Sunday, 19 February 2017

The Stranger In My Home

Alison is lucky and she knows it. She has the life she always craved, including a happy home with Jeff and their brilliant, vivacious teenage daughter, Katherine - the absolute centre of Alison's world.
Then a knock at the door ends life as they know it.
Fifteen years ago, someone else took Alison's baby from the hospital. And now Alison is facing the unthinkable.
The daughter she brought home doesn't belong to her.
When you have everything you dreamed of, there is everything to lose.

What I thought:

"I thought she was my daughter. I was wrong." That line alone was enough to make me want to read this book. It sounded to me like an absolute nightmare and I just had to know more.

Alison had a pretty bleak upbringing, sad, oppressed and limited, but she was determined to make a better life for herself. When she marries and has a daughter of her own, she devotes her life to ensuring she has every opportunity to thrive. Katherine, now fifteen, has grown up nurtured and adored. Her parents have provided everything and more for her and she has become a star pupil in both academics and sport.

Alison is happy and content with her life. She knows she 's lucky and along with her husband Jeff, she is so proud of her popular, successful daughter. Then a visitor calls with the news that Katherine isn't their daughter after all. There was a mistake at the hospital and they brought the wrong daughter home. Alison's world crumbles around her.

I felt so sorry for Alison. After surviving such a hard, loveless childhood, she had done everything she possibly could for her daughter, only to have it all snatched away from under her nose. I admired her strength and determination, both as a teenager and then again as an adult when her life was turned upside down.

I loved this book. It had me hooked from the start, a truly thrilling read. Don't be mistaken though, it's not just about finding out that your fifteen-year-old daughter isn't your daughter after all, it is so very much more. For Alison and Jeff, it's the nightmare that just keeps on giving. For the reader, it's a jaw-droppingly good book. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

A Song For Tomorrow - Alice Peterson

Tom fell in love with Alice the moment he saw her. He realises that being with her will not be easy, but she is a force of nature, a burst of sunlight in his otherwise ordinary world.

Some people might look at Alice and think she has everything, but Alice knows she is not like other women. Her life is complicated, unpredictable, difficult. Alice does not like pity. All she wants to do, has ever wanted to do, is sing.

Alice has been told not to follow her dreams. So has Tom. But when fate has already dealt a tough hand, it’s time to stop listening to everyone else and only follow their hearts.

What I thought:

I have previously read and thoroughly enjoyed several books by Alice Peterson, so as soon as I heard there was a new book about to hit the shelves, I was first in the queue.

The story is about Alice Martineau, a beautiful young girl who was born with cystic fibrosis.  Unable to keep up with the hectic schedule needed to make it in the modelling industry, she decides to throw in the towel and concentrate instead on doing what she has always dreamed of doing - singing. Not an easy option to take, especially when just breathing is a major problem for her, in fact, technically she shouldn't even be alive. When she was born her parents were told that she'd possibly live for about ten years, but now in her early twenties she soldiers on, living life to the full, her motto: sing, dance, love, laugh, take risks, never give up, and above all make every second count. Fighting constant infections, the hospital ward is almost a second home to Alice; nurses and doctors a second family. Feeling ill is normal, but summoning up more strength and determination to carry on is also normal for Alice. Her very being is a constant battle.

Sadly, symptoms of her illness made her a target for bullies at school, but she forged a great friendship with a few fellow sufferers with whom they could all share their experiences  .....and fears.

Then Alice meets Tom. It's love at first sight for him, but he has already stared death in the face and when he learns of Alice's condition he has a tough decision to make.

But there is hope. Hope and a chance for Alice to live a virtually normal, happy life and for their love to thrive. Will she get that chance?

Although the majority of the characters in this book are fictional, the actual story of Alice and her struggle to make it as a successful singer is true. So knowing that Alice was an actual "real" person, as soon as I'd finished the book. I googled her, and there she was, in a documentary for me to download and exactly as I had pictured her. Beautiful! Truly exceptional!

This was such an emotional read. Not just a soppy love story, but an uplifting life story. The story of a hugely inspirational young lady, who against all odds, strives to achieve her life goal.

I think the author captured Alice's spirit, and what could easily have been a tale of pity is an incredible story of courage and determination. It left me feeling very humbled and full of admiration. Alice's family must be so very proud of her and her achievements. I thought I knew about cystic fibrosis, but really I  had no idea, so hopefully this book will raise awareness of this debilitating condition.

Once again Alice Peterson has delivered an emotional, compelling and truly captivating story.  In my opinion, it's her best yet!