Synopsis

On the outskirts of New York, Elephant Beach to be exact, Katie and her friends are spending their final summer growing up. Having recently graduated from high school, Katie and co should be full of hope and excitement for the future yet they are all festering in a dying seaside town that is dealing with working class problems, teen marriage and pregnancy and the repercussions of the war in Vietnam.

The most hopeful among the residents is Katie, yet she is the least enthusiastic to let her life in Elephant Beach end.

Review

Firstly, I would like to say a massive thank you to Georgina Moore at Headline Books for sending me a copy of this book. I really do appreciate it.

If I Knew You were going to be this Beautiful, I Never Would Have Let you Go is an absolutely stunning novel which is exploding with atmosphere in an oh so subtle way. The story doesn’t fly off the page and make your heart race with desperate need to know what is about to happen, however, Chicurel does make you want to read on, keep reading ahead and find out more about the lives of those who inhabit Elephant Beach.

You could almost argue that it is very Salinger-esque in that it is a novel where almost nothing happens. The story instead focuses on the intricacies of the family unit, the dynamics of friendship and how they have been impacted by the Vietnamese war; a social study of life in 1970s America.

What is tackled throughout the book is the feeling of loss and loneliness – loss of oneself, loss of identity and loss of faith among many things. Our protagonist, Katie, seems to be bombarded with loss throughout the novel. She never really knows who she is being that she is a child of adoption, her friends either keep moving away, getting married or pregnant – therefore her social circle declines rapidly or the people that she wants to know more of are so changed by war that it makes it near on impossible.

Yet, ironically, it seems that Katie is the most comfortable of all the characters to be left at Elephant Beach. She is cleverly juxtaposed as the character with the most potential yet the one most unwilling to let go and move on.

If I Knew You were going to be this Beautiful, I Never Would Have Let you Go is a striking coming of age novel, one that teaches you that life isn’t easy, growing up is hard but we all have to face the future at some point.

If I Knew You were going to be this Beautiful, I Never Would Have Let you Go by Judy Chicurel is available now.

 

 

October has been awesome. I have managed to read loads as well as introduce a new festive feature to my blog. Go team me.

The books that I have read are as follows:

The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani

1,411 QI Facts to Knock You Sideways by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson and James Harkin

The Snow Globe by Kristen Harmel

A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond

A Christmas to Remember by Jenny Hale

Confessions of a City Girl: Los Angeles (A Confessions Novella) by Juliette Sobanet

Fat Chance by Nick Spalding

Us by David Nicholls

Zenith Hotel by Oscar Coop-Phane

Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake by Sue Watson

From Notting Hill with Love…Actually by Ali McNamara

The Wives of Beverly Row 1: Lust Has a New Address by Abby Weeks

Arms Wide Open: A Novella by Juli Caldwell

From Notting Hill to New York…Actually by Ali McNamara

Belzhar by Meg Woitzer

How to Lose a Girl in 10 Ways: Words from a Wonderfully Woeful Womaniser by Sean Smithson

The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown

If I Knew You Were Going to be this Beautiful, I Never Would Have Let you Go by Judi Chicurel

So 18 books is pretty good going I think. I’m going to give myself a hearty well done and a high five for that impressive list.

November is seeming like another busy month. Here are the books due for review:

High Notes: A Rock Memoir by Richard Loren

The Bullet Catch by John Gaspard

The Glass Magician by Charlie N Holmberg

Cold Feet at Christmas by Debbie Johnson

Hello from the Gillespies by Monica McInerney

It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane

Thinking About It Will Only Make It Worse by David Mitchell

Melt by Selene Castrovilla

Until You Find Me by Amber Hart

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

Neil Gaiman’s The Last Temptation 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition by Neil Gaiman

Elvis Presley by Joel Williamsoon

Sound Man by Glyn Johns

What if He’s The One? by Kathy Jay

The Second Time I Saw You by Pippa Croft

Waiting for Doggo by Mark Mills

There are so many books that I am due to read. Fortunately, December seems relatively quiet so I should be able to catch up.

So that is it folks. The round up for October. Yeehaw!

Hope your week has been brilliant.

L x

October has been awesome. I have managed to read loads as well as introduce a new festive feature to my blog. Go team me.

The books that I have read are as follows:

The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani

1,411 QI Facts to Knock You Sideways by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson and James Harkin

The Snow Globe by Kristen Harmel

A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond

A Christmas to Remember by Jenny Hale

Confessions of a City Girl: Los Angeles (A Confessions Novella) by Juliette Sobanet

Fat Chance by Nick Spalding

Us by David Nicholls

Zenith Hotel by Oscar Coop-Phane

Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake by Sue Watson

From Notting Hill with Love…Actually by Ali McNamara

The Wives of Beverly Row 1: Lust Has a New Address by Abby Weeks

Arms Wide Open: A Novella by Juli Caldwell

From Notting Hill to New York…Actually by Ali McNamara

Belzhar by Meg Woitzer

How to Lose a Girl in 10 Ways: Words from a Wonderfully Woeful Womaniser by Sean Smithson

The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown

If I Knew You Were Going to be this Beautiful, I Never Would Have Let you Go by Judi Chicurel

So 18 books is pretty good going I think. I’m going to give myself a hearty well done and a high five for that impressive list.

November is seeming like another busy month. Here are the books due for review:

High Notes: A Rock Memoir by Richard Loren

The Bullet Catch by John Gaspard

The Glass Magician by Charlie N Holmberg

Cold Feet at Christmas by Debbie Johnson

Hello from the Gillespies by Monica McInerney

It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane

Thinking About It Will Only Make It Worse by David Mitchell

Melt by Selene Castrovilla

Until You Find Me by Amber Hart

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

Neil Gaiman’s The Last Temptation 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition by Neil Gaiman

Elvis Presley by Joel Williamsoon

Sound Man by Glyn Johns

What if He’s The One? by Kathy Jay

The Second Time I Saw You by Pippa Croft

Waiting for Doggo by Mark Mills

There are so many books that I am due to read. Fortunately, December seems relatively quiet so I should be able to catch up.

So that is it folks. The round up for October. Yeehaw!

Hope your week has been brilliant.

L x

October has been awesome. I have managed to read loads as well as introduce a new festive feature to my blog. Go team me.

The books that I have read are as follows:

The Supreme Macaroni Company by Adriana Trigiani

1,411 QI Facts to Knock You Sideways by John Lloyd, John Mitchinson and James Harkin

The Snow Globe by Kristen Harmel

A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond

A Christmas to Remember by Jenny Hale

Confessions of a City Girl: Los Angeles (A Confessions Novella) by Juliette Sobanet

Fat Chance by Nick Spalding

Us by David Nicholls

Zenith Hotel by Oscar Coop-Phane

Snow Angels, Secrets and Christmas Cake by Sue Watson

From Notting Hill with Love…Actually by Ali McNamara

The Wives of Beverly Row 1: Lust Has a New Address by Abby Weeks

Arms Wide Open: A Novella by Juli Caldwell

From Notting Hill to New York…Actually by Ali McNamara

Belzhar by Meg Woitzer

How to Lose a Girl in 10 Ways: Words from a Wonderfully Woeful Womaniser by Sean Smithson

The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown

If I Knew You Were Going to be this Beautiful, I Never Would Have Let you Go by Judi Chicurel

So 18 books is pretty good going I think. I’m going to give myself a hearty well done and a high five for that impressive list.

November is seeming like another busy month. Here are the books due for review:

High Notes: A Rock Memoir by Richard Loren

The Bullet Catch by John Gaspard

The Glass Magician by Charlie N Holmberg

Cold Feet at Christmas by Debbie Johnson

Hello from the Gillespies by Monica McInerney

It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane

Thinking About It Will Only Make It Worse by David Mitchell

Melt by Selene Castrovilla

Until You Find Me by Amber Hart

The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

Neil Gaiman’s The Last Temptation 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition by Neil Gaiman

Elvis Presley by Joel Williamsoon

Sound Man by Glyn Johns

What if He’s The One? by Kathy Jay

The Second Time I Saw You by Pippa Croft

Waiting for Doggo by Mark Mills

There are so many books that I am due to read. Fortunately, December seems relatively quiet so I should be able to catch up.

So that is it folks. The round up for October. Yeehaw!

Hope your week has been brilliant.

L x

Synopsis

When Sybil is invited by her friend Cher to spend a few days in Tindale, a tiny village where Cher and her partner Clive run the local pub, Sybil jumps at the chance. Lately, all Sybil has done is mope about how tragic her life is; her fiancé ran out on her – on their wedding day no less, and to make it worse he ran off with her identical twin sister; the mounting debt from the wedding that never was is still having to be dealt with and to top it all off Sybil seriously believes that she has made a giant cock-up at work which will cost the great British taxpayer £42,000 – whoopsie.

Yes the best thing for Sybil is to get away from it all. However, what Sybil soon realises is that country life is a lot more complex than the anonymity that London affords. Sybil is quickly immersed in the ways of the close knit community and soon has to deal with the fact that everybody – absolutely everybody has their own demons to deal with.

Review

Having previously read books by Alexandra Brown I was immediately put at ease because I knew I was in for a treat. Brown always manages to find the heart of the story an make you fall in love – not only with the characters but with their stories, their problems and their sheer will power. My favourite thing about Brown’s writing is her ability to make me fall in love with her settings. I am not one for the quiet country life and will always be a city girl but I could imagine myself living in the sleepy town of Tindale and – shock horror – being happy there. Kudos to you,  Alexandra Brown.

Another thing that I really enjoy about Brown’s writing – and something that she has expressed especially well in The Great Christmas Knit Off – is how she captures real life problems. She doesn’t overwhelm you with sadness and heartbreak but she reveals the inner strength of her characters and it becomes inspiring. The way the community rallied around Hettie in her hour of need shows the warmth and generosity of people which we sometimes forget about. She also manages to have inherently flawed characters that remain likeable. You could argue that Sybil has a classic case of avoidance about her own problems yet even though she buries her head in the sand she still has the time and good grace to help others in need.

It is these key features that are at the heart of Alexandra Brown’s novels and it is also why I absolutely love picking them up to read.

The Great Christmas Knit Off by Alexandra Brown is available November 6th, 2014.

You can follow Alexandra Brown on Twitter @alexbrownbooks

The Great Christmas Knit Off