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

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrell

This is a bookring that I joined and I am so glad I did

Synopsis:
Set between the 1930s,and the present, Maggie O’Farrell’s new novel is the story of Esme, a woman edited out of her family’s history, and of the secrets that come to light when, sixty years later, she is released from care, and a young woman, Iris, discovers the great aunt she never knew she had. The mystery that unfolds is the heartbreaking tale of two sisters in colonial India and 1930s Edinburgh – of the loneliness that binds them together and the rivalries that drive them apart, and lead one of them to a shocking betrayal – but above all it is the story of Esme, a fiercely intelligent, unconventional young woman, and of the terrible price she is made to pay for her family’s unhappiness.

I read this book in a matter of hours, it was gripping, exciting and impossible to put down. This book caused a whole host of emotions as I read. I laughed and nearly cried at several parts of the book. My heart broke when I read what happened to Esme and I was disgusted and angry at her family.

My favourite characters where Iris and Esme, very similar characters I thought. I loved their passion and how they did as they pleased. Esme was so unconventional, not a typical 1930s girl and I admired her for taking a stand and being herself.

I enjoyed this book from page 1. The ending confused me a little but once I thought about it it made sense. It isn’t how I would have ended the book but I still liked it.

I have never read Maggie O’Farrell before but I will definitely read more of her work. She dealt with issues of mental health, family, society and love delicately and extremely well.

10/10