Friday, 9 January 2015

One Step Closer to You by Alice Peterson

Out now
Published by Quercus
Purchase from Amazon here

My rating: 5 stars out of 5 

The Blurb:

After Polly ends her relationship with the father of her young son, Louis, she is determined to move on. All she wants is to focus on her job, her friends and to be a good mum. No more looking over her shoulder. No more complications . . . 

Then Polly meets Ben.

Ben is guardian of his niece, Emily. They become close, with Polly teaching Ben how to plait Emily's hair, and Ben playing football with Louis. Their friendship is unexpected. Polly’s never been happier. 

But when Louis's dad reappears in their life, all Polly’s mistakes come back to haunt her and her resolve weakens when he swears he has changed.

Will she give herself a second chance to love?

A heart-warming and touching novel, this is Alice Peterson at her emotional and uplifting best. For fans of Lucy Dillon and Jojo Moyes.

The Review:

Never read Alice Peterson before? need to rectify that....and One Step Closer to You is the perfect book to get you started! If you have read any of her books before, then yes, be excited, this is another corker! Infact this review has taken me ages to write up as I want to gush about how great it is, but I don't want to give the storyline away. 

Alice is such a talented author whose books are so compelling it is impossible to put them down once you start. News of a new book from her has me literally hopping round in excitement, so when I received my copy of One Step Closer to You I was dancing round the room. Even the cover is beautiful.

One Step Closer to You is book perfection. The storyline is gripping, emotional, uplifting and inspirational. The topics are meaty, and I was totally absorbed in it and didnt want it to end. I found it a story of love, loss, forgiveness and finding yourself and what makes you happy and fulfilled.

Over to our main character is Polly. Polly is a single Mum to gorgeous little Louis, and sister to the most wonderful brother Hugo. We meet Polly in a session with her therapist asking her when Polly has felt most happy....and whoosh off we go! 

We follow Polly through the present searching for happiness, but in order to understand who she is, and what she wants, we get to look back alot into her past. And wow, what a gripping and moving past it is! 

Her childhood was very mixed, having a very close and loving relationship with her brother Hugo, but a more awkward relationship with her parents. This gets mentioned alot throughout the story, but there were some 'oh wow, I didn't see that coming' moments, particularly later on, when we discover more about why the relationships developed in the way they did. Her bond with Hugo is so heartwarming. Not only does Polly help Hugo in a practical way, but it is clear that Hugo is her rock and even though their have been bumpy times, he loves her unconditionally. I totally adored him. Hugo is partially sighted and for me this added an extra dynamic to the story for me. Not only do I love Hugo as a person, and as a loving caring brother, but it was intriguing to think more about what life is actually like if you are partially sighted. This is one of the beauties of reading Alice's books...she creates characters with disabilities or challenges, that are written in such a way I feel like I connect with them and learn to be more considerate and compassionate of others and their differences. 

Polly is a recovering alcoholic and we see her attend AA meetings, as well as getting a view into her world as a drinker. Whilst I know alcoholics, I don't think I appreciated just what depths people go to in search of a drink, and how reliant on it they become. Reading about it the effect it had on Polly's life had me in tears. To think of people living like that breaks my heart. But following her recovery, and learning about what happens at AA was very inspirational to me. 

Then there is Louis's Dad, Matthew. He is no longer on the scene, but throughout there is a dark sinister feeling that hung over me when he was mentioned. I felt scared of him, and was worried about him appearing and ruining her life again. Poor Louis is desperate to have a Dad just like the other kids at school. As a single Mum I could relate to this and just wanted to make it all better for him.

Its not all about a troubled and difficult past......Enter Ben! Ben is great and it is soon apparent just what a big impact he is going to have on Polly and her life. He is uncle to Emily, and has become her guardian after the sad passing of her Mum. Being new to this parenting business Ben hasn't got a clue, even with the day to day basics, let alone helping Emily come to terms with losing her Mum. Polly spots Ben at the school gates and invites him along to join her and stay at home Dad Jim for coffee. Polly and Ben click and a strong friendship develops where Polly helps Ben to become a better 'Dad', and Ben helps Polly discover what makes her happy. Their is an obvious attraction between them, and I spent most of the book willing them to act on it. It helps that he is portrayed as not only kind, loving and vulnerable, but he also sounds hot too!

Polly, Ben and the kids have some great adventures together which are heartwarming and funny. One particularly funny one to watch out for is their camping trip which had me laughing and smiling. Will they get their happy ever after or will someone or something happen to ruin it all? I can't possibly tell and spoil it for you!

The book literally had me on the edge of my seat. The first half is gripping finding out about Polly, her past and about how she has rebuilt her life. We also get to know Bens story and get a chance to bond with them both. I fell in love with them both really early on. This sets us up for the second half of the book which brings so much together. The emotion was jumping off the page and each page dragged me in more. I admit that there were a few gasps as I made discoveries that I wasn't expecting. I was willing them to sort e everything out and have a happily ever after, but I couldn't predict what was going to happen. Just when things are all going well.....and then....bam! 

I cannot tell you how much I fell in love with this book. I know this review doesn't do it justice, but it is packed with so much that a) I couldn't cram it all into a review, and b) I would hate to spoil any of it for you.

Please do give this book a read. It is compelling, emotional, uplifting, and inspirational. I truly hope you love it as much as I have. It has stayed with me after finishing it and it has given me a new appreciation for how hard things can be for people, so to appreciate my life. But it has also reminded me how great life is and you can achieve anything you want if you set your mind to it. 

Thank you to Quercus for sending me a copy of the book in return for an honest review.

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