22 November 2015
Book Review: Letting You Go by Anouska Knight
Alex Foster lives a quiet life, avoiding the home she hasn't visited in eight years. Then her sister Jaime calls. Their mother is sick, and Alex must return. Suddenly she’s plunged back into the past she’s been trying to escape.
Returning to her hometown, memories of the tragic accident that has haunted her and her family are impossible to ignore. Alex still blames herself for what happened to her brother and it’s soon clear that her father holds her responsible too. As Alex struggles to cope, can she ever escape the ghosts of the past?"
Available to buy now.
I've read all of Anouska Knight's published books to date, so was really happy to receive a review copy of her latest book Letting You Go from her publishers. Anouska's stories are always very emotional, but with great characters you care about, and really become invested in their stories. This book sounded really interesting from the blurb and I got stuck in, eager to enjoy another of her stories. Luckily, it didn't disappoint!
Alex is quite happy living away from her home, not having to deal with her father and the emotion of the family tragedy that occurred many years ago, but has haunted her ever since. But when she gets a call from her sister Jaime telling her that their mother has been taken ill and she has to go home to help out, Alex is hesitant to return. When she gets there, the relationship with her father is as strained as it was before, and Alex's mum condition is pretty serious. As well as bumping into old friends, and trying to uncover her younger sister's secret, Alex has a hard time adjusting to life back at home. Will she ever be able to put what happened all those years ago behind her?
One thing that has stopped this book from being a 5 star read for me was the sheer number of characters in it, and the fact I did quite often get a bit confused between the residents of Alex's hometown. There were quite a few names constantly popping up throughout the book, and I did struggle to keep track in my head of who was who, and how they knew Alex. The main characters of course were not a problem, but some of the minor characters seemed to blend together in my head and I struggled to tell them apart in their scenes. This wasn't hugely problematic in the grand scheme of things, but I just found it a bit annoying as I was reading because I was constantly having to pause reading and work out again who this character was and the connection they had to Alex.
I don't want to give too much of the story away by telling you too much about the accident, but suffice to say I can understand why it has haunted Alex for the rest of her life, as it has the rest of her family also. The fact that their relationships have become so strained in the aftermath is really sad, and Knight puts across Alex's regret and her want to have a better relationship with her father so well, you really feel her emotion, and I was really hopeful that they would be able to heal things sometime down the track. Alex's father was a brilliantly written character, someone dealing with profound grief, as well as the sudden illness of his beloved wife. He is definitely a mn at breaking point, and clearly wasn't himself either, which was so sad, he was just never able to put across his feelings and as such as held them all inside for so long.
The more minor mystery involving Alex's little sister Jaime and her secret was well written too, although I did guess the secret a long time before it was revealed. However, I still enjoyed reading about these characters and how they came to discuss and accept her secret, despite Jaime's dread in revealing it. I also loved the character of Finn, who was a younger Alex's boyfriend and now back in her life. Their struggle over resuming a relationship was well written and felt really realistic, with feelings coming flooding back, but Alex reluctant to upset her father further by getting back with her ex-boyfriend. There's lots of different relationships going on within the book, each affecting characters in different ways, and this certainly made for interesting reading.
I really enjoyed this read - the story was well developed, the pace was good and I really enjoyed reading about these characters. The setting was beautiful as well, you could see why Eilidh Falls was somewhere people flocked to, it sounds so picturesque and Knight really brings it to life with her words. Yes, it is a story about grief, and how that changes and affects us, but also of how we can work through it and not allow it to hold us back, especially when it comes to our loved ones. This was quite a long book with perhaps a tad too many characters for me to be comfortable with, but I did really enjoy the read. I'm now looking forward to Anouska's next book, she's definitely become one of my must-read authors!