01 Oct The Beginning of Everything by Jackie Fraser
A thoughtful exploration of loss, redemption and new life
Well, that’s a first. I did not expect to meet the heroine of contemporary women’s fiction story in a Welsh graveyard, where she is camping out, having fled her past life.
It’s a salient reminder that anyone can fall on hard times, losing their home, their family and friends through no fault of their own.
Jess may have made some poor choices in the past, but she, like anyone else, does not deserve the fate that has befallen her.
The strength that encouraged her leave her old life behind stands her in good stead as she rebuilds her new one – though she breaks the law initially to do it, squatting in an empty house so that she can give prospective employers an address.
When the home-owner shows up, Jess fears that it is back to the graveyard for her!
But Gethin, a divorced man in his forties, is kind, and caring and takes her under his wing, allowing her to stay in the house, first as a guest, then as a lodger.
Gradually Gethin and Jess become friends, but their relationship seems doomed to stall unless Jess can resolve her trust issues. She must learn to love herself before she can love others, and that is not going to be easy.
Friendship, kindness and caring
This story relies on deep strong emotions, exploring the relationship between Jess and Gethin in great intensity. While Jess has secrets, there are no huge plot twists and no sudden reveals, but the story is a gentle and thoughtful reminder that friendship, kindness and caring will always make life better.
It is a very character-led story. While they do not live in a bubble, and we do meet their family and friends, the narrative concentrates almost exclusively on the two protagonists. Jess is a complex character, sympathetic but a little hard to get to know.
Gethin, on the other hand, is a straightforward joy – we all need someone like him in our lives, and I’m glad to have met him here, and to have been reminded of the power of the kindness of strangers.
A warm, wise and thoughtful read that allows the reader to examine their own attitudes to the difficult issues of the day while enjoying the story of a woman whose inner resilience may be bowed but is never fully broken.
The Beginning of Everything by Jackie Fraser, published by Simon & Schuster, is available now as an ebook, and in paperback from December 13.
About the Author
Jackie Fraser is the author of The Bookshop of Second Chances and The Beginning of Everything. She lives in Hampshire with her partner, and when she’s not reading, writing or editing (her day job) you might find her climbing over gates to look at stone circles, taking photographs of rusty things, or poking about in antique shops
Thanks to Sarah-Jade Virtue of Books and the City for inviting me on this blogtour and to publishers Simon & Schuster and Netgallley for the copy of the book.
Catch up with the rest of the blogtour at the links on the poster
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