Title: Geraldine Verne’s Red Suitcase

Author: Jane Riley

Pages: 338 Pages

Publisher: Lake Union

The Blurb

His dying wish was to set her free. So why does she feel so trapped?

Jack had two dying wishes: that his wife scatter his ashes somewhere ‘exotic’, and that she not give up on life once he was gone. He intended to spur her on to new adventures, but despite clinging to her red suitcase, Geraldine Verne hasn’t left the house for three months.

It takes an accident for Geri to accept help from her friends, but when Meals on Wheels arrive she is mortified. Yet heartbroken volunteer Lottie brings with her more than cottage pie and custard. Like Geri, she too is struggling to cut loose.

As a gloriously unlikely friendship blossoms, Geraldine begins to feel a long-lost spark of life and a newfound confidence. Perhaps what both women needed most, after all, was each other.

The Review

There are some book themes that are hard to read. They bring you down or take you to a place that you don’t want to go to and you would think that a book which revolves around the theme of grief would be a book you would want to stay away from. Not Geraldine Verne’s Red Suitcase. It is simply wonderful.

Geraldine Verne’s husband has recently died and our journey with Geraldine through the novel is watching how she deals with grief and ultimately acceptance of her new situation. Her life without her beloved Jack.

Ultimately, Geraldine Verne’s Red Suitcase is a celebration of life, love, and the people who stick by you in the hard times and the knowledge that you will survive grief. Similar to The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper and The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Geraldine Verne’s Red Suitcase is a life affirming warm hug of a book and one you should all add to your TBR.

Geraldine Verne’s Red Suitcase by Jane Riley is available now.

For more information regarding Jane Riley (@JaneRileyAuthor) please visit www.linktr.ee/janeriley.

Title: How to Say Goodbye

Author: Katy Colins

Pages: 384 Pages

Publisher: HQ

The Blurb

No one is ever happy to see Grace Salmon.

As a funeral arranger, she’s responsible for steering strangers through the hardest day of their lives. It’s not a task many would want – but, for Grace, giving people the chance to say a proper goodbye to the ones they love is the most important job in the world.

From the flowers in the church to the drinks served at the wake,Grace knows it’s the personal touches that count – and it’s amazing what you can find out about someone from their grieving relatives … or their Facebook page. But when she accidentally finds out too much about someone who’s died, Grace is finally forced to step out of the shadows… and start living.

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

How to Say Goodbye is the beautiful story of how it is heartbreaking but healing to deal with grief. Our protagonist – Grace Salmon – works as a funeral arranger however, she feels that her job is more than that. Her job is allowing people to say goodbye to their loved ones and making their goodbyes memorable. It is this level of concern and care that leads her in to trouble.

I loved How to Say Goodbye. Considering the setting and topic of the novel it is surprisingly uplifting. We get completely swept up in this small world of grief and the healing power of friendship. 

I am not ashamed to say that I shed a little tear when reading this book. Colins storytelling was simple but effective. Colins adds twists to the story to keep you on your toes which only adds to the drama and serves to keep you reading. How to Say Goodbye is a triumph of a novel.

How to Say Goodbye by Katy Colins is available now.

For more information regarding Katy Colins (@Notwedordead) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding HQ (@HQStories) please visit www.hqstories.co.uk.

Title: We Are Okay

Author: Nina LaCour

Pages: 240 Pages

Publisher: Dutton Books

The Blurb

You go through life thinking there’s so much you need. . . . Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother. Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

The Review

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour is a story that has many facets. It looks at grief, loss of identity, loss of family and what it means to fully accept yourself for who you are.

It is about Marin, a young girl who has led from her home in California for New York. She has ran away from a past that she barely knows the truth of, ran away from the only home she has ever known and ran away from the people who love her.

For Marin, it is safer to be alone.

This belief is not shared by her best friend Mabel who comes to New York to find her friend.

We Are Okay has a very subdued and quiet kind of story telling which lends to the subject matter of the book. You at once feel calm but overwhelmed by Marin’s story. Her grief is so hidden but equally it drips off the pages. LaCour has done a stunning job of making you feel for Marin.

This isn’t a massive, outrageous novel. It is a stoic read but one that packs a punch.

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour is available now.

For more information regarding Nina LaCour (@nina_lacour) please visit www.ninalacour.com.

For more information regarding Dutton Books (@DuttonBooks) please visit www.duttonbooks.tumblr.com.

The Broken Hearts Book ClubThe Blurb

Secrets never stay buried for long…
Lucy Harper has always been good at one thing: running from her past. But when her beloved Nana Lily passes away she has no choice except to return to the one place in the world she most wants to avoid…
Luna Bay hasn’t changed much in the eight years she has spent in London. The little Yorkshire village is still just as beautiful, but the new pub landlord is a gorgeous addition to the scenery!
Lucy only intended to stay for a day, yet when she discovers that Nana Lily has not only left her a cottage but also ‘The Broken Hearts Book Club’, Lucy is intrigued. Her Nana never have mentioned the club and Lucy can’t wait to get started, but walking into her first meeting she is more aware than ever that her past is finally catching up with her.
One way or another, Lucy must finally face the secrets she’s kept buried for so long – or spend the rest of her life on the run…

The Review

When Lucy Harper returns home to Luna Bay for grandmother’s funeral she doesn’t know what to expect. She hasn’t visited Luna Bay since she left eight years ago and is worried how people will react to her sudden return and she tries desperately hard not to find out, and plans on returning to London as soon as possible.

However, when she finds out that she has inherited her grandmother’s home and, rather strangely, her position as leader of The Broken Hearts Book Group Lucy finds it rather hard to leave her hometown.

Awww. That is how I felt after turning the final page of The Broken Hearts Book Club. I was all warm and fuzzy inside and it was exactly what I needed. The Broken Hearts Book Club is the perfect snuggle book. A book that you can fully immerse yourself in. And a book to get lost in over a weekend of endless cups of tea and flannelette pyjamas. That is how it makes you feel warm and snugly.

One thing about Lynsey James’s writing style is that she really does create characters that you care for. You become so involved with their lives that they come alive for you. They practically dance off the page.

Furthermore, her protagonist Lucy is the perfect blend of human – you see her heart and how kind she is but you also see her human side – one that has massive flaws. She is clumsy and bumbling and I think we can all relate to that on some level.

Lynsey James is a writer whose work just keeps getting better.

The Broken Hearts Book Club by Lynsey James is available now.

Follow Lynsey James (@Lynsey1991) on Twitter.