#BookReview by Lou of The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin @itsmcronin @alisonbarrow #LenniAndMargot #Fiction


The Hundred and One Years of Lenni and Margot

By Margot Cronin
Rated: 5 stars *****

Essential, witty and emotional – The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is marvellous and utterly unputdownable.
Find out more about the author, the blurb and review below.
With thanks to Alison Barrow at publisher – Transworld Books/Doubleday for gifting me a beautiful physical copy of the book.

About the Author

Lenni and Margot took me seven years to write and I’m very excited that their story is now reaching readers here on Amazon.

Before I started working on writing fiction full-time, I spent my days in academia, writing things that nobody wanted to read (not even my mum!). I have a PhD in Applied Linguistics but I don’t use the title ‘Dr’ on official documents because I’m scared of being asked to help in a medical emergency and having only a thesis on linguistics to help.

I like to write at night and I like to be alone when I do. When I’m not writing, I can be found trying to be funny in various improv groups or watching my recently-adopted cat sleeping under my desk.

LenniAndMargot Cover

Blurb

An extraordinary friendship. A lifetime of stories.
Their last one begins here.

_______________________________________
Life is short. No-one knows that better than seventeen-year-old Lenni living on the terminal ward. But as she is about to learn, it’s not only what you make of life that matters, but who you share it with.

Dodging doctor’s orders, she joins an art class where she bumps into fellow patient Margot, a rebel-hearted eight-three-year-old from the next ward. Their bond is instant as they realize that together they have lived an astonishing one hundred years.

To celebrate their shared century, they decide to paint their life stories: of growing old and staying young, of giving joy, of receiving kindness, of losing love, of finding the person who is everything.

As their extraordinary friendship deepens, it becomes vividly clear that life is not done with Lenni and Margot yet.

Fiercely alive, disarmingly funny and brimming with tenderness, THE ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF LENNI AND MARGOT unwraps the extraordinary gift of life even when it is about to be taken away, and revels in our infinite capacity for friendship and love when we need them most.

LenniAndMargot Cover 2

Review

Set primarily in Glasgow, with tales of life being lived in London and on a beach in Troon,  the premise of life and death is fabulous and is as far from bleak as you can get with such a subject matter. This is pretty uplifting and also essential, as we all live and we all have final days and yet it isn’t talked about very much. For a debut novel, it is very accomplished and totally enthralling and utterly compelling and unputdownable.
Lenni is in hospital in Glasgow and it initially sounds pretty bleak, but this could not be further than the truth! It questions life and death in such a natural, funny and brave way. Lenni is foreward in giving opinions and statements and generally gives the chaplin – Father Arthur a run for his money, especially about life and death and God, and is in search of answers as to why life is ending at the tender age of 17. It is absolutely brilliant in how so many emotions are portrayed and how matter-of-fact thoughts and dialogue is.
Lenni and Margot, truly have a story of  significance and importance to tell, after all, this covers subjects that are natural and yet not properly talked about and it nicely doesn’t skirt around the cycle of life and subsequent death. It calls it all what it is, which is refreshingly honest. 

At the other end of the scale is Margot, who Lenni comes across in the hospital. She is 83. Here is the clever thing about the title. Margot (83) and Lenni (17) have the most extraordinary inventiveness how to reach 100, which is just joyous and bittersweet all at once, but with a wonderful upbeat determination.
What blossoms is a lovely friendship. This is, despite life coming to and end, just so heartwarming and beautiful to watch occur and what makes it so, apart from the humour, is that Margot tells Lenni about her younger years of life, and how she becomes interested in it. This is as much about life and not just merely existing, but truly living it, as it is in making the most of what is left of it. It isn’t about just about staying in a hospital bed either, it’s about still doing activities, as they met in an art class within the hospital and it is about when life was lived and death couldn’t be further away.

It’s a book that will make you laugh one minute and all sad in another as emotions oscillate throughout, this is a terrific debut novel, full of heart and the most unlikely of friendships, but circumstance brough Lenni and Margot together, because it can be extraordinary how and when and who with friendships are formed, which develop into something that becomes natural. It is a wonderful book from beginning to end.

Happy Publication Day to Ruth Jones #BookReview of the outstanding #Mustread – Us Three By Ruth Jones #RuthJones @AlisonBarrow

Us Three
By Ruth Jones
Rated: 5 stars *****

Us Three is an uplifting, joyous and emotional read of 3 character’s lives and their friendship together, that is just an incredibly impressive book that is well observed on human nature. that I highly recommend. Once started, it is difficult to put down and leave. All in all, Ruth Jones, famed for Gavin and Stacey and her debut – Never Greener, has written outstandingly, again with this second novel.

It has to be said, I was so amazed  and excited, that I have this opportunity to review Us Three by Ruth Jones. Thank you so much to Alison Barrow at Transworld Books.
Read on for the blurb and full review…

Us Three

Blurb

The new novel from Ruth Jones, author of the smash-hit, number one bestselling debut, Never Greener.

Meet Lana, Judith and Catrin. Best friends since primary school when they swore an oath on a Curly Wurly wrapper that they would always be there for each other, come what may.

After the trip of a lifetime, the three girls are closer than ever. But an unexpected turn of events shakes the foundation of their friendship to its core, leaving their future in doubt – there’s simply too much to forgive, let alone forget. An innocent childhood promise they once made now seems impossible to keep . . .

Packed with all the heart and empathy that made Ruth’s name as a screenwriter and now author, Us Three is a funny, moving and uplifting novel about life’s complications, the power of friendship and how it defines us all. Prepare to meet characters you’ll feel you’ve known all your life – prepare to meet Us Three.

Review

I was, as you an see, very excited to see that I had an opportunity to review Us Three by Ruth Jones. She isn’t just an incredibly good script-writer and actor, but also a very good novelist. Us Three takes readers on a well-written, well-observed journey with Catrin Kelly, Lana Lloyd and Judith Harris. The three have a big trip planned of Greek island hopping before parting ways as Catrin wants to study medicine at Cardiff, Judith wants to read economics in London and Lana wants to train to be a musical theatre actor.
The writing is amusing and has a natural flow that you can’t help but be swept along with it from the start.

Characters are given their own chapters, but each are interwoven into each other’s lives and it’s great getting to know them. In amongst the friendships and comaraderie, things in life aren’t always easy, not when Judith’s mum falls terribly unwell, or did she? This is a question readers will find the answer to as the story continues.

When, finally on holiday, the three get into some unplanned situations, some of which are rather unfortunate indeed. There’s also some fun, gorgeous scenery and archetecture and perhaps a bit of romance to stumble into. There are also some unexpected revelations concerning Judith’s family. It’s interesting as they come tumbling out from George.
The relationship that Lana is involved in is one that may make you, like it did me, if it could last or not.
Catrin has exciting news.

The friendship that is captured is absolutely wonderful. The way they look out for each other, practically shines a light on how friendships ought to be. The Three of Us is so heartwarming. There are however some major challenges to overcome as well as utter heartache within one of the families as they’re taken to quite an unexpected dark place. Ruth Jones expertly navigates the shades of light and dark of life. It catches you right there. One moment you can be smiling and the next, feeling a bit more serious. She totally captures you in the book.

Part 2 takes readers into their lives 18 years later and the year is 2005 and part 3 is 12 years on, with the year being 2017. It’s an interesting insight into how Catrin, Lana and Judith are growing up and how their friendships are as time moves on and how certain things change and life’s milestones occur, some happily, others with deep sadness. All the way through I can’t help but root for their friendships to survive the ups and downs. The ups are joyous and the downs are sometimes to the extent of heartbreak in their personal lives. There are also ups and downs within their friendship to each other. The downs are the sort that, if you, like me, have friendships with some people who you’ve known most of your lives, don’t happen. I’m totally invested in these characters lives and it is tremendously easy to do so, even as early as the first few chapters in part 1. The time moving on works incredibly well as the insights are fascinating as the story builds and there is a great desire to keep reading on and finding out more because they are characters with lives to care about. The parts are also, so succinct, being divided like that, that they flow effortlessly from part to part. Each has a realistic feel to it. By the time I finsihed, I am almost speechless. It’s just absolutely, one of the most heartwarming books. The strength of character is each woman is undoubtedly amazing.

All in all, I highly praise and recommend Us Three by Ruth Jones.

About the Author

Ruth Jones is best known for her outstanding and award-winning television writing, most notably BBC1’s Gavin and Stacey, which she co-wrote with James Corden and in which she played the incorrigible Nessa Jenkins. The most recent Christmas Day special of Gavin and Stacey gained national critical acclaim, drawing an audience of over 18 million and winning a National Television Award for Impact. Ruth also created and co-wrote Sky 1’s Stella, which ran for six series. As well as being Baftanominated for her role as the eponymous Stella, Ruth has also starred in several other television comedies and dramas. Her debut novel Never Greener has now sold over a quarter of a million copies. It was chosen as WHSmith Fiction Book of the Year 2018, was a Zoe Ball Book Club pick, and was a Sunday Times bestseller for fifteen weeks, three weeks at number one. Us Three is Ruth’s second novel.