is a unique look at what autistic kids and families with a member afflicted go through. It starts at a time when not as much was known about autism, so Alfie does not get diagnosed until he is in college. So for most of his journey through childhood into adult, no one really understood what he was going through or why he did the things he did. I was emotionally effected by this book and would recommend it to anyone. I received this book from the author to be read as part of Goodreads group https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/....... thank you!
This book took me on a whirlwind of emotions, at times I found it to be extremely well written and the story was so well thought through and planned, it was clearly evident that the author loves and cares about the subject in this book.
I know a few people with Asperger's Syndrome and I know how well they cope, but also how hard it can be, and how difficult it has been in the past for them - this book is set back in the 1980s when there was not the same understanding and acceptance as there is today and the story really does make you think - the book is a touching one.
Grace and Alfie are great characters and I loved how the story was told through them - four stars from me, a really well written story!
This is a remarkable read, and I’m really not sure how to convey what a striking novel it is. One thing’s for sure, K. L. Loveley’s Secrets, Love & Absolution is a book which is going to stay with me for a long, long time.
This is the story of Alfie, a much longed-for child for his mother Grace. Older than usual, she loves and cherishes Alfie with all that she is capable of and they have a very strong bond. Despite the opinions of others – including her husband, his father – that Alfie isn’t a normal boy she does everything in her power to make his way in the world as loving as possible. Whilst excelling in his schoolwork, Alfie struggles in social situations and doesn’t make friends easily, but he is very perceptive as to why that is. We follow Grace and Alfie from his birth right through his years in full time education – and there are certainly some eye-popping situations.
The author has a way of really making her reader think about what is on each page. I found myself very aware of the predilections of some to attach a label to everyone they meet, whilst others have the capability of just accepting the person in front of them. It’s been a long time since I have pondered over a book as much as I have this one. It’s more than a story – it could easily be a true story and that is all credit to the author’s style of writing. This is an easy read, but an extremely thought-provoking one and I’m grateful that I’ve read it. I have no hesitation in giving Love, Secrets and Absolution the very highest recommendation.
I first heard of this novel via Globeflower Books and would like to thank them as it’s not a book I would have ever wanted to miss! This is my honest, original and unbiased review.
I thought it was wonderful how Paul's POV was also included; though I wished there had been more of his Point of View in the novel, he would have been a slight contrast to Grace. I got a copy in exchange for an honest review.
I struggled a fair amount with the first half of this book; a lot of the writing, especially the dialogue, felt robotic & I wish that some of the themes had been explored in more detail. If Alfie's childhood & early teen years had been explored more, with more detail & pages, my overall rating would definitely be higher.
I ate up the second half hungrily though, & read it in one sitting. Reading about Alfie's experiences as an older-teenager & a student at university was really gripping & educational, but the experiences of his mother, Grace, interested me as well because of the things I have dealt with in my own life. The writing also seemed better in the second half, but that could be because I had got used to the writing style.
Love, Secrets & Absolution is great if you're interested in Aspergers; reading about life from the perspective of someone with Aspergers & someone raising a child with Aspergers was an interesting experience that definitely taught me something!
Love, Secrets & Absolution is different from what I generally read but I'm pleased I read it because I have learnt more about Aspergers, which will probably help me in my future. I want to say a huge thank you to Globeflower Books for contacting me & asking me to be a part of the blog tour for Love, Secrets & Absolution; despite my gratitude this has not affected my review in anyway.
This book is the story of a family of a child with Asperberger's Syndrome. Although we don't learn exactly what makes Alfie so different until he is a college student, I had a strong suspicion much sooner based on his behaviors and his feelings. The book has chapters from the point of view of Grace (the mother), Alfie (the child) and Paul (the father). I loved the chapters from Alfie's point of view as an infant and toddler--they were definitely a new perspective on things. Reading all the challenges this family went through over the years and seeing how each of them dealt with those challenges (too much trying to keep things from the others, in my opinion!), was a deeply emotional experience. The ending is very realistic, giving the reader hope for Alfie's future without tying everything up in a neat little bow. I received an ARC of this work from the author and publisher, with no expectation of a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.
I participate in a blog tour and I was offered an ARC in exchange for an honest review. The blurb intrigued me, the cover is really adorable and I jumped to the opportunity to read a freshly published novel (the publication date is the 1st of November) and share my opinion with you.
Love, Secrets, and Absolution is K. L. Lovely’s second novel, and it is her first book published by Globeflower Books, an imprint of The Globeflower Agency, LTD. Love, Secrets, and Absolution is the story of Grace, her husband, Paul, and their son, Alfie. The story follows the family through Alfie’s birth, Paul’s affair, which causes an immediate split, and the trials and triumphs Grace and Alfie experience as Alfie grows up and lives life through the filter of a young man with Asperger’s Syndrome.
Before I discuss the content of the book, I must mention the copyediting. I am not known for my meticulous attention to correct grammar. I’ve always been more concerned with content; I can easily miss, or consciously overlook and forgive, errors in the mechanics of writing. However, the poor editing in this book distracted from the story and did a disservice to the author. The many run-on sentences and missing or misused commas made the text frustrating to read. Also problematic were some issues with subject/verb agreement, poorly used exclamation points, cumbersome adjective use, and generally stiff, awkward sentences. As an example, in this excerpt there are numerous obvious errors:
“Paul looked on proudly as he watched his newborn son cradled in his wife’s arms, they were a vision of health and loveliness. Grace and Alfie appeared content and within the moment, it was as if no one else in the world mattered to either one of them. They were one, as though the umbilical cord had never been cut. He knew for certain it had, for the midwife asked if he wanted the honours. Paul didn’t hesitate at the significant event of cutting the cord which supplied his son with nutrition from the blood of Grace. However, he predicted that the bond between them might never break, and an invisible umbilical cord would forever remain. Paul could not take his eyes off them, he looked at Grace, his eyes full of love and joy.”
In defense of the editing, I am reviewing an ARC, and some of this may very well be addressed in the final copy. However, with errors so prevalent, and it being so close to publication when the ARC was received, it is unlikely many of these mistakes will be corrected.
Regarding content, I believe the author was attached to her story and tried to make it as gripping and emotionally powerful for the readers as she could. There are many well-written children’s and adult books available to readers looking for character-driven stories, especially if they are interested in characters with neurodiversity. A few I can think of off-hand include The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon and Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig. Each of these books handle their stories and characters brilliantly. Love, Secrets, and Absolution has a much more limited appeal than the books mentioned. The writing in this book will put off most readers; it simply isn’t that good.
Many chapters of the book are written from Alfie’s point of view. The first of these begins with his birth. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to write a birth scene from the baby’s point of view. However, I couldn’t help but laugh during Alfie’s description of his birth. Though unintentional, that same comic feeling is repeated over the first few years of Alfie’s life during his narrated chapters. The randomness of the vocabulary he uses in contrast to the words he doesn’t know follows no logic. Moreover, his basic descriptions of what he sees and experiences, which appear to be written to inspire wonder and show a child’s view of the world, come across as funny, misguided, and ultimately irrelevant.
In addition, if you are going to read this, you will be repeatedly pummeled with the notion that Grace is an angel sacrificing her very life and physical well-being for her child (to an extent, this is what all decent parents do). In contrast, I don’t think you can find one good man in any feature role in the entire book. I won’t even discuss the gaudy ribbon used to neatly tie up all the character’s problems in the conclusion and close the book on a final note of absolution.
Typically, I wouldn’t finish a book like this, nor take the time to review it. However, I agreed with the publishing agency that I would do so and cannot give anything other than my honest opinion. It isn’t easy to review a book you don’t enjoy. I can understand and appreciate all the hard work that went into this book, especially by the author. I do value the time she spent working on her story, and I believe that she will find some readers who enjoy this book. Read more reviews at www.andhereads.com
I couldn't finish this book. I could see what the author was trying to accomplish, but the P.O.V from the child, especially the early ones had content that he could not know or understand and creeped me out and because of this I stopped reading. Other people might enjoy this style of writing, so don't be put of and consider other peoples reviews. Most of mine are 4 and 5 stars because there is a lot of books to get through in the world and I'll never have enough time to read them all, so if a book doesn't draw me in and I just can't stop reading it, I move on. I might come back later and try reading it again, but this was one I left on my kindle for a long time and never went back for.