Thursday, 21 January 2016

Reviewed: Another Love by Amanda Prowse







Another Love was published for Kindle by Head of Zeus on January 16, 2016.


Thanks to Amanda and Head of Zeus for sending me a copy of this book to review.



I’ve been a big fan of Amanda Prowse’s novels for a while now, and love what they represent. I’m pretty sure Amanda’s emotional writing has contributed to about half the tears I have ever cried thanks to her incredibly moving stories. But the thing I always love the most about Amanda’s books is how genuine and true-to-life they are. She doesn’t spare any harsh realities or home truths for the sake of an obvious happy ending. Instead, each character and each plot is taken in a completely believable direction, bringing the reader along with them through every bit of joy, sadness and fulfilment. Being able to picture the novels actually playing out in real life makes reading them all the more touching because you can buy into every one of the author’s words and this is exactly how I felt reading Another Love.

The first thing that really hit me with Another Love is how much I absolutely cared for the family of David, Romilly and Celeste. The love between David and Romilly was so real and so very beautiful, meaning that I immediately connected with the story because I was willing to root for their characters from the beginning. The thought of what was to come, what you already know is going to force its way between them, already had me torn and sad because on paper they could be living this perfect, happy life but as time passes, that’s no longer the case. The family work their way into your thoughts and even during the moments I wasn’t reading the book (though there were few of them), I still couldn’t stop thinking about and wondering how that ending was going to turn out for them all. All I can say on that point is that it was emotional! But then you expect nothing less from an Amanda Prowse novel and this one is truly her best so far.

Romilly likes a drink of wine and is found drinking something alcoholic on a daily basis. She doesn’t see that she has a problem – she’s not addicted. But her colleagues and her family beg to differ. They’re always able to smell the booze on her, they see that she finds it impossible to be social without a drink first, and her daughter’s own life is suffering, with her mum regularly forgetting to pick her up from school or getting into embarrassing situations as she does so. When Romilly is forced to really consider the influence of alcohol on her life, she knows she lies about the amount she’s really drinking and she knows some form of alcohol is always there in her many hiding places. Alcohol is a choice she makes, maybe not one she can control, but it is still always her choice. But would she choose it over her own family?

Ahh, the emotional twists in this book turned me into a complete wreck. I felt for David and Celeste, how they were fighting a seemingly impossible battle to have Romilly in their lives, without alcohol. But at the same time I felt for Romilly too. Sure, she made disappointing choices I really desperately didn’t want her to. She kept on spending time with her neighbour, a manipulative piece of work who personally I couldn’t stand. She kept on telling lies and hurting her family. She kept on drinking. But this was a story of raw addiction, and I couldn’t dislike Romilly because of her addiction. Amanda wrote the whole theme of alcoholism realistically and incredibly. As the reader, we get to feel every struggle, all the frustrations from repeatedly seeing someone turn to alcohol, try and stop turning to alcohol and once again, ending up bladdered. To me it looks difficult to balance the repetition of Romilly’s drinking with a story that does actually move forward, too, but Amanda managed to do that just perfectly.

The format of this story worked so cleverly. I liked how the majority of the book is told in third person about Romilly’s ‘other love’, with each chapter being broken up with smaller bits from her daughter Celeste’s perspective. That much more focus was brought to Romilly’s struggles (though Celeste was never forgotten) felt to me, reminiscent of how alcoholism takes over and consumes a person, how alcohol worked its way into Romilly’s everyday life to the extent that it took over more and more, becoming a crueller but at the same time, more difficult to resist substitute to that happy place Romilly should have been in with her daughter and husband. We get to learn about Celeste as she grows up, but the alcohol addiction is still always on our mind.

Amanda has written a very honest and insightful novel with Another Love. Few authors break down a theme like this author does, unafraid to deliver all the gritty, uncomfortable things that come along with the lure of alcohol. The story is very engaging and one I’d suggest it is impossible not to be moved by. It’s unmissable.






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