Katie thinks she is living her life to the full, running her own clothing store, arranging fashion shows, and cohabiting in London with her career-driven boyfriend, Sam. But in the space of a fortnight her outlook changes completely, due to her unusual sister Isabel (Bells) visiting while their parents go mysteriously off the grid. Bells normally lives in a residential community in Wales, and despite her regular letters to Katie, hasn’t seen her or heard from her for a long time. Katie doesn’t understand why she’s kept her own family distant, avoided her lovable sister for so long, and why she hasn’t mentioned her to Sam or any of her London friends. In seeing things from Bells’s (uninhibitedly outspoken) perspective for a while, getting reacquainted with her, and keeping her safe, Katie comes to see what’s missing from her life and her relationship. But is it too late to fix things?
Kooks for your Kindle?– The author has created some vivid characters, the most interesting being Bells. Bells knows she’s different from most people, but has found peace in her supportive community. Her difficulties come in situations with the general public where her odd social behaviour are not always met with understanding, although they occasionally turn in to a good ice-breaker to meet new open-minded people. Despite this and some minor problems, she lives a full life with her friends, her love of football and movies, and her vast talent for cooking.
It’s clear from the start that Sam is very much concerned with image and appearances; and is thus not well suited to artistic Katie. He’s not totally insensitive though, and tries to understand her in his own way. Katie’s friends and colleagues are much more considerate of Bells.
The Bella-Swan-Pathetically-Self-Sacrificing-Factor– That’s not the case here, Katie is strong and confident in most aspects of her life, although it’s not easy to empathise with her in the beginning. At first glance it might appear that Katie has been selfish, keeping her family at arm’s length for the last ten years, but via a series of little flashbacks, we are shown glimpses of all stages of her childhood. I won’t spoil it, but let’s just say it’s easier to understand when we see things from her point of view.
Painting a picture for your paperback?– The book is set in London and although I’m not a lover of cities myself, it did sound appealing; picnics in the park, nightlife, public transport, good pubs and coffee shops. However the most vivid picture painted is that of Bells and Katie’s sisterhood.
Evaluation of your eBook?– My initial frustration with Katie for not telling anyone in London about her sister faded and I then thoroughly enjoyed the journey. Bells was an unexpected and effective second-lead character, her innocent perspective opened things up completely. It’s gripping and well paced, speeding up in correlation with the increasing chaos as Katie’s life unravels. The romance side of the story began as par for the course but with some unexpected spanners thrown in the works. Seeing Katie change and try to rebuild her disarrayed family was gratifying, and as I’ve come to expect from the author, it’s a warm, touching, fun read, with an understanding take on a sensitive subject.
Frothy Ranking: 4/5 cocktails.
Note– This version released Nov 1012 but previously published as Look The World In The Eye
Can be obtained from:
US: Kobobooks for $7.99. It’s not currently on Amazon.