23 January 2017

Book Review: The Little Pieces of You and Me by Vanessa Greene

"Best friends Isla and Sophie made each other a promise a long time ago: to never let life pass them by. Years later, Isla is in love, living abroad and fulfilling her dreams. But for Sophie, things haven't turned out the way she was expecting and she hasn't achieved any of the things she and Isla talked about.

And then, in one sudden moment, life irrevocably changes for both women.

Isla and Sophie have hard decisions to make but above all else they must face up to the uncertainty that lies ahead. It's only when they realise that this is easier together, two friends standing side by side, that each woman can embrace whatever the future holds for them."

Rating: 4/5

I am a huge Vanessa Greene fan and was thrilled to be send a review copy of her latest book The Little Pieces of You and Me. Much like her previous books, this book focuses on a friendship between two women, something that I've always really enjoyed in Greene's earlier books, but this time we just have 2 best friends, each at very different points in their lives but about to be thrown together once more. While this wasn't my favourite read by Vanessa Greene, it was a very enjoyable one, and one that I can recommend.

Isla and Sophie have been friends since they were little, and the ups and downs in their lives so far have done to change that. Sophie, going against her strict parent's wishes, married a much older man and is now settled in her marriage, struggling with the relationship with her ever-resentful teenage step-daughter. Isla is living in Holland, living out her dream of acting, all with a new man on the horizon but when she's dealt a devastating blow, she realises she has to return home and put her other dreams on hold. The pair cling on to their friendship, sure it will help them work through the horrible reality they are both facing.

The book begins with everything seemingly happy for both of the women, but quite soon, the book moves into more uncertain territory. Sophie is a bit concerned for her marriage, worried that her husband might be hiding secrets from her, and struggling with the deteriorating relationship between her and her step-daughter. Isla, on the other hand, is loving her life, and finding out her dream is coming true has made everything just perfect. But when she is given a devastating diagnosis by her doctor, she is in denial, sure that it won't ruin her life as they seem keen to tell her. Unable to face her reality, she turns to her best friend, sure she can help her navigate a tricky time.

While I enjoyed what happened between the women and how they handled their individual problems, I couldn't help but feel it was all a bit too perfect in some respects. Isla came to terms with her illness far too well really, and her 'bucket list' of things to do before she couldn't didn't seem like anything out of the ordinary - I like to think I'd pick something a bit off the wall just because I had to do it! Also, I saw Sophie's marriage problems coming a mile off, you could see where it was going to end up, and I was a little disappointed that I was right, even though it all concluded as I hoped it would.

The best part of the book was the friendship between the two women. They are truly close, very reliant on each other, no matter how far away they are, and it was just heart-warming to read. In fact, I really didn't like how unreasonable Sophie's husband was in the book about their friendship, especially when Isla's secret is revealed - it seemed a little odd to me. But I did love the women's closeness, we all need a friendship like these women shared. Despite a few niggles, this was an enjoyable book that goes along at a good pace, and kept me reading until the end. As mentioned, it isn't Greene's best book, but I will definitely be looking out for her next book!

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