Speaking of Love by Angela Young

speaking of love

Synopsis from Beautiful Books:

When human beings don’t talk about love, things go wrong.

If a mother had told her daughter that she loved her, they might not have spent years apart. If a man had found the courage to tell a woman that he loved her she might never have married another man. And if a father had told his daughter that he loved her when her mother died, she might not have suffered the breakdown that caused the rift with her own daughter.

But if you are born into a family that never talks about love, how do you learn to say the words?

SPEAKING of LOVE is a novel about what happens when people who love each other don’t say so. It deals passionately and honestly with human breakdown. And it tells of our need for stories and how stories can help make sense of the random nature of life.

This is Young’s first novel, and in my opinion it is a success. The book follows three people: Iris, Vivie and Matthew. Iris is Vivie’s mother and suffers from mental health issues and suffers a devastating break down. Vivie is only young when this happens and it emotionally scars to the point she feels like her life is collapsing around her. Matthew is a few years older than Vivie and they grew up as next door neighbours. Matthew is in love with Vivie but cannot tells her how he feels. In fact, none of them can voice their feelings; leading to heartbreak and separation. But in a special twist of fate, a storytelling event where Iris is speaking brings all of them together…will feelings be voiced and hurts mended?

This was a beautiful book. It took a little while to get going, and to be honest I did think about stopping reading it; however I am so glad I pushed on. As the story unfolds it is gripping and real. I would not class this as chick-lit or romance fiction because the main theme alongside love is mental health. Most of the consequences in the book arise from Iris’ illness and Young honestly explores the repercussion of being so ill and having a breakdown.

One aspect I really enjoyed was the fact Iris was a story teller. Not just that but some of her stories are published in the book, and they were lovely to read.

The book flits between Iris, Vivie and Matthew; and it flows easily between the three. Alongside that, they all slip into memories gracefully and this explains how they were feeling, recalls events that changed their lives and gives an insight into Iris’ illness.

This is not a fast read, however it is a wonderful book and I recommend it for everyone.

8/10

Published by: Beautiful Books

RRP: £7.99

Advertisements

Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard

emotional-geology

Synopsis:

Rose Leonard is on the run from her life. Taking refuge in a remote island community, she cocoons herself in work, silence and solitude in a house by the sea. But she is haunted by her past, by memories and desires she’d hoped were long dead. Rose must decide whether she has in fact chosen a new life or just a different kind of death. Life and love are offered by new friends, her lonely daughter, and most of all Calum, a fragile younger man who has his own demons to exorcise. But does Rose, with her tenuous hold on life and sanity, have the courage to say yes to life and put her past behind her?

A unique book in many ways. Gillard deals with death, bi-polar mental illness and love in middle-age people. Well, I loved it. I could not put it down. Gillard is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. I really enjoy her writing style; she is so imaginative and the way she describes landscapes and feelings is magical. I could picture what was being described, and she wrote so well I now long to go there and discover the island for myself. I also appreciated the map in the front of the book and the little bit of information about the island. They helped with the reading immensely.

Once again, the characters were just fantastic. Rose, who suffers with manic depression is dealt with sensitively and informatively. Calum, well he was a character I fell for. Even with his own troubles he was there for Rose. What a man. And my favourite, his sister Shona. She seemed delightful.

I have finished this book feeling satisfied. This is more than chick-lit, where the protagonist falls in love, this is a story of depth, of healing, death and illness, and it was beautiful. A part of me wishes it hadn’t finished and I know I will invest in my own copy of this book, and indeed Gillard’s other novels, as all have had an effect on me, and all I will want to read, and read again.

I can only praise this book and encourage others to read it too.

10/10

Through the Dark Woods by Joanna Swinney

through-the-dark-woods

Synopsis from Amazon:

This book is based on the author’s own experience of wrestling with depression, and her story carries the book along. Using this structure, she discusses the stigma associated with depression. She talks of the importance of correct diagnosis, and the challenges of day to day survival. She takes an honest look at the temptation to suicide, and how depression affects one’s prayer life and relationship to God. Where are the sources of comfort and healing? Jo Swinney considers biblical characters subject to depression, and argues for the importance of sharing stories. Finally she asks, what does her depression teach her?

As someone who battles with depression I was given this book by a friend to help me, and I will certainly be passing it on to others, especially those who have never suffered with depression. This is a really useful book about depression, based around Swinney’s own experience. She is honest and writes in a fluid way which is easy to follow and understand. All the chapters are short and easily accessible. She explains depression and the different ways it can affect people, and she gives tips on how to cope and how to battle out of it.

What I found most helpful was seeing how I feel in writing, but written by someone else. I will be passing this book so people can gain an insight into how I feel a lot of the time. I also liked how she recommened books, books on depression and fiction books!

Swinney is a Christian, and she does talk about God and her depression, and some focus of the book is on relationship with God, but don’t let that put you off. There is no preaching and it is not overwhelming at all. As a Christian I found it useful, but not overbearing at all.

This is a really useful book and I recommend it to everyone, people who have suffered and those who haven’t.

8/10

When the Darkness Will Not Lift – John Piper

When the Darkness Will Not Lift by John Piper is a Christian book for those suffering with depression, or people aiding those who are suffering. It was an Amazon recommendation when I purchased another Christian book on depression.

Here is the Amazon synopsis:

John Piper offers insight into depression and spiritual darkness, and the Christian response to them. For sufferers and carers, he provides reason for hope that God will lift them out of despair and into the light.

This is not a long book, only 79 pages. However, it did take me quite a while to read this book. Piper has some very helpful things to say, and he includes lots of quotes from famous people, such as John Newton and C.S. Lewis as well as many quotations from the Bible. Some comments I found related to me personally, such as the fighting to get out of bed when feeling down. It was also interesting to learn that sometimes in order to help ourselves we need to help others, that way we will experience God’s grace.

However, some of the quotes used were written in very old fashioned English so I struggled with some of the meanings. I don’t like Piper’s writing style either. I find it does not flow easily and sometimes his sentence structure throws me.

All in all, this was a bit of a tough read but with some very helpful advice.

7/10