Monday 17 March 2014

Review ~ Holding Paradise by Fran Clark.

Title: Holding Paradise.
Author: Fran Clark.
Genre: Women's Fiction.
Release Date: April 14, 2014.

Purchase: Amazon Kindle ; Amazon Paperback ; Indigo Dreams Publishing

On a grey and miserable morning in 2008, London businesswoman, Angelica Ford boards a plane and flies off to the blues and greens of her mother’s island in the Caribbean. Angelica is desperate. She is looking for a way to save her marriage and win back her daughter. A web of lies has torn a hole into her seemingly perfect world and she is convinced that only her mother, Josephine Dennis, can help her turn her life around.

Josephine Dennis arrived in England by ship on a cold winter’s morning as a young mother joining her husband. She weathers a lifetime of secrets and betrayal, as she raises her family in 1960s London. A matriarch with strong family values, she told her children colourful stories to guide them through life. It is the wisdom of one of these stories that Angelica seeks. Josephine has one last story to tell – the story that could change both of their lives.

Sign up for the author's online launch party for Holding Paradise where you'll have the chance to win a copy of the book! Find out more and sign up here.


Holding Paradise is a poignant tale about the lives of two women, Angelica and her mother Josephine. Motherhood, racism, love, friendship and adultery are just a few of the themes Fran Clark has used in this book and she’s written them wonderfully.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect with the format of this book. For the most part, Holding Paradise switches between Angelica and Josephine, both looking back on their lives. At first I found the changes in time and character a little hard to follow but as I carried on reading, it was easy to become engrossed in their stories and it was no longer confusing.

I was amazed by how well the author made me care for the two main characters. As they thought back on their trials and tribulations, I was gripped and full of empathy for Angelica and Josephine. Their characters were really well developed and the fact that most of Holding Paradise was based on the past didn’t put me off at all because it was all written brilliantly. I found myself learning about how difficult life was made for some people back in the years this book was set in, especially surrounding race and marriage, and I loved how insightful it was.

Holding Paradise was a completely pleasant surprise for me. This did not feel like a debut book at all – it was written with great care and it seemed well researched and worded. If you’re a fan of books which can handle gruelling issues without making it too difficult to read and if you’re a fan of well thought out, highly developed characters then Holding Paradise is a book I would definitely recommend.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Review also posted on Goodreads ; Amazon UK ; Amazon

About the Author:

Fran Clark was born and currently lives in West London. Her first novel, Holding Paradise, is published in 2014 by Indigo Dreams Publishing. Fran is studying for a Creative Writing MA at Brunel University. A professional-singer songwriter and vocal coach, she recently released her second album of original songs. She is now working towards the completion of her second novel.

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