ARC REVIEW FOR THE BOOKOLLECTIVE UK BLOG TOUR
This is a book that I received as part of this months BOOKOLLECTIVE blog tour. I am really proud to have been selected as a member of this team and thrilled at the opportunity to review books like this great read. This review is spoiler free so don’t worry!
Because of You spans 36 years in the life of Hannah Stein, a Swedish teenager who arrives in London, at the tail end of the disco era, for a gap year before embarking on a teaching career. The people she meets change the course of her life irrevocably and the novel charts her changing personal and professional fortunes over the next three decades. Because of You is about love, coming of age, friendship, bereavement, stillbirth and rape. Its themes include redemption, acceptance, fidelity and family. Because of You is a story that every woman can relate to. Because of You is the deeply moving debut novel by Scandinavian writer Helene Fermont.
This book was really really out of the box reading for me because my usual genre is Young Adult fantasy and high fantasy books. However it was a really nice change of pace and once id gotten over the unfamiliarity of the genre I really enjoyed the book.
The story is set over about 36 years and goes between the countries of Sweden and the UK and i found the differences in cultures and settings to be really fulfilling, the changes that the settings gave to the plot were subtle and highlighted the movements of time and atmosphere. I became very involved in the character building and the coming of age, growth of the protagonist Hannah as well.
Hannah moves to London at a really young age, as someone who is 20 and is very unsure of life’s whiles and ways still I found myself sympathising with the character and her huge life changes and the movements in her life. It was really powerful to see and bear witness to how she coped and grew and learned with each issue and difficulty thrown her way. There were a few characters thrown in that were ghastly and showed the diversity of people you have to deal with through your life. The character of Hannah was relate-able and this made reading about her, even though it is set in the past, to be reassuring.
There are a few very real topics featured throughout the novel too such as love, loss, rape, the loss of a baby and dementia. These issues were very emotional and led to questions arising but the author deals with them in a way that is neither patronising or crude and therefore the plot is not disturbed but enriched by these situations that anyone could relate or sympathise with in present day, everyday life. The topics of death and love and loss are involved in many books but I found the way Helene Fermont wrote about them to be very original and it kept my interest whilst I read.
Hannah comes across as a bit of a privelidged and sheltered teenager at the beginning of the book and its great to see her progress into a stronger and more built woman with her own values and ideas as the story progresses. The book has such an authentic feeling to it and some genuine feeling and emotive writing. I think this is partly because a lot of the things that Hannah has to go through are a selection of things that touch everyday people all the time. I also fell in love with Hannah’s glam mother and her matriarch of a grandma, the powerful female roll through the book rocked!
There were classic right and wrong dilemmas and decisions throughout the narrative and the opportunities for the good and the bad characters to show their true natures, The writing and the style was so different to what I am used to that it was sometimes a little hard to keep up, but I did finish and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to read and review this book as part of such a great team and it really enriched my reading sphere.
If you’re looking for a book that is a little of the beaten track and something a little coming of agey and lifelike then this is the book to read, its thought provoking and relate able and widely diverse in themes and characters. A pretty great read all round and especially good if you want to step out of you usual comfort zone for a while. Please check out the other reviews and interviews from my team members this month as they are such a great group with some dedicated and fantastic blogs and opinions!