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30 September 2015

Review & Guest Post: 'Letting You Go' by Anouska Knight (2015)

What if a tragedy occurred and you only had yourself to blame? How do you move on from the past?

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?

I've got a great review to share with all of you today! Great because it is actually a great review because I really enjoyed this book, but also great because I had been looking forward to reading an Anouska Knight novel for so long and was over the moon when I received a review copy of her latest release 'Letting You Go'! I had heard so many positive things about this author's work from other readers and bloggers, and somehow I've never managed to actually sit down and give one of her other novels a try. So, it was about time I was introduced to Anouska Knight's writing and I couldn't wait to dive into this gorgeous book (don't you just love the cover?)!

After a tragic accident tore Alex and her family apart, she decided to leave her home town of Eilidh Falls for good, not just leaving her mother, father and younger sister Jem behind, but also Finn, the love of her life. Because her father has seemed not able to forgive her, Alex hardly has any contact with her family and after having quit her studies, spends her days working and blaming herself for what happened all those years ago. When Alex's mother unexpectedly ends up in the hospital with a suspected stroke, Alex knows she has no other choice but to go back to Eilidh Falls. The ghosts of her past immediately come back to haunt her, but Alex realises it might be time to confront her fears and stop hiding from everything and everyone that once meant so much to her.

I have a feeling Anouska Knight’s ‘Letting You Go’ will stay with me for quite some time to come. The story really grabbed me and I ended up warming to all of the characters, not wanting to put down the book until I had reached the very last page. It took me a while to pick up my first Anouska Knight  novel, but I have to say I am glad it was ‘Letting You Go’ because it has definitely made me want to read more of her novels in the future. The novel has a story about family and love at its core and is filled with lots of emotions. The book already starts with a heartbreaking moment, namely the accident that caused the death of protagonist Alex’s little brother Dillon. This is the event that changed everything for the, sometimes quite complex but really authentic, characters in the book, which focuses on the different fascinating relationships between them. I specifically loved the relationship between Alex and her sister Jem, and Alex and her ex-boyfriend Finn. 

The book is quite a long read with almost 500 pages. While I did think the story was a bit unnecessarily slow-paced at times, I was taken in by the author’s detailed writing style and the way she managed to get different emotions across on paper. It really felt like I went on a journey with these characters, unveiling secrets along the way, and as we got further I enjoyed it more and more. It is quite a heavy book, but not too heavy for it to no longer be enjoyable. I thought ‘Letting You Go’ was a stunning, beautifully written and emotional read about family and the power of forgiveness. I’m so glad I was provided with the chance to review this book and I am sure this will not be my last Anouska Knight novel!
For more information about this book: / / Goodreads

Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Guest Post by Anouska Knight!

I'm both honoured and excited to welcome Anouska Knight to the blog today! I was provided with the opportunity to give Anouska a topic to write about for a special guest post for 'A Spoonful of Happy Endings' and I asked her to tell us a bit more about how she finds the inspiration for her novels and whether she has any writing rituals she wants to share with us!

I’m not really sure where the first whiff of an idea comes from (and it is only a whiff) but thankfully it does! Eventually. There’s a lot of idle pondering, on the school run, around the supermarket, in the shower etc. A lot of vacant staring. Lately, I’ve found swimming helps. The exercise keeps the blood pumping nicely so I’m alert, plus no one bugs me for an hour (or until the vending machine lures me out) which is ace! But a spark of an idea is all you really need to begin with and once it comes, you just think on it some more. 

With each of my books so far, I suppose that spark has had roots somewhere in the things that worry me personally… the thought of losing my best friend and husband as Holly did in Since You’ve Been Gone, or feeling out of control of my own situation as did Amy in A Part Of Me. More recently with Letting You Go, it was the idea of being responsible for something so catastrophic my family would never recover. Awful!

But there are also the odd occasions where a throwaway comment or a setting can trigger a plot idea too. In Letting You Go Dillon Foster’s character came to me after I’d been walking beside the river that cuts through the village near to where I’d just dropped my little boys off at school. A gang of us used to mess around down there as teenagers on hot summer afternoons. We didn’t think much about the dangers back then because teenagers don’t. But as a mum to mischievous boys, it looks very different now. Accidents happen, in a blink. After an accident like Dill’s, nothing is ever the same again.     

When it comes to the actual writing itself, I guess my only ‘rituals’ are grabbing a cuppa, finding a plug socket and putting as much space between me and the rest of the rabble as possible. Once I’ve got the triggering event sorted in my head though, I do like to have a good root around my music collection and start piecing together a playlist that will see me through the writing ahead. Usually they’re songs that fit with the themes I think will be running through the book, but also they’re songs that help me get in the right sort of headspace to write about certain emotions. 

There are times though that even the music doesn’t help the writing along and I feel like I need to clear my head and come at it all from a different angle. I hate when that happens, but when it does, and invariably it does at least once with each book, I tend to take myself off up Cannock Chase and blow the cobwebs away. I’m lucky to live so close to all that woodland and it’s perfect for clearing the mind. You have to remember, I share my home with four fellas… I usually have to find my zen somewhere outside of the house! 

Thanks so much, Anouska! :)

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