#Blogpost Tasting Sunlight by Ewald Arenz @EwardArenz @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #TastingSunlight

Orenda Books June 23rd 2022

The Blurb

Teenager Sally has just run away from a clinic where she is to be treated for anorexia. She’s furious with everything and everyone, and wants to be left in peace. Liss is in her forties, living alone on a large farm that she runs single- handedly. She has little contact with the outside world, and no need for other people.
From their first meeting, Sally realises that Liss isn’t like other adults; she
The first night lengthens into weeks as Sally starts to find pleasure in working with the bees, feeding the chickens, and harvesting potatoes. Eventually an unlikely friendship develops and these two damaged women slowly open up – connecting to each other, reconnecting with themselves, and facing the darkness in their pasts through their shared work on the land.

My Review

I always think it is a mark of a talented author particularly a male that somehow manages to understand the female psyche, to write a whole novel driven by two female protagonists.

Let’s start with Sally a young teenager on the run from a clinic fed up of being told what to do or more importantly what to feel.

She headed, unbeknown to herself to Lisa’s farm, a woman alone, ostracised by the local villagers, with an inherent sense of quiet resilience, a past mired in mystery.

Their relationship formed the brilliance of Arenz’s novel, his perception of their feelings of their emotions was to me astonishing. How could he drill down so perfectly on a young teenagers rebellion against her parents, authority, and at some points her own self. Liss, contained but never one to ask or press Sally, a quiet acknowledgment and understanding that they were the same.

I enjoyed Arenz use of the farming landscape, of the simple acts of gathering crops, of waking up to a glorious autumn sunrise, how it gave Sally peace, a full stop in the perpetual circle of fighting what others thought she should do. Yet Arenz knew their quiet existence would not and could not continue.

Sally’s need to discover Liss’s secrets pushed their quiet understanding to the limits, the encroaching encirclement of Sally’s parents and authorities forced matters to a head. I expected Arenz to bring the novel to its conclusion but no there was more

.Arenz wasn’t finished with Sally and Liss, there was more they had to say, more they had to learn about themselves and indeed each other. There was nothing dramatic about it just the slow meticulous unraveling of Liss in particular, their roles somehow swapped, Sally the strong one, the one who perhaps understood what the future may hold for Liss.

Arenz gave us a fitting ending, one where you could look back and admire this quiet, thoughtful novel with a narrative that shouted about so much but most of showcased the talent of a very gifted author.

I would like to thank Orenda for a copy of Tasting Sunlight to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the Blogtour

About the author

Ewald Arenz was born in Nurnberg in 1965, where he now teaches. He has won various national and regional awards for literature; among them the Bavarian State Prize for Literature and the great Nuremberg Prize for Literature. One of seven children, he enjoys nature, woodturning, biking, swimming, and drinking tea. He lives with his family in Germany. #TastingSunlight #JubilantJune @EwaldArenz

#Blogpost Nothing Else by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #NothingElse

Orenda Books 23rd June

The Blurb

Heather Harris is a piano teacher and professional musician, whose quiet life revolves around music, whose memories centre on a single song that haunts
her sister, who was taken when their parents died, aided on by her childhood
her. A song she longs to perform again. A song she wrote as a child, to drown
ords and a single song that continues to haunt her.
out the violence in their home. A song she played with her little sister, Harriet.
But Harriet is gone … she disappeared when their parents died, and Heather never saw her again.
When Heather is offered an opportunity to play piano on a cruise ship, she leaps at the chance. She’ll read her recently released childhood care records by day – searching for clues to her sister’s disappearance – and play piano by night …
coming to terms with the truth about a past she’s done everything to forget.

My Review

There is always that sense of anticipation when a new novel by Louise Beech thuds through the letter box. Such is her ability to write in a wide range of themes and topics you are never quite sure where she would take you, I certainly did not expect a cruise ship.

Our protagonist was the very lovely Heather, divorced, alone, a woman who merely existed but did not appear to live, that certain something missing from her life. It was that missing piece of her life, her sister, that drove Beech’s narrative that plunged into the depths of a troubled childhood, of a trauma that lingered through to the present.

I loved that Beech sent Heather on a cruise ship, her social services file tucked neatly into her luggage. Is was as if she wanted to contain Heather, to concentrate her mind, days at sea nowhere to runaway to and escape what lay between the pages.

It was hard to read her stark memories, the abuse, the protective arms she wrapped around her younger sister. Beech’s descriptions of their love for the piano, of their own song, Nothing Else, tugged at heart strings, I loved how it wove its way through the whole novel, it’s tune the talisman that bound Heather and Harriet together.

Yet it wasn’t just Heather’s story, it was also Harriet’s, a differing, perhaps softer angle but still just as powerful. Just like Heather her life was also at a crossroads, health a consideration that forced choices and also impeccable timing.

Aspects of the novel could have seemed contrived but not in Beech’s more than capable hands. Yes, you sort of had an inkling what would happen but that was not what this was about, it was very definitely about the how and the why. It’s the reason why you read Beech, to feel the intense emotions she weaves within her narrative, the human reactions, the tears that are just waiting to greet you.

In my eyes Beech can do no wrong and Nothing Else proved once again just how good an author she is.

I would like to thank Orenda Books for a copy of Nothing Else to read and review and to Random Things Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.

About the author

All six of Louise Beech’s books have been digital bestsellers. Her novels have been a Guardian Readers’ Choice, shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize, and shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull. Follow her on Twitter @louisewriter
The multiple bestselling and award-winning author returns with an exquisitely moving novel about surviving devastating trauma and the unbreakable bond between sisters; a story of courage and love, and the power of music to transcend – and change – everything.
Heather Harris is a piano teacher and professional musician, whose quiet life revolves around music, whose memories centre on a single song that haunts
her sister, who was taken when their parents died, aided on by her childhood
her. A song she longs to perform again. A song she wrote as a child, to drown
ords and a single song that continues to haunt her.
out the violence in their home. A song she played with her little sister, Harriet.
But Harriet is gone … she disappeared when their parents died, and Heather never saw her again.
When Heather is offered an opportunity to play piano on a cruise ship, she leaps at the chance. She’ll read her recently released childhood care records by day – searching for clues to her sister’s disappearance – and play piano by night …
coming to terms with the truth about a past she’s done everything to forget.

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