Louis & Louise by Julie Cohen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a wonderful, thought-provoking story. I picked it up because it was written by Julie, mainly. I've enjoyed every single one of her books so far.
A baby is born in 1978. In one version of the story, it's a girl (Louise) and in the other, it's a boy (Louis). Both are often called Lou.
Lou is the grandchild of the owners of the paper mill around which the whole town is built. They have two best friends - the twins, Benny and Allie. As adults, they both get summoned home to be there for their mother as she navigates the final stages of cancer.
The main events in the timeline are the same, but their impact differs depending on whether it's Louis or Louise. Both the stories are compelling and you want to keep reading to find out what happened. The differences in the stories make you consider the roles that society imposes onto children because of their gender and also what danger means when you're a boy vs when you're a girl.
This was a deeply affecting book. I enjoyed in massively.
I received an ARC through Netgalley (thank you). The usual disclaimer - I know the author in real life as we're both members of the same professional organisation. I was a fan of her books before I ever met her.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
When I saw this book up on Netgalley, I grabbed it because I’ve never, ever been disappointed by a Julie Cohen book. This is what I call a ‘burning dinner’ sort of book – one I couldn’t bear to put down for very long, so I end up reading it while stirring things on the hob. It’s lovely!
Jo is struggling to keep everything going. She is a really, really nice person and tries to help everybody. But somewhere inside, she’s still getting over the death of her first husband. Her second husband’s betrayal seems almost an incidental annoyance compared to how much she feels about her first husband. I sympathised with Jo, especially when it came to the bits where the kids were going nuts. Oh yes.
Lydia is in love with her best friend and can’t come out about her sexuality without risking losing her best friend. She’s about to sit her exams too, so the pressure is really on. The high pressure environment of school and the casual cruelty of teenagers was really well captured. Lydia was a fantastic character.
Honour was my favourite. She’s old, cantankerous and fiercely independent. The way she treated Jo at the start was shocking, but she mellowed wonderfully as the story progressed. She was wonderful. When I grow old, I totally want to be as fiery as Honour (although, maybe not as rude!)
This is a wonderful book about how we orbit each other, trapped in our little worlds without really understanding what other people are going through. I especially liked that Jo and Honour were in-laws, because it was different to a mother-daughter relationship (whilst also being fairly similar to a mother-daughter relationship in so many ways).
This is a wonderful book. Go buy it.
(I received a free copy from Netgalley, in return for an honest review)
Every so often there’s a book that you pick up and it speaks to you instantly. For me, Girl From Mars was just that sort of book. I recognised the type of people in it and definitely recognised the dynamics of the friendship Fil has with Jim and Digger.
The comic book geek side of things was very entertaining and I loved the insight into how Fil sees the world. There are two potential suitors in this book and I honestly did not know which one she was going to choose right until the end.
I think this is going to be one of my all time favourite comfort reads from now on. I don’t know why I didn’t read this book sooner.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I’ve been waiting for this book to come out in paperback ( I don’t hold with buying hardbacks). I love Julie Cohen’s books and this one sounded particularly intriguing.
Dear Thing is about parents – single parents, reluctant parents, wannabe parents, the lot. Claire and Ben want a baby. Romily, their friend, agrees to be a surrogate parent to Claire and Ben. Of course, it’s not that simple, because Romily has been in love with Ben for years.
This is an interesting love triangle (quadrangle, if you include the baby). The subject of parental love – that bond that connects adults to the children they look after, which goes beyond the mere connection by genetic material – is seen from all kinds of angles. This is a well written, sensitive book.
I particularly liked the character of Claire, who is kind and sensitive and hurting so much from baby-envy that she comes across as prickly. I was totally absorbed in the individual distress of Claire and Romily. I liked Jarvis, but I thought Ben was an insensitive, self centred git.
I read this book until well after midnight and picked it up again first thing the next morning. It’s that sort of book. It made me smile. It made me cry. As you’ve probably guessed by now – I loved it.