Alice has a passion for singing and songwriting and desperately wants to get her music out into the world. She also has cystic fibrosis – a chronic genetic disorder which affects her lungs - so knows she may not have long to make her dreams come true.
This novel, based on a true story, totally captivated me – it was the perfect way to spend one rainy weekend. There is the beautiful romance between Alice and the guy who spotted her through an art gallery window, Tom. The caring and supportive relationships between Alice, her parents, her brother and her close friends. The eye-opening portrayal of what daily life is like for someone with CF. And it is also a fitting tribute to a courageous young artist who sought to get her music heard and make every second count. It all adds up to one incredibly moving and inspiring story, read it now – don’t wait for tomorrow.
When single mother January Wild walked into the offices of Sherwoods estate officers to interview for the position of manager Jeremy North’s PA, the last thing she would have wanted was to end up a blubbering wreck. But she did - yet she still got the job! Three years on, and Jeremy’s retiring and in his place comes no-nonsense Ward Metcalfe. And January hardly gets off on the right foot with her new boss.
It’s actually quite hard to sum this one up, because much of the narrative is taken up with filling in January’s past and that’s where a lot of the drama and plot take place. The present-day narrative is to some extent something of a by-product and a lot of the focus is on January’s childhood, her relationship with Dan – the father of her daughter Isla – and Isla herself and her health struggles. January’s work life with Ward is therefore not given such attention and does feel slightly neglected. However, Peterson is masterful at taking her readers on an emotional journey and this is no exception, touching on disability, bullying, sibling relationships, love and family. And it's the emotional integrity that binds this novel together and makes it work. It was also lovely to see grandparents given a starring role and recognition of the wisdom and courage of the older generation that should always be cherished and never taken for granted. A novel full of heart, as readers have come to expect from Peterson. (JC)
Single mother Polly has a past racked with mistakes and guilt but having left behind a negative relationship with the father of her son, Louis, and having got her life back on track, she's determined to keep moving forward. When she develops a friendship with Ben, the lone guardian to his niece, Emily, everything seems to be falling into place. But the reappearance of Louis' father, Matthew, complicates matters.
Driven by some compelling characters, rich storylines and powerful issues, Peterson's latest novel is a real tour de force. It's a novel that feels hugely authentic, exploring the darker side of relationships and life, as well as the softer moments of parenthood and love. Peterson really does cover an enormous amount of ground and her success is making it all feel believable and real. And in the developing relationships between the adults and children in the novel, Peterson creates some beautiful moments. Whilst I would have liked slightly more from Matthew's return, overall this is an extremely accomplished novel that offers a thoroughly satisfying and enriching reading experience. It's amazing how much Peterson gives you in 400 pages. (JC)
Cass is living the life of a teenage student, drinking, partying and having weekend sex with her boyfriend Sean. Her life is turned upside down though when, in a split second, she makes a mistake and ends up being hit by a car. Paralysed from the waist down, Cass must learn to live again with her disability. Cue Ticket, a gorgeous golden retriever who has been specially trained to help Cass complete simple, every day tasks. Cass and Ticket form an unbreakable bond and soon the future looks bright again.
You will not be able to stop yourself from crying and falling in love with this story. If you have ever loved an animal or experienced a disability yourself then you will be able to relate to this book so well. It's a brilliant book that tackles tough subjects with compassion and skill. (LL)
As they welcome in the New Year, Becca, Olly and Joe - students, flatmates and friends - contemplate, with the buoyant optimism and confident bravado of youth, what they will be doing in ten years time. The main story opens ten years on, with Becca and Olly now happily married in London, but with Joe conspicuously absent from their lives. When Becca's world suddenly comes crashing down, she returns to her childhood home to seek support from her parents, and finds herself meeting Joe again for the first time in ten years. They begin to rebuild the friendship that they once held so dear, but there are still a lot of unresolved issues between the pair which threaten to break them up again.
This is a wonderfully written story that tugs at the heartstrings - a beautiful portrayal of love, loss and friendship. (JC)
Gilly Brown thought she lost her chance at happiness when fiance Edward dumped her two weeks before their wedding. At 34, with most of her friends settled and moving out of London, being single is a terribly lonely experience, especially with her sister-in-law's constant reminder of her "ticking" biological clock and news of Edward marrying someone else. Deciding to make some changes in her life, she takes a
friend's advice and sets up a series of interviews to find a weekday lodger - eventually getting more than she wishes for - an ideal and
attractive candidate in the form of TV producer Jack Baker. At the same time, Gilly also develops feelings for the newest member of her dog walking group, Guy.
This book is so easy to relate to, I found myself laughing often. I also appreciated how the author added Megan's character (Gilly's sister) to provide some emotional depth. (XT)