Off The Bookshelf Reviews

#Review | The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore #TheGreatcoat #OffTheBookShelfReview

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Hello, Sunshines, I have raided the bookshelf again for another of my; Off the Bookshelf Reviews and I have the pleasure to be sharing my review of the spooky; The Greatcoat by Helen Dunmore, I hope you enjoy it!

A terrifyingly atmospheric ghost story by the Orange-prize-winning Helen Dunmore.

In the summer of 1954, newly wed Isabel Carey arrives in a Yorkshire town with her husband Philip. As a GP he spends much of his time working, while Isabel tries hard to adjust to the realities of married life. Life is not easy: she feels out-of-place and constantly judged by the people around her, so she spends much of her time alone.

One cold winter night, Isabel finds an old RAF greatcoat in the back of a cupboard that she uses to help keep warm. Once wrapped in the coat she is beset by dreams. And not long afterwards, while her husband is out, she is startled to hear a knock at her window, and to meet for the first time the intense gaze of a young Air Force pilot, handsome, blond and blue-eyed, staring in at her from outside.

His name is Alec, and his powerfully haunting presence both disturbs and excites Isabel. Her initial alarm soon fades, and they begin a delicious affair. But nothing could have prepared her for the truth about Alec’s life, nor the impact it will have on her own marriage.

I am a big fan of Helen Dunmore’s work ever since I read; The Lie, many years ago and was so very saddened to hear the world had lost her a while ago. That book haunted me from the moment I read it, right to today. So when I saw this in a local charity shop, I knew I had had it, the cover alone compelled me to buy it.

I think this book is proof that you should never judge a book by its cover alone, which is what I did. Yes, it is by Helen Dunmore, but what really grabbed my attention was the cover, and to be honest, the cover may just be my favourite thing about this whole book.

Oh, Gawd! That sounds awful.

The underlining story of this is all about how deeply unhappy Isabel is, the war is over, Isabel and her husband; Phillip has moved from everything she knew to a little Yorkshire village in the middle of no-where. They take up rooms not so far away from the old airbase, one cold night she finds an old RAF greatcoat in their little apartment, using it to keep her warm this is when life takes an unexpected turn. The greatcoat is the start of all what happens to Isabel, she starts having disturbing dreams leaving her unsettled and feeling more thane then ever. Then one day she hears a tapping at the window and right there is a handsome man pilot called Alec who wants to come in, it’s when he crosses the threshold that the whole story takes on an unexpected turn and we are soon plunged into a realm of what’s real and what’s a dream, what’s a memory and what’s a ghostly encounter as Alec and Isabel start their illicit affair where past and present merge together.

I have to be honest and say that this was a bit of a disappointment, it didn’t have the same haunting feel that The Lie had. The start of the story started off on the right foot, it has everything you want from a mind-bending ghost story with a touch of heartbreak and romance. When Isabel first encounters the ghostly man staring into her window it does send chills down the spine, even more so when she ‘meets’ him but then the plot sort of twisted into something else completely.

To say it wasn’t what I was expecting was an understatement!

But, beneath the initial disappointment, I did actually enjoy it, I was completely glued to Isabel’s and Alec’s rather unsettling affair, it’s heartbreaking and tender, yet at the same time, there are darker moments where Isabel thinks she may be going mad. It isn’t a light read, there is a more sombre feel to it, as the reader you really get a feel of what post-war Britain was like, there was still rationing (I believe rationing didn’t stop in England until around 1956) so people were still living on the bread line, there is a very melancholic feel to it too especially with Isabel who I do think shows signs of depression.

It’s hands down not one of Helen’s best, but it’s a sweetly romantic and enjoyable short read.

#OffTheBookshelf #Review Almost Forever: An Emotional Debut Perfect For Fans Of Jojo Moyes by Laura Danks @auradanks #AlmostForever #Romance @HQDigitalUK

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 This is my first ‘Off the Bookshelf’ post, I am so pleased to be able to share with you all my review of Almost Forever by Laura Danks.

Perfect for fans of Nicholas Sparks, Cecelia Ahern and Jojo Moyes

Can love truly conquer all?

When a vicious attack leaves Paul in a coma on his wedding day, the doctors fear he will never wake up. But his fiancée Fran will never give up hope.

Fran has always known Paul is the only man for her, from the first moment they locked eyes as children to the day he finally told her he loved her. Paul can’t leave her, not now their lives are just about to begin.

Love will always find a way… won’t it?

My goodness me this is an immensely emotional book to read, the writing is incredibly powerful, raw and heart-breaking. What surprises me most is that this is Laura Danks debut. Which really is unbelievable as this is good – no good doesn’t really justify just how stunning this book is. It pulls at the heart-strings and I can guarantee that you will be reaching for the tissues, especially with lines like this; “Why isn’t my love enough?

Francesca and Paul are your dream couple, child heart sweethearts who after all the years together they are still very much in love. On the day of their wedding, the day starts off just like an other for them. They are getting ready to elope to Las Vegas for Fran’s dream wedding, under the moonlight with her beloved Paul beside her. When tragedy strikes, Paul is maliciously and cruelly attacked by a gang of thugs when he tries to save a woman’s life at the corner shop, leaving him in a coma fighting for his life.

The story is told through Fran’s eyes, we see her go from waking up that morning full of excitement knowing she will be marrying her one true love, to having to see her husband-to-be in intensive care facing an unknown future. I absolutely love how the story goes from the present day to glimpses of Fran and Paul throughout the years. Those memories showing how they met, spending holidays together and touching moments between them are beautiful and takes the reader on a poignant journey through Fran and Paul’s past and really showcases just how much they truly love one and other, which makes the outcome of their story all the more heart-breaking.

The writing is spectacular, Ms Danks has a true gift, she has captures Fran’s emotional state of mind with so much raw realism that you feel every tear, every laugh every turmoil that she goes through. I literally read this in one go, I couldn’t put it down. It grabbed my attention and wouldn’t let me go. It’s mesmerising and compelling, the writing is flawless. I cannot recommend this book enough and I will definitely be reading more from Laura Danks, she is an amazing writer and a kind one too as a potion of her royalties for the sale of this book will be donated to the Stroke Association.

Stunningly beautiful.

Almost Forever is available now from Amazon.