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A Song for Issy Bradley Hardcover – 19 Jun 2014


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Hutchinson (19 Jun 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091954371
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091954376
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.6 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,915 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Carys Bray was brought up in a devout Mormon family. In her early thirties she left the church and replaced religion with writing. She was awarded the Scott prize for her début short story collection Sweet Home. A Song for Issy Bradley is her first novel. She lives in Southport with her husband and four children.


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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Malteser on 20 Jun 2014
Format: Hardcover
The basic theme of this book is grief, together with the guilt which sadly so often accompanies it, and the different ways people cope with it.

It's the story of Ian Bradley who was brought up in a Mormon family, living near Liverpool, and has risen to be a highly respected Bishop in their local Mormon community. His wife Claire converted when they met, but isn't quite as dedicated to the religion, and often resents his devotion to the community at the expense of his family, i.e. their two sons and two daughters. When tragedy strikes the family their faith is challenged and they all cope in quite individual ways.

This is very much a character driven story and all the characters are so well drawn that I really cared for them and became involved in their lives. This sounds like a grim story and it's certainly very sad in parts, but there are also some quite humorous parts. No one could fail to warm to Jacob, the younger son, as he tries to make sense, then make better, the situation for his family.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book - it gripped me from the very beginning. Carys Bray has an exceptional ability to observe the minutiae of everyday life and convey it to the reader in a compelling way. I think it's an exceptional debut novel and one of those books which will remain in my memory for a long time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. C. Swarfield TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 July 2014
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Carys Bray has written her debut novel from the heart. She was brought up in the Mormon faith and was expected to marry young and marry a fellow Mormon. It was only after the death of her second child she decided to leave the faith along with her husband so this story is all the more powerful because she is telling something of her own life.

The book is written from the viewpoint of each member of a family touched by the sudden death of a child.

Issy Bradley is the youngest daughter of a devout Mormon family living in Lancashire. Her story is told through the voices of her father Ian, the children Alma, Zippy and Jacob and the mother Claire who refuses to leave the dead childs bunk bed. The structure gives a unique range of perspectives on the modern Mormon way of life, which includes heeding the dangers of pornography in the Next catalogue. Every chapter is superb but the final one in particular is stunnungly written. A beautiful book with more than a ring of truth.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Emma Louise on 20 Jun 2014
Format: Hardcover
Thank you to Charlotte at Random House for kindly sending me a review copy. Carys and I attended the same University, so I couldn’t wait to read. I’ve met her before and the passion she has for writing is inspiring.

In the opening called Footprints In The Sand, we’re given a sneak peek into what is happening now before we’re taken back a couple of months. It’s highly descriptive with beautiful imagery along with plenty of Biblical references. You don’t have to be religious to enjoy this book. I don’t attend Church every Sunday but I thought the links to the Bible and God were superb additions. We don’t know much about Claire: we don’t know her age, why she’s upset, what she does for a living… We know nothing but then we’re taken back to a few months previous.

Book One: All Is Well is where we meet the Bradley family. Be prepared to fall in love with the family like I did because they were truly superb. Claire and Ian are parents to Zippy, Alma, Jacob and Issy. We learn of their individual lives, opinions and thoughts as the opening book progresses. At the end of each chapter, we hear from Issy. I’ve never loved a child character so much and what struck me the most was that we barely knew her.

Book Two: The Lord Gave And The Lord Hath Taken Away is the most emotional book out of them all. Carys has been quite clever in terms of using the Biblical references and turning them into chapter titles which clearly indicate what may happen in the following chapters. After a calm opening, the drama and emotion is turned up to the max. I felt emotionally involved with the Bradley family and really feared for them. The memories of the past are heartwarming and allow us to understand their family much more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joanna M. Campbell on 3 July 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I found this novel moving without being sentimental and the writing elegant. I love stories about family life being tipped out of kilter and this topic is beautifully and eloquently addressed in A Song for Issy Bradley.

From the very first page I was drawn into their world, a fine interweaving of both the familiar domestic and - for me, less familiar - religious details. Each member of the family has their own way of bearing the burden of sorrow and the resultant test of their faith. The chapters are neatly shared among them in order that we learn more from each individual viewpoint. I really enjoyed hearing the different voices and particularly liked Alma and Ian. I felt Alma's anger and tension and loved Ian's determined, almost desperate, need to cling to his faith. I was so touched by how he fought to keep normal family life going, bolstered by the beliefs that he hoped fervently would also uphold everyone else and keep them together, while suffering from the most terrible grief himself.
I also enjoyed the touches of humour and the supporting cast of minor characters, who were all so very well drawn. An absorbing, entertaining and poignant novel.
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