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Round and Round
on 17 November 2014
I must straight away admit that I was not familiar with Terry Tyler before, and it was a great surprise when she approached me, with her wonderful, nicest words in the world and asked me if I would be interested to review her latest novel. So, after pushing my chest out, puffing a little, feeling proud and 20 cm bigger, I of course jumped on the chance and started reading the book as soon as I only could.
Sophie’s 40th birthday is coming soon and, as it usually is when it’s a kind of a milestone in life, it makes her think about her life. She’s a very ordinary woman, juggling work and boyfriend, who doesn’t see the necessity to get married. She feels lonely: her best friend moved abroad, her beloved Aunt is dead, and she never has had a close relationship with her mother. To top this all, her boyfriend Chris starts to show interest in a very controversial thing, a thing that Sophie wants to stay as far away from as possible. She seems to be really cornered and starts to think if her choices were the best for her. With a little help from her deceased Aunt, Sophie starts to dream her „what if – life” – is she going to make some significant decisions or is she going to stay with Chris, leading the life that she lately started to hate?
As much as Sophie and aunt Flick are the main characters in the book, they didn’t work out for me. I couldn’t warm to them, Aunt Flick was too wise, too understanding and too far – sighted, and Sophie… Well, Sophie should have got a grip and pull herself together long, long time ago, stop despairing, wondering, she was too cautious, too conservative in my eyes. She doesn’t like her life and it breaks very clearly through the pages, she’s unhappy with it and with herself. In 1998 she got four Valentine’s cards from four different men and she can’t stop thinking if she would be happier with any of them.
I, on the other hand, enjoyed the other characters in the book. The men were different and added some colour to the story, and the alternative lives that Sophie could lead with them were in my eyes the highlight of this book. Well, you must really be careful what you wish for.
I finished the book some time ago but I still feel a little confused. It was not like a typical book for me, I had a feeling that it is a kind of a report about someone’s – in this case – Sophie’s life. It was as if somebody was telling me about it, about Sophie. Sophie, a normal woman, with normal life, having a job and a boyfriend, and suddenly there were much more men involved with her, she was like leading a double life, or I should say, quadruple life with all those men, and there was also suddenly an element of paranormal and spookiness when her dead aunt was involved, with wind blowing delicately and Sophie wondering the whole time what she should do, and if her choices were right. To be honest, I couldn’t get what the book is about and where does it take us. All the men were dropped on us out of the blue and I haven’t seen where they were all coming from, and the most important question was for me WHY. I haven’t seen any collection, any relation between the sub – plots and I felt really very confused while reading.
This book remind me very much on Jemma Forte’s „If you’re Not the One”, where it was also all about choices, if our decisions are right or wrong, what if. But here Sophie didn’t have any accident, no, it’s her Aunt Flick who, from the nether world, is keeping her promise to look after Sophie and try to help her to find happiness. I seem to read books with a paranormal element to them a lot lately, and I am really thinking that either the author can do this or not, there is nothing in between. Sadly, in this book, the helping hand of Aunt Flick didn’t amuse me, it felt too pushy, too forced, too obvious. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the way Sophie was slowly discovering what kind of life is she looking for, what makes her happy and – finally – what she wants from life and in her life. But actually, can you ever be sure that your choices are really the right ones?
The book has for sure depth and a lot of feelings, and is written in a wonderful, calm, smooth and sublime way. While I may not agree with the four men, the whole affairs, swinging etc (I still am wondering why this, where did this all come from?), it all finally worked out neatly and it was wise, intelligent read that also makes you think. It’s for sure not a lightweight, sugary romance, but clever and sometime bitter story. Sadly, it seems I just didn’t get the book in the right way but am for sure going to read other novels by Terry Tyler.