A HUGE THANK YOU to all of you who’ve been downloading SPEAKING of LOVE on its two free days, yesterday and today: in the USA from here and in the UK from here. It’s given the novel, my first novel, a new lease on life. Thank you very much.
Thank you also to Storm Drummey at Liz Loves Books who posted a beautiful review today on goodreads and to Catherine Hawley at CL Hawley Books who linked her Facebook page to a review from 2009 which I missed, at the time.
Some of what Storm said:
This one was a bit of a slow starter for me, very probably because it’s not the sort of thing I usually read and so I needed something to grab me early on to reel me in. And it took a while. But hell did it not sneak up on me … softly … softly … BAM! I was hooked and I had no idea how or when it happened! The time-jumps throw you a bit initially, as they are just there, no warning given – but soon enough you find that you have fallen into the rhythm and you just know where (or more to the point, when) you are.
A lot of the hype around this book – the taglines, the blurb, the PR – refers to people not expressing their love for one another when they really should. And yes, although this was the backbone of this book, oh there was so, so much more!
Young’s writing is, quite simply, exquisite. Poetic. Lyrical. You know every last detail of wherever a character is at any particular time, and beauty is found in just everything – the simplest, often most insignificant things; a blade of grass, a drop of water, a person’s hand … are all described in mesmerising detail. The imagery and symbolism running throughout are well thought out and very appropriately placed.
As for the sensitive subject of mental health – often sadly taboo, and even more often either gaudy and melodramatic or glamorised and ridiculed – is portrayed here with sensitivity and class, whilst still very genuine and credible.
And what Catherine said:
I had seen some good reviews of this about the blogosphere [in 2009, when it was available in hardback and in paperback] so I was prepared to admire this book but not necessarily to enjoy it. The subject matter, schizophrenia, did not seem something that would be great entertainment. It wasn’t long however before I fell totally for main character Iris. Though her journey is terribly painful Angela Young pulls off the trick of convincing you it was traumatic without actually making the process of reading about her mental illness at all distressing. Iris’s story is utterly engaging. It is also an important story that needs to be told. … Speaking of Love is wonderful stuff. Don’t let any preconceptions about novels on mental illness put you off, just read it.
Thank you so much, both.