#HappyNewYear #2023. Here are a number of #Fiction and #NonFiction Books in many genres I highly #Recommend from #2022 #BookRecommendations #BookReviews #BookWrap

I have reviewed many books in 2022 and what a privilege it has been too. Here are some that I highly recommend out of the many books I have reviewed in 2022. I also have included links to my full no spoiler reviews where you’ll also find the blurbs. The mix of crime fiction, contemporary fiction, historical fiction, non-fiction, memoirs are in no particular order. Please also feel free to explore my blog for other great book reviews, author interviews and talks and theatre reviews.

The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures By Holly Hepburn – An antique shop, antiques, a mysterious puzzle box, a trip to Egypt, a mention of the Canarvon Family (think the real Downton Abbey), all wrapped up in a wonderful book full of splendid characters.
Holly Hepburn has a new book coming this year that I will also be reviewing.

Check out the blurb and my review in the link: The Little Shop of Hidden Treasures

Suicide Thursday By Will Carver explores this and the darker corners of society. It’s a compulsive read with intriguing characters – Mike, Jackie and Eli. Will Eli leave a hated job and get past writing chapter 1 of a novel? What is written in texts? Find out the answers to these and more in Suicide Thursday.

Link to blurb and review –Suicide Thursday

All About Evie By Matson Taylor is a humorous second book to the much talked about The Miseducation of Evie Epworth that was a Radio 2 book club pick. There’s much humour mixed with poignancy and sadness. Find out what happens at a sound check at Broadcasting House, her friend, Caroline and life’s mishaps and incidents. It’s highly engaging. Find the blurb and review in the link: All About Evie

Yes, I Killed Her By Harry Fisher s full of chilling suspense. The question isn’t who, but it is how. How did a murderer commit such a calculated crime. Is it as perfect as he thinks? Here is a link to the blurb and full review. Remember, I’m not going to disclose the answers to those questions. That’s for you to discover yourselves: Yes, I Killed Her

Verity Vanishes By A.B. Morgan is book 3 of The Quirk Files. The books can be read as part of the series or as standalone as the cases each complete by the end of the book. The Quirks are quirky private investigators.

There are secrets to uncover, including who was Verity, why has she vanished and why is a tv station so interested in this particular case? It’s intriguing with wit. See blurb and review in the link –Verity Vanishes

Touching, haunting and a darn good unputdownable read. It takes place between Glasgow and H.M. Polmont Prison in Central Scotland. It’s gripping getting to know about what revelations unfold in Ginger and Wendy’s personalities and what happens to them. It’s a book of obsession and friendship and more in this contemporary fictional book… Find out more in the link to the blurb and my full review: Ginger And Me

The Homes By J.B. Mylet is set in an orphanage village in Scotland. Follow the lives of Lesley, Jonesy and Eadie, all from their points of views. How safe is The Homes? Murder strikes and everything changes in this fast-paced, immersive page-turner. It’s fiction based on a true story. Find out more in the link: The Homes

Remember Me by Charity Norman is gripping and addictive as the layers build up to discover what has happened to Leah, who has disappeared.

The book also follows Felix, who has Alzheimer’s. It’s authentically and sensitively written. Discover the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in the link: Remember Me

Should I Tell You By Jill Mansell is enthralling in both setting and the relationships between all the characters. Meet Lachlan, a chef in high demand and Peggy, a formidable, yet fun woman who puts up a credible argument as to why he should follow her to Cornwall to cook his amazing food. Also meet Amber, Lachlan, Rafaelle and Vee as you step into idyllic scenery. Is all well though? What would you make of the mysterious letter? Find out more in my link about this beautiful, compelling book that perfectly captures the lives of its characters, who are concealing truths. Should I Tell You

White Christmas on Winter Street has all the festive feel-good vibes you can want. Unearth the treasures in Corner House in Middledip. It’s a rather moving book as Heather returns to discover new friends and old. Find out more in the link: White Christmas on Winter Street

The Little Wartime Library By Kate Thompson is about a courageous librarian who took Bethnal Green Library underground during World War 2. It is fascinating and is fiction based on fact. Lots of research was done, including asking librarians, including me, many questions that then formed the basis of the central character. The Little Wartime Library

The Locked Away Life by Drew Davies is about 2 people who are seemingly poles apart. 1 is becoming practically a recluse and increasingly elderly, the other, much younger in need of a job, which is how they meet. Little do they know they need each other more than they thought they would. It’s a heartwarming story. Find out more in the link: The Locked AwayLife

Love Untold by Ruth Jones is uplifting, emotional and endearing, It crosses the generations from a teenager right up to a 90 year old. It’s well observed in all the complexities of life and interactions.
Discover more such as the blurb and my review in the link. Love Untold

The Cliff House by Chris Brookmyre puts readers on an island. There’s a hen party set on a Scottish island. In some ways it’s a bit like And Then There We’re None by Agatha Christie, but there are also many differences.

There are frictions amongst the guests and things take a sinister turn. It’s a well-observed book in the way relationships are between the characters and what happens when people are on a remote island. Everyone has a secret and no one is safe. Find out more in the blurb and the rest of my thoughts in the review: The Cliff House

Cat Lady By Dawn O’Porter is very humorous but also very poignant and thought provoking. Within the book, wrapped in the cuteness of a cat, there is a great human story too and both together makes this quite different and compelling. There are 5 parts to Cat Lady – Mother, Career Woman, Animal, Wife, Cat Lady. Follow Mia and Tristan through the ups and downs of life. Mia is especially more than you would perhaps assume she is… Here is the link to the blurb and full review: Cat Lady

Thrown is a debut novel by Sara Cox. It’s heartwarming and uplifting at a pottery class. It’s about community pulling together and friendships forming. There are elements that may well tug at your heartstrings. Here is the link to the blurb and review: Thrown

The Cruise by Catherine Cooper takes place on the most luxurious cruise-liner. The type that would be a holiday of a lifetime. Something mysterious happens and it is compelling to travel around to try to fit together all the pieces to discover how they all fit together and some truths. Here is the link to the blurb and full review. The Cruise

Keeping A Christmas Promise By Jo Thomas is about 4 friends who have known each other for 25 years. Tragedy happens to one of them, meaning it is up to 3 of them to keep their bucketlist promise- to see the northern lights at Christmas. With themes of friendship, mortality and strength to carry on in the face of adversity and community, it’s an entertaining, heartwarming book. Here is the link to the blurb and full review. Keeping A Christmas Promise

The Echoes of Love By Jenny Ashcroft transports readers to the 1930’s to the 1940’s and then to 1970’s. It takes readers into the depths of love and war and how it reverberates years later. The book is set between Portsmouth in the UK and Crete. It is a story of war and love. A story unfolding at the BBC Broadcasting House. It is fascinating, poignant and beautifully written. Here is the link to my original review and the blurb. The Echoes of Love

Cooking the Book by various authors published by Hobeck Books also raised money for the Trussell Trust. It’s various short stories, each taking on a different sub-genres of crime fiction. Each also has a recipe you can create by each author. Here is the link to all the details Cooking The Books

The Language of Food is fiction based on fact. It takes reader into the life of a little known woman, by many, called Eliza Acton. She changed the course of cookery forever and when today’s cooks come across her, they are inspired by her story and style and have been influenced greatly by her. Annabel Abbs now opens up her life in this very interesting book. Here is the link to discover more: The Language of Food

Create Your Own Indoor Green by Joe Swift who is also an expert gardener on Gardeners World and various other programmes. The book is an easy step by step guide to indoor plants. It quite literally has everything you need to know, whether you’re getting started or already have indoor plants as there’s always more knowledge to be gained. There are handy hints and tips as well as growing and caring for them. I actually bought this for a friend after reviewing it and she is delighted. Find out the blurb and review in the link: Joe’s Create Your Own Indoor Green

Women Like Us By Amanda Prowse, is a memoir where she sheds light and insight into her life, which many women will be able to relate to or understand, perhaps more than they may first expect. It’s a highly interesting read.
Women Like Us

One Night on The Island introduces readers to Cleo. She works for the magazine – Women Today and has an unusual assignment to do. Directed by her boss, Ali, the assignment is to marry herself (or self-coupling or sologamy) on a remote island. She has a few reservations to say the least. It’s an entertaining story with lots of heart and warmth. One Night On the Island

Mothers and Daughters By Erica James is a compelling story of family life and revelations. Families can be more complex than what they may first appear to be in this sweeping family drama. Mothers and Daughters

Marion Crawford, a bright, ambitious young teacher, is ready to make her mark on the world. Until a twist of fate changes the course of her life forever…
This mixes fact and fiction with Marion and the UK Royal Family in a fascinating way, about a woman not everyone knows much about. The Good Servant

Wolf Pack By Will Dean is a Scandi-Noir.

Tuva Moodyson has a case on her hands to solve with Thord and Chief Björn.
Elsa Nyberg is reported as being missing and chillingly, Rose Farm has quite the history of deadly things happening there, involving a family. It’s a gripping page-turner. Here is the link to the full review and blurb. Wolf Pack

The Empire By Michael Ball is exquisitely theatrical, after all, that is his background. It takes readers back in time to the glitz and glamour of 1922, where you’ll meet Jack Tredwell and a whole host of other cast. There are secrets and the future of the theatre itself is in jeopardy. It’s a page turner! Here’s my link to the blurb and rest of the review The Empire

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#Review By Lou of – Love Untold By Ruth Jones @TransworldBooks @alisonbarrow #rosieainsworth

Love Untold
By Ruth Jones

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Love Untold is beautifully written multi-generational story with heartfelt poignancy and great characters. Discover my blurb and full review below.
Thanks firstly to Transworld Publishers for inviting me to review gifting me an e-copy copy of Love Untold by Ruth Jones to review.

Blurb

Grace is about to turn ninety. She doesn’t want parties or presents or fuss. She just wants to heal the family rift that’s been breaking her heart for decades.

But to do that she must find her daughter Alys – the only person who can help to put things right.

And when she finds her – if she does – she risks betraying granddaughter Elin. Who is far less forgiving of the past, with its hurts and secrets and lies. Meanwhile Grace’s great-grand-daughter Beca is oblivious to all these worries, too busy navigating the highs and lows of teenage life and keeping secrets of her own.

All families have their problems. And most of them get resolved. But Grace’s problem is thirty years old. And she doesn’t have time on her side.

So is it too late for her to make peace? Or is reconciliation still within reach?

Love Untold is about mothers and daughters and the complex bond between them. It’s about the heartache that comes from leaving things unsaid and the power of true forgiveness. It is a joy-filled, life-affirming, sob-inducing novel – with characters you’ll come to know and love – from no.1 bestselling author Ruth Jones.

Review

Relationships between humans can be complicated and yet there is love and sometimes that is untold and Ruth Jones choice of words to show this are, at times, sublime to demonstrate this. The characters she creates are well observed and it is easy to be hooked in and stay with them, through to the end, even through their complex lives of lies, betrayal and she has the art of making you, as a reader want to hold out to see how things can end. She also has the skill to endear, which she does through Grace and her friends as well as taking readers through a gambit of emotions and leave satisfied in the end, but also with a layer of thought, shrouding you as you dwell on the unexpected, but very good end.

Love Untold unwraps itself through alternating chapters – Grace, Beca and Elin. The sea envelops, capturing the reader in its waves with a sense of serenity, well, until the reality hits of being 2 months off of being 90 for Grace, then it becomes, momentarily sobering. She lives in a residential home, Cadwallder House, which sounds exquisite from the outside and views, save all the utilitarian essentials, which then ensures that you know it’s for the elderly to be taken care of. Grace has friends here and is quite endearing on the whole, in nature and the conversations are great and the characterisation is wonderful.

Elin is Grace’s 51 grandaughter, who tries to persuade her that she needs to have a celebration, as a reader you can only hope it isn’t in vain, as she throws herself into wanting to plan it all, with a hotel at Dylan’s Quay, with such exuberance.

Beca is 16 with definite teenage attitude to match her age. She has exams and her thoughts of having to sit them, when a previous year couldn’t more than frustrates her, frustrates is putting it mildly. The light in which Beca is portrayed in is just fabulous and the temperament is spot on, readers will definitely know she’s a teen. From the grumbling of subjects to the way she is yelled at to get ready and down the stairs will be relatable to every parent with teens or be a reminder of their own teenage years.

There is also Alys who is a bit wayward and complicated, who later joins the fray and readers can see life from her path too.

The book portrays that life isn’t always easy or linear and has joy as well as sadness, but, certain events can happen as they do in this book, there can be warmth and poignancy, which she writes in a way that may give readers time to also reflect on life.

Ruth Jones is showing that she is conquering the book world as she did, the tv world with her wonderful creativity and observations of so much of human life and getting it down on the page in a way that is so compelling. I now look forward to seeing if she writes another soon.

Her books so far are: Never Greener, Us Three and Untold Love, each one stand alone and are excellent reads.

My Top Book Choices of 2020 by Lou #2020Reads #AdultFiction #CrimeFiction #Fiction #Thrillers #RomanticFiction #ContemporaryFiction #Uplit

My Top Book Choices of 2020
Various Authors

I have read and reviewed a huge amount of very good books. It has taken a lot of time and consideration to whittle them down to create the Top Book Choices List. All those that did not make this particular list, were incredibly close. I have added links so you can easily see what the books are about. The books are in no particular order. Look out for my top Adult Non-Fiction List and my top Children’s Fiction List, both are in separate posts.

Top Adult Fiction Books

The Thursday Murder Club by Richard Osman Click Here for More Info

The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor Click Here for More Info

Killing Rock by Robert Daws Click Here for More Info

Daughters of Cornwall by Fern Britton Click Here for More Info

What Lies Beneath by Adam Croft Click Here for More Info

Orfeia by Joanne M. Harris Click Here for More Info

Hinton Hollow Death Trip by Will Carver Click Here for More Info

Us Three by Ruth Jones Click Here for More Info

Perfume Paradiso by Janey Jones Click Here for More Info

The Things I Want To Say but Can’t by Carla Christian Click Here for More Info

The House of Correction by Nicci French Click Here for More Info

Tell  Me How It Ends by Isabelle Grey Click Here for More Info

The Colours by Juliet Bates Click Here for More Info

Miss Benson’s Beetle by Rachel Joyce Click Here for More Info

Letters From the Past by Erica James Click Here for More Info

One Step Behind by Lauren North Click Here for More Info

The Unravelling by Liz Treacher Click Here for More Info

Christmas With the Bobby Girls by Johanna Bell Click Here for More Info

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman Click Here for More Info

The Strange Book of Jacob Boyce by Tom Gillespie Click Here for More Info

Butterflies by D.E. McCluskey Click Here for More Info

Contacts by Mark Watson Click Here for More Info

The Life We Almost Had by Amelia Henley Click Here for More Info

The Guest List by Lucy Foley Click Here for More Info

Summer on A Sunny Island by Sue Moorcroft Click Here for More Info

The Postscript Murders by Elly Griffiths Click Here for More Info

The Garden of Forgotten Wishes by Trisha Ashley Click Here for More Info

Lion Heart by Ben Kane Click Here for More Info

Deep Dark Night by Steph Broadribb Click Here for More Info

With Or Without You by Drew Davies Click Here for More Info

Write-up of #Ruth Jones In Coversation with @hannahbeckerman #PenguinUKBooks @TransworldBooks @hannahbeckerman #UsThree

Write-up of Ruth Jones In Conversation
With Hannah Beckerman

Organised By Penguin

Ruth Jones was in conversation with journalist and author – Hannah Beckerman on Publication Day (3rd September 2020) of her new book Us Three. The talk was sparkling with enthusiasm and fun, covering her new book, writing and TV.

Lockdown

Ruth, during lockdown, was with her husband in Cardiff, Wales, unsuccessfully growing plants and reassessing her life with plans that never happened, like learning the piano or guitar. It was a great opener to the conversation and was witty, with an air of down-to-earthness. This down-to-earthness came across again, later in the talk, when she spoke of being so happy about Never Greener doing so well in the charts, which she had not expected, like she hadn’t expected to be on TV either. Now, having a bit more understanding of publishing, seems even happier about Us Three. She sounds like she is enjoying it.

Us Three

Us Three

The book – Us Three is about 3 friends – Laura, Judith and Catrin and there are talks of them making a pact together on a curly-wurly wrapper. There are three because she decided it would create more interest than just two.
The book spans over 4 decades of this friendship and she chose this as her focus, to move away from the toxic relationship within Never Greener, which soared through the charts for over 10 weeks.

It was so lovely to hear that Ruth herself has been blessed with such good friendships that have spanned over so many years and seen so many milestones of life together, since primary school and says there’s a bit of each of them and herself within the book as they inspired her characters journey, but essentially it’s all made-up. It was however more interesting when she expanded in talking about how there’s a certain dynamic between friends who have been together through life for such a long time and a certain part that can feel child-like in a sense and also sibling-like in another sense. The thing with Ruth Jones, is, what she was sharing was pretty relatable to. She was pretty honest as well, about having to delve into her own friend’s and sister’s memories and for inner detailing of the likes of Cyprus and talked of her own holidays abroad and the very south of England.

The parenting in the book takes on a different dynamic with Catrin and her over-protective dad and Judith and her step-dad, who has a gentler relationship with his step-daughter. She divulged how she, herself is a step-mum. I must say, I loved her attitude, that she didn’t set-out to be celebratory of blended-families and that, instead, she is more of a fan of just getting on with life together. From what she talked about, she does come across as being a great step-mum and sounds like a great family.

Upon being asked about ensemble writing, by Hannah, from her writing great main and secondary characters, she says with both prose fiction and screen-writing, she starts with characters and then works ut the chemical reaction of them coming together and loves the chaos that brings. She tries to write realistically, which I must say, comes across in her books. She balances good stuff with the bad stuff and under-pins it with humour as that’s what can happen in real-life.

TV Talk

Ruth Jones talked of TV as well. In terms of script-writing, she had wondered if she could write a book, although the approach is different. She discovered she loved going into the psychology a bit more than in a script. She isn’t a planner, she said, as she intimated she works at all sorts of hours. This is interestingly, in complete contrast to Hannah, who is a plotter and a planner. It just shows that people work so differently and yet still do so well.

Of course Hannah asked the question on everyone’s lips – “Will there be more Gavin and Stacey”. It was entertaining hearing her almost skirt around this as she talked about the Christmas special that drew in a huge audience, which neither her nor James Corden predicted and had instead been preparing for the worst. They also kept it so quiet. It was nice she credited the BBC for also doing so. They had a master-plan, which worked, for how people would find out and not through leaks in the press. She talked about how hard it is for her and James Corden to be together and they prefer to write in each other’s physical company due to Covid and also being busy, rather than via Zoom. It does sound a spectacular working relationship. She mentioned there may or may not be a story-line. There were lots of teasers. So, in other words, only her and James Corden will know the answer.

She came across as so grateful for her acting success and even the times when she had a line in May to December and a line and a look in the Gwyneth Paltrow version of Emma, siting that everything is important and she ensure in her writing too that nothing is wasted.

Excitingly she is working on 3 TV projects from her own company and has started writing her 3rd novel

Us Three is available to buy now!

Us Three

 

 

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.

#Review of the outstanding #NewBook – 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.