As I was reading Shari Low’s new book I was reminded of the first line from Philip Larkin’s popular poem, This Be The Verse, ‘They f**k you up, your mum and dad’.
We see that in action across three generations in This Is Me, going from one extreme to another – although I know which end I would prefer to be.
It is a cleverly written and fast paced tale with plenty of humour and emotion along with Shari’s almost trademark take on strong female friendships, which she is so good at writing.
Along with that, there was also something that felt a bit new and darker. In fact, the chapters where we see a master manipulator at work, controlling the woman he’s supposed to love, sent chills down my spine.
While we meet several new characters, we also catch up with a few old favourites from previous books, which I love.
Here’s the blurb:
This is… Denise.
Married to Ray, her first and only love, Denise has never for one moment regretted putting the husband she idolised on a pedestal above everyone and everything else. But, after forty years of marriage, he is gone, leaving Denise to discover that their perfect marriage was fatally flawed. Now she faces a future alone, but first she must face the betrayals of the past.
This is… Claire.
The estranged daughter of Denise, the woman who put her husband before her children, Claire took the opposite path and devoted her life to raising her her family, sacrificing her marriage along the way. With her teenage sons about to flee the nest, she realises she may have left it too late to find her own happy ever after.
This is the story of two women, both alone, both cautionary tales of one of motherhood’s biggest decisions.
Who is more important, your partner or your children? And what happens if you make the wrong choice?
The story is told by both Denise and Claire but Shari, as always, is great at making sure the swaps in narrator – and in years – flow perfectly. They don’t distract from the story but actually make it more compelling.
Her character creation is also spot on. I was rooting for Claire all the way along but my feelings for Denise grew more confused as the story unfolded (no spoilers).
As for the ending, it actually made me say ‘hah, of course’ out loud. If you read the book, I’d love to hear what you think.
Price: 98p (via Amazon at the time of writing).
My rating: Four stars.
With thanks to Aria for the ARC (via Netgalley) for the #arc and the chance to take part in the blog tour.
Shari Low is the No 1 best-selling author of over 20 novels, including One Day In December, A Life Without You, The Story Of Our Life, With Or Without You and Another Day In Winter. And because she likes to over-share toe-curling moments and hapless disasters, she is also the shameless mother behind a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So.
Once upon a time she met a guy, got engaged after a week, and twenty-something years later she lives near Glasgow with her husband, a labradoodle, and two teenagers who think she’s fairly embarrassing except when they need a lift.
For all the latest news, visit her on Facebook (@sharilowbooks), Twitter (@ShariLow), or at http://www.sharilow.com
She was also kind enough to take part in my Behind The Book series. You can find the post here.
If you get chance, please also have a look at the other blogs taking part in the blog tour, listed below.