Monday, 9 March 2015

People We Love - Jenny Harper

Blog Tour: People We Love - Jenny Harper + Giveaway!
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Jenny Harper is back with the fourth instalment in her popular Heartlands series.
People We Love will be on tour for the next few weeks, visiting some of the best and brightest book blogs for reviews, guest posts and a colourful giveaway!
 
About the book...
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For readers of Jojo Moyes, Jodi Picoult and David Nicholls, you will love Jenny Harper's People We Love. 

Her life is on hold – until an unlikely visitor climbs in through the kitchen window.


A year after her brother’s fatal accident, Lexie’s life seems to have reached a dead end. She is back home in small-town Hailesbank with her shell-shocked parents, treading softly around their fragile emotions.

As the family business drifts into decline, Lexie’s passion for painting and for her one-time mentor Patrick have been buried as deep as her unexpressed grief, until the day her lunch is interrupted by a strange visitor in a bobble hat, dressing gown and bedroom slippers, who climbs through the window. Elderly Edith’s batty appearance conceals a secret and starts Lexie on a journey that gives her an inspirational artistic idea and rekindles her appetite for life. With friends in support and ex-lover Cameron seemingly ready to settle down, do love and laughter beckon after all?  


My thoughts...
I was given an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of a blog tour organised by Charlotte at Candlelit Tours which I'm more than happy to do.

Alexa (Lexie) is an artist and was about to launch her first exhibition when her brother was tragically killed in a car accident.  She and her family are coping - just!  Each in their own way.  He was killed in a car accident, whist driving over the legal alcohol limit - something that was seemingly out of character for him, thus leaving behind a mystery and a family in limbo.

Lexie and her family react to the grief caused by Jamie's unexpected death in different ways.  Jenny giving us an insight into the Gordon family that was so perceptive it was heart breaking to read at times.  Lexie was an artist on the cusp of her big break, she abandoned it and put her life on hold so she could return home to support her parents.  Her father couldn't or wouldn't allow himself to grieve, he just buried himself in the family business -  much like an ostrich burying its head in the sand. Whilst Martha, Lexie's mother faded, she lost the colour in her life and drifted from day to day allowing life to carry on around her.  From the off it was clear that none of them had even come close to dealing with their grief.

Who would have thought that an unexpected visitor, an elderly lady, clad in slippers, climbing through the kitchen window, would be the catalyst to first Lexie and then her mother  beginning their grieving process.  Only Lexie's father seemed untouched! A discovery of an aged pair of babies booties gives Lexie the drive to begin painting again - wanting to capture the story behind them she was fired up and supported by her friends she slowly begins to paint. Without intention it is this that also stirs her mother. 

Jenny began each chapter with a description of various, different shoes.  It was a unique concept - every pair new or old has a story to tell and it was these, often emotive stories that drove Lexie - her need to capture the stories that touched her the most in oils was like breathing life back into a dying flame for her.

But, like in real life nothing is ever clear cut and straight forward and the past comes back to bite her on the bum.  In life some people speak and act from the heart others say and do what is expected.  We find out it's not just the accident with Lexie trying to deal with her grief and that of her family as well but in addition in the past Lexie had been hurt by both sorts of characters. Jenny's descriptive skills are second to none, I'm sure every reader will be cussing and cursing, muttering their opinions as both men, Patrick and Cameron appear on her radar once again. 

This really is a book that sensitively gets into the heart of a family and a community that has been affected by grief.  The love and support is evident from the first page.  It isn't just words spoken that are important, it's the actions too.  Knowing when to push and when to back off, when to speak and when to stay silent is a skill known to few and yet, Jenny demonstrated it, through her characters, time and time again. I guarantee People We Love is a book that will move you without doubt, as the main characters eventually begin the grieving process - each in their own different way.  I loved the way Jenny made me as a reader get under the skin of all the characters, I really did care what happened to them and I cussed and was close to tears in equal measures.  

A good lesson can be taken from this book - life is for living but impossible to do unless you can move forward, letting go of the past first.  Each and every one of us will do this in a different way but there is one constant, we all need the love and support of our family and friends, they are the balast to support us when we need them. Some people needing hands on support, others just knowing they've got people in their corner, should they really need them will be enough.
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About the author...
Jenny CC 6 webJenny Harper lives in Edinburgh. She is the author of four books about Scotland and Scottish culture, a history of childbirth, and The Sleeping Train for young readers. When she isn't writing, she enjoys walking in the Scottish countryside or anywhere warm, and travelling to Europe, America and India.  

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Enter via the Rafflecopter below to win:
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1st Prize:  1 x Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolour Sketchers Pocket Set and an E-copy of People We Love by Jenny Harper
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2nd Prize: 1 x Winsor & Newton Cotman Watercolour Sketchers' Pocket Set

Giveaway is international. Jenny Harper and CandleLit Author Services reserve the right to cancel or amend giveaway details at anytime and without prior notification.