Daisy has lost her mum to breast cancer. She’s at rock bottom and doesn’t think she’ll ever get back up again. Her best friend Abi has other ideas – she tells it like it is and she’s determined to make Daisy remember the person she used to be.
What Daisy doesn’t know is that, thanks to Abi, her life is about to take an unexpected turn, when she signs them up to do a charity walk. Added to which, someone is about to burst into Daisy’s world in a riot of colour reminding her that life can be full of surprises.
I’m absolutely delighted to be a part of the blog tour for Beth Thomas’ debut novel ‘Carry You’, which was released on the 24th of April, today. Not only did I immediately fall in love with the book as soon as I saw the cover (I love the pastel colours, the silhouettes of the couple standing next to the tree, the by-line... Simply gorgeous!), but I was also touched and fascinated by the blurb. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago, and thankfully, she is one of the women who managed to beat the disease. The topic of the novel is something that means a lot to me, and I was curious to see what the book would be like. As a part of the blog tour, I also received the chance to interview author Beth Thomas, so be sure to scroll down to read more about Beth, her inspiration for this book, and her future plans as an author!
After the death of her mother, Daisy is finding it incredibly hard to cope with every-day life. Even getting up from the couch or her bed and going outside seems like simply too much. Her best friend Abi wants to do anything she can to help Daisy get back on her feet and become the same old Daisy again. She decides to sign both of them up to do a charity walk at night to raise money for cancer research. Daisy has to start training for the walk, which gets her into all kinds of situations and is the start to her finding her way again, learning how to deal with everything that life throws our way.
I honestly adored everything about this novel: from the pretty cover to the inspiring storyline to the fun characters and the captivating style of writing. I loved Daisy, the protagonist. It was incredibly easy to warm to her and I quickly find myself rooting for her to get back on her feet and try to make the best of things. Daisy’s really funny and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing her develop as a person throughout the story. Next to Daisy, there are some brilliant secondary characters, like her amazing best friend Abi and neighbour Felix, who becomes Daisy’s walking buddy.
Trying to deal with a loss and finding yourself again is something almost everyone has to deal with at a certain point in their lives, and I think Beth Thomas managed to turn this experience into words in a beautiful way. Her writing is fabulous, in my opinion, and I am already excited about her future releases. ‘Carry You’ is a read I can’t recommend enough to others; it’s warm, touching and truly inspiring and one of my favourite books of 2014 so far.
Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Author Interview with Beth Thomas
Can you tell us something about your novel, ‘Carry You’?
I’d love to. Carry You is the story of Daisy who is dealing with bereavement and feeling very down. She’s in a real rut, with no job, no home and no motivation. But luckily for her she has an inspirational best friend, Abby, who literally gets Daisy moving again by signing them both up to do The Moonwalk together – a 26 mile power walk round London, at night, in aid of breast cancer research. Little by little, Daisy gets back on her feet, until by the end of the book… Ah, but that would give it all away!
Where did you find the inspiration for ‘Carry You’? Is it in any way based on your own personal experiences?
Yes, in many ways it is. My own mum died just over 11 years ago, and for anyone who’s lost someone, the feelings stay with you for a very long time – probably forever. I drew on my experience there to try to capture how Daisy was feeling at the start of the book. Also I have now completed the London Moonwalk three times, and it remains one of the most surreal, fantastic and inspirational things I have ever done.
Have you ever participated in a charity run yourself? Why did you decide to write about it?
Ah, yes, sorry, I’ve kind of answered that one already! For anyone who feels like they’d like a challenge but maybe can’t imagine being able to run a marathon, I’d thoroughly recommend The Moonwalk. It still takes training, a lot of it, so it’s very time-consuming, but the end result is to get fit and raise money – win-win!
What about the protagonist of the novel, Daisy. Can you tell us a bit more about her and how she became your main character?
That’s a tricky one. I started off with the idea of someone grieving, and how that might have an effect on everything in that person’s life. Anyone who’s been through something difficult will know that it can bring your life to a complete standstill for a while. So I wanted to show that, and how grief can make you selfish and thoughtless too. Daisy’s character was also an important way to demonstrate Abby’s personality – that no matter how apparently lazy and self-centred Daisy was being, Abby knew it was the grief and remained understanding and loving. In a ‘tough love’ kind of way.
There’s a great mix of support characters in the novel. Which character did you most enjoy writing about and why?
Ooh you can’t ask me that! If I say I have a favourite, the others will be upset! (*whispers* Felix).
Can you perhaps tell us something about your future plans as an author? Are you already working on a next novel?
Yes, I’m working on my second book. In fact the first draft is almost done, and then I have to rewrite, but I’m looking forward to that. It’s a bit like pimping it up – the main story is there, I just have to add a little frosting, which is always good fun.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
The main thing I would say is don’t give up! And when I say that I mean don’t stop writing. If you get knocked back by a publisher, just keep going. I know of so many people who want to be writers but never actually finish what they’re writing. It’s lengthy and time consuming and hard work but you must simply keep going. And if you feel that what you’ve written is poor, don’t worry. Get the story down first – you can always go back and improve things once you’ve cleared your head a bit.
What is the last book you read that you’d like to recommend to others?
I haven’t read anything for ages – so difficult to find the time. But I did read Life of Pi last year, which was incredible. Thoroughly recommend that.
Which book could you not live without?
I know it’s a terribly old and clichéd answer, but I would have to say Pride and Prejudice. I think what Jane Austen did back then was ground-breaking. She invented chick-lit! Every writer could learn from her subtle character depiction. I love it.
And last but not least, if you had to describe ‘Carry You’ in just three words, which words would you pick?