#Blogtour Helen And The Grandbees by Alex Morrell @AlexPaintings @Legend_Times_ #HelenAndTheGrandbees

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Helen And The Grandbees by Alex Morrall Legend Times October 28th 2020

The Blurb

Twenty years ago, Helen is forced to give up her newborn baby, Lily. Now living alone in her small flat, there is a knock at the door and her bee, her Lily, is standing in front of her.

Reuniting means the world to them both, but Lily has questions. Lots of them. Questions that Helen is unwilling to answer. In turn Helen watches helplessly as her headstrong daughter launches from relationship to relationship, from kind Andrew, the father of her daughter, to violent Kingsley who fathers her son.

When it’s clear her grandbees are in danger, tangled up in her daughter’s damaging relationship, Helen must find the courage to step in, confronting the fears that haunt her the most.

Told in Helen’s quirky voice Helen and the Grandbees addresses matters of identity, race and mental illness.

My Review

Oh my, Alex Morrall what have you done? I could not put this book down, so involved did I become with Helen, your wonderful character.

This poor woman who ran away from home, who had her baby taken away and then had to watch her daughter almost self destruct as she and her grandchildren watched on. Alone in her flat we read as Helen had to fight her inner demons and make sense of a world she had shut herself away from.

The tenderness and emotion Morrall infused was remarkable, the way in which she entered Helen’s mind, so full of anxiety and traumatic events so long locked away was, for me the outstanding feature.

You didn’t know what Helen had runaway from, nor the story behind her pregnancy, but Morrall left us hints, suggestions that left you in no doubt it was the reason for so much of her mental illness. For her daughter, Ingrid, it was a problem as she niggled, probed Helen further and further to know who she was, where she was from. This is where I became a little conflicted. on the one hand you almost felt Ingrid had a right to know and you empathised with her, felt her frustration, her need to feel that she belonged somewhere. Flip to the other side and all I saw was Ingrid’s selfishness, her lack of respect and disregard for Helen and her feelings.

What about Helen herself? You knew she hid from her past to protect herself, frightened that if she looked back, let the barriers down, she would plunge into a deep dark chasm never able to emerge. It was the only way she could think of that would protect her daughter, the truth too painful and not something she felt her daughter would be proud of, or may even blame Helen for whatever occurred.

If Helen’s relationship with her daughter was filled with trepidation, her grandchildren, Aisha and Ryan were her saving grace. You read as she poured all her love and energy into them, and love and protection that she was never able to offer Ingrid. I found it so heartwarming as it pushed Helen’s boundaries, forced her to confront real life that she had so long she ran away from.

You knew it wouldn’t all be smooth sailing, that events would conspire against Helen and Morrall didn’t hold back, didn’t shy away from the sheer wretchedness of mental illness. In some respects it was brutal, and one particularly scene will stay with me for a longtime as Morrall’s narrative perfectly portrayed Helen’s sheer agony and utter despair.

I wanted Helen to find that inner strength to fight back, to be able to move forward and the truth when it emerged somehow wasn’t a shock but what you had guessed all along. The truth was important, but I don’t think that was Morrall’s real point in her narrative, her story. Her concern, her point was the devastation an event, an action can have throughout a persons life, the consequences for future relationships, but also the glimmers of hope and the ability to move on is in everyone of us.

To say that Morrall had done this well would be an understatement, the novel, for me, was superb and I was in awe of her skill and ability.

I would like to thank Legend Times for a copy of Helen And The Grandbees to read and review and to Lucy Chamberlain for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

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Alex was born in Birmingham and now lives in south east London, where her voluntary work inspired this novel. She enjoys working using both her creative and mathematical background. She has a maths degree but paints beautiful city scenes and landscapes in her spare time.

Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexPaintings

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