The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness
By Laura Bambrey
This is an absolutely incredible book that will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions through a farmland retreat, all the way to a huge and unexpected twist that I honestly did not see coming…
I am finding it hard to sleep at nights… oh, not just because of the heat, but because this book is too hard to put down. It’s a Must Read in my opinion.
Find out more in the blurb and more about my thoughts in my full review below.
The perfect feel-good read from an exciting new voice in women’s fiction, for fans of Heidi Swain, Cathy Bramley and Jenny Colgan.
Tori Williamson is alone. After a tragic event left her isolated from her loved ones, she’s been struggling to find her way back to, well – herself. That’s why she set up her blog, The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness, as a way of – anonymously – connecting with the outside world and reaching others who just need a little help sometimes.
When she’s offered a free spot on a wellbeing retreat in exchange for a review on her blog, Tori is anxious about opening herself up to new surroundings. But after her three closest friends – who she talks to online but has never actually met – convince her it’ll do her some good, she reluctantly agrees and heads off for three weeks in the wild (well, a farm in Wales).
From the moment she arrives, Tori is sceptical and quickly finds herself drawn to fellow sceptic Than, the retreat’s dark and mysterious latecomer. But as the beauty of The Farm slowly comes to light she realizes that opening herself up might not be the worst thing. And sharing a yurt with fellow retreater Bay definitely isn’t. Will the retreat be able to fix Tori? Or will she finally learn that being lonely doesn’t mean she’s broken . . .
Welcome to The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness! Where you can learn to move mountains by picking up the smallest of stones…
Loneliness is on the rise, so it is said, not just in the elderly, but in all younger age groups too. It is also perhaps quite apt as the main character – Tori, is off to a farm she has been invited to review for her blog, and that’s exactly what I am doing as I sit in the hot sun, in my garden, with a farm behind me, is writing a review of the book for my blog, for all you readers out there.
The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness is a group set up to conquer, exactly that and to make new friends, some of the main people being Tori, Nathalie and Sue and they chat sometimes in the specially created chatroom for the group, so occassionaly readers will see that format in the book.
Some of the humour comes from Tori’s reactions to travelling on a beaten old track in a beaten, well-worn LandRover, as she was expecting grander things. It’s all in the way it is written…
The book has everything in it, friendships, anxieties, relieving anxieties, perfection v imperfection, grief, and one huge theme that is so important, but I won’t say as it will spoil the story, but will leave you absolutely gobsmacked! I never say that about a theme in a book, but, for this, it had to be said.
On the farm she meets Lizzie and Ted, who are using the farm to run a wellbeing retreat and where a small group of guests are affectionately known as “Beardy Weirdies” and are rather more enthused than Tori, who of course has to participate if she has any hope of writing a review. She does however, get right into the retreat, jangling nerves of what she’s got herself into and all.
Each new chapter has a little snippet about loneliness and anxieties and life, in a retreat/wellbeing style way, almost like affirmations, but with useful and thought-provoking tips that are practical for anyone’s everyday life, before it takes readers back into the fictional story. In some parts, it is a relaxed read, but in others it is intense, in a way that goes with the book’s setting and themes. Time just flies by and I’m sure many a reader will get themselves lost down on the farm for awhile as it oozes with escapism. There is also an absolute rollercoaster of emotions throughout this, all of which are completely and utterly absorbing.
Readers really are taken into the heart of the retreat, what happens in one, from therapeutic talking to mindfulness and much more, all given in different sessions (although each will be different, this gives a great example) and how people can be and feel within them and the release of their inner secrets and inner truths to overcome their fears etc in the confines of the retreat.
It’s pretty hard to put down and a residue of the book is left behind within you when it is finished as it is hard not to think about it, even though that last page has been read.