#Blogtour Before I Saw You by Emily Houghton @EmilyJHoughton @TransworldBooks @annecater #RandomThingsBlogtours #BeforeISawYou

Before I Saw You by Emily Houghton Transworld February 4th 2021

The Blurb

CAN YOU FALL IN LOVE WITH SOMEONE YOU’VENEVER SEEN?

Alice and Alfie are strangers. But they sleep next to each other every night. Alfie Mack has been in hospital for months recovering from an accident. A new face on the ward is about as exciting as life gets for him right now, so when someone moves into the bed next to him he’s eager to make friends. But it quickly becomes clear that seeing his neighbour’s face won’t happen any time soon. Alice Gunnersley has been badly burned and can’t even look at herself yet, let alone allow anyone else to see her. Keeping the curtain around her bed firmly closed, it doesn’t stop Alfie trying to get to know her. And gradually, as he
slowly brings Alice out of her shell, might there even be potential for more?

My Review

First of all lets talk about that wonderful bright, eye catching cover, seemingly at odds with the blurb on the back cover. The blurb not as inviting but brilliantly intriguing, as you wondered how a relationship evolved when neither participant had seen each other?

I opened the book with great anticipation as I met Alice a young women horribly burnt in a freak accident at work and Alfie, a popular PE teacher who lost a leg in a car accident.

They were polar opposites, Alice, quiet, independent, work obsessed, few friends and a non existent social life. Alfie outgoing, happy go lucky, life and soul of the party with wonderful friends and family.

And that was where the magic happened as they found themselves laid side by side in a hospital rehabilitation ward, Alice sequestered behind curtains, Alfie, the heart and soul of the ward, cheering everyone up with his constant jokes and natter.

Houghton gave Alfie that inner resolve to make Alice speak, to be part of the ward, even if that meant taking knock backs, or a rethink of his often funny but gently probing strategy. Did Alice open up? Houghton opened her up slowly, cleverly unmasking her hidden personal life, her hard outer shell that was meant to protect her from those that could potentially harm her. We read as she unpicked her soulless life so far, the family trauma that sat heavy on her shoulders, but then there were the small glimmers of a different life, one with friends and laughter, as Alfie’s plan began to take effect.

It was all going so well, from the confines of her curtained bed, Alfie appeared to unlock Alice, but Houghton did what all novelists love to do and threw a few spanners in the works. The closed off walls of the rehabilitation ward did nothing to protect Alice and Alfie from the world they faced outside. For Alfie there were the nightmares, his disability, the what if’s of his future. For Alice, her appearance, the thought of eyes locked on her disfigurement. a future where work could no longer be her solace, her means of escape.

The subject matter may have been less than happy, but Houghton’s exploration of Alfie and Alice’s mental state was done in a gentle nonjudgmental manner. She infused her narrative with light and laughter that was perfectly balanced with the dark, tragic events and I didn’t feel bogged down or disheartened. Instead I found myself routing for Alfie and Alice, for that desperately wanted fairy tale ending. Houghton left me guessing until the very final sentence before putting this reader out of their misery.

Before I Saw You was a novel of pain and anguish but most of all laughter and hope and I loved it.

I would like to thank Transworld for a copy of Before I Saw You to read and review and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

Emily Houghton is an ex digital specialist and full-time creative writer.
She originally comes from Essex but now lives in London. Emily is a trained
yoga and spin teacher, completely obsessed with dogs and has dreamt of
being an author ever since she could hold a pen.

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