Note To Self by Anna Bell is the most charming contemporary novel that will swell your heart and make you smile.
The premise is a wonderful idea – a thirty five year old character receives emails from her seventeen year old self. They are encouraging her to grab life and step out of her comfort zone. “Real living happens when you step outside it [your comfort zone] Remember, your comfort zone does not have a brick wall built around it.”
Too often in life we settle. Routine takes over and we lose sight of who we really are. Life is for living. If we are not careful, it will pass us by and we will be left with regrets. The novel shows what can happen when we decide to live and to have fun.
It is also a study in guilt and grief. The past cannot be altered. Guilt will always weigh us down. Grief threatens to drown a character. It never goes away. We just have to learn to live with it. I loved the idea of a memory jar.
‘Real’ Life Not Sugar Coated
These Streets by Luan Goldie is a fascinating look at contemporary life in east London.
The reader is introduced to two families – a single mum with two teens and an elderly father nearby, and a single dad separated from his six year old daughter. All the characters are unique, warm and welcoming. Luan Goldie gives us glimpses into their lives as we witness that it is not money that makes us happy but love and friendship. Some of the richest people are materially poor but with huge hearts.
We witness how our school days form the adults we become. They leave a lasting impression on our lives, for better or for worse. Bad experiences still have the power to hurt twenty years down the line.
There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ family. Families are unique in their make-up and their functioning.
We see a mother’s pride for her children as she puts their needs first. It is sacrificial love in action. Sometimes the truth is hidden in order to protect. We also see the children trying to sort lives to make it easier for their mum. They are a lovely, caring family unit.
Complex And Well Executed
Girl, Forgotten by Karin Slaughter is a contemporary crime suspense that drew me in from the start.
It is told in two time periods – present day and 1981. The action heats up as the roots of present day crimes lie firmly in the past.
A group of friends from 1981 all protest their innocence – but someone must be lying. Someone knows the truth of what happened on that fatal night. What will it take for the truth to come out?
Secrets and lies have been circulating since 1981 after terrible crimes were committed. Someone is trying to bury the past. And someone is determined to uncover the truth so that history will never repeat itself.
The plotline is complex and well executed. The reader is kept on their toes as the action alternates in time.
Beach House Summer by Sarah Morgan is the most delightful contemporary novel that will warm your heart and make you smile.
The whole novel has a beautiful aroma of love. It is a book about loving well – loving those who love us and loving ourselves.
Sometimes in life we are hurt by words spoken over us and we believe we are unlovable. “She… stabbed you with words. And that wound stayed with you.” Words can pierce us and destroy us. We need to know that we are worth so much more than cruel words spoken over us.
We see the effect on a character that others have had by continually telling her she is worthless. We all need to surround ourselves with those who believe in us. “She believed in me, at a time when I didn’t believe in myself.” We all need positive role models.
The novel is about parenting. Some people are too selfish to parent well. Others are cruel. And some just exude love. You do not necessarily need to have given birth in order to parent well. Some people just have a default setting of love.