I loved this. The quintet of main characters are all so cleverly drawn, all likeable, all believable and even the more subsidiary characters come off the page towards you. The settings, mainly Norwich, other parts of Norfolk, Ireland and London are sketched in so skilfully that you are right there. The plot is completely credible and the backdrop of our recent, turbulent political times sets the context perfectly for the tumultuous changes in the characters' lives. Some thought-provoking refelections on people's assumptions, prejudices and preconceptions about remainders and leavers are very skilfully included perfectly naturally within very credible dialogue. This is a book that is hard to put down, you want to follow the characters as they embrace new chapters in their lives.
What a wonderful book, I’m so glad I treated myself to the paperback, not the kindle version, because this one’s a keeper!!! At first, I struggled trying to work out the interconnecting lives... then I just relaxed and enjoyed how the author wove it all together into a beautiful, complex story that became richer and richer with the telling. I loved it.
Loved this book. It starts by building the reader’s awareness of the different characters individually and then starts to grow the varying relationships between them. Just when you have a reasonably comfortable grip on all of that the plot is turned on it’s head, building the suspense of what the possible outcomes are going to be for the new friends. I enjoyed reading this book from start to finish and would highly recommend it.
Christine Webber’s book: ‘It’s Who We Are’ chronicles the lives of five people in their fifties, who discover connections between them that change their lives forever.
It is a compelling, modern story set against the backdrop of Brexit and the US Presidential election, demonstrating that both personal and political change can have far reaching consequences. The five central characters all have successful professional careers, but each of them face crucial turning points in their lives as they have to make critical decisions about the future.
The story is characteristically told with great empathy, style and good humour, as friends and family members soon occupy key places in the dramatic changes that lay ahead. This book has many strengths not least great imagery, strong characterisation and a pace that guarantees an absorbing read.
There is nothing vague or remote about the characters in this story. They each have very definite personalities enabling the reader to engage and empathise with them. The story is made all the more enjoyable by references to music, restaurants, food and wine, which help set it in a social context. The relationships are expertly constructed using past meeting points to form current connections. The author has an appealing way with words, and there are many delightful phrases that capture the moment so well, including: ‘He produced her as if she was an assistant in a conjuring act’; ‘Ancient tortoises peering out of their shells’; ‘I would love to bottle this feeling’ and ‘Parenting, wanting to solve everything, but falling dismally short’.
Christine Webber writes with great clarity and puts equal emphasis on people, plot and places, so that the locations of London, Norfolk and Ireland become an integral part of the story. The book should have wide appeal, especially to those who can identify with the profound impact of having to make difficult, and life-changing decisions.
Questions we all ask ourselves and as we get older questions we cannot always answer. Christine Webber raises these issues in her new book It’s Who We Are.
Christine Webber writes in a very personal manner that brings the reader right into the lives of the characters, making you feel you are in the room with them. In this novel we meet five individuals who all are in their fifties and who all have come to a cross roads in life. In your twenties, you are mostly free to come and go as you wish, with a whole world of opportunities and possible adventures ahead of you. The decisions you make then are, in most cases, yours to make. We have choices at that age that are very much influenced by our education, our backgrounds and our desires. As we get older, the choices in life diminish as responsibilities become part of our daily lives. Marriage, children, elderly parents all impact how we move through our days. For many this is a relatively straight-forward path but for others, life can get very overwhelming and very complicated.
Christine Webber writes about what she knows. As a trained psychotherapist, she has a huge amount of knowledge and experience in the psyche of the over-50 and this is what makes her books quite unique.
It’s Who We Are focuses on the blossoming friendship that develops between five individuals. Michael, Julian, Philip, Araminta and Wendy are all on completely different journeys, yet their paths cross in the most unexpected manner as each has reached a point in life from which there is no return.
Michael is a Catholic priest of Irish descent who starts to question his faith.
Julian is going through a mid-life crisis of confidence in his voice as a singer and as an all round performer. In life and love he feels everything slipping away.
Philip is on the verge of making some life-changing decisions in his private life that will have repercussions across all he does. He too has an Irish connection with his very active elderly mother owning a very exclusive hotel in the West of Ireland.
Araminta is suffering the loss of some people very close to her and is struggling to move on with life, while also visiting her elderly father in a nursing home.
Wendy’s marriage is in difficulty, her sons have left the nest for other shores and her parents are moving on in age. Wendy, used to a very successful career, is finding all these changes somewhat of a struggle.
On top of all their personal issues, each is also dealing with the prospective fallout of Brexit. With this unsettling economic situation in mind, all have very important decisions to make
With the passage of time they also discover that there is a very unusual invisible thread connecting them all together.
Will all five embrace these changes and look upon them as something new, exciting and challenging or will their thoughts turn to the negative and find that life is now too shocking?
It’s Who We Are is a book where happiness and sadness sit side by side, where strangers become lovers, where passion is openly discussed among friends.
The story, though reflecting on many issues in today’s society, is also pure escapism. From the windswept shores of beautiful Inch Beach in Co. Kerry to the bustling city life of London, Christine Webber takes the reader on a whirlwind of an adventure.
Christine Webber tackles issues of identity and belonging, issues that are oft a struggle for both men and women in their fifties. She writes from the heart and this is very evident from the get-go. Christine’s voice shines through in her writing carrying a very personable appeal.
As an older reader, my heart did rather sing when I read “five friends in their fifties”, but I was equally drawn by the book’s themes of friendship, kindness and identity. And isn’t it lovely when a book not only lives up to your hopes and expectations, but exceeds them in so many ways?
The five characters at the book’s heart are immaculately drawn… the slightly privileged lives of some of them might not be so familiar, but their thoughts, their concerns and their feelings have an exceptional authenticity. These are people you inhabit – you live their lives with them, watch them making life decisions (applauding some, cringing at others), share their worries about family members old and young, watch marriages and relationships founder and form, rejoice for their good times and cry over the bad. The childhood background they share is a credible coincidence, the friendship and bond they find a total joy – I rather wished I came from Norwich too, and could be at a party where Julian (perhaps my favourite character) laughs heartily and takes to the piano singing songs by Cole Porter.
And then comes that “unforeseen upheaval”, a secret – and what a secret! – that draws them together and has the potential to blow them apart. And we watch them deal with it – these people that we’ve got to know so well, and have been through so much with – as the pages turn faster and the tension and uncertainty of their futures hangs in the balance. It makes for absolutely compelling reading – and the writing is really excellent.
I’ll admit that the book’s backdrop of Brexit fall-out and the advent of Trump had me a bit undecided at first – I like my reading to be an escape, and introducing real world fears and concerns did distract me from the story the first few times it happened. But I changed my mind on that one – the ramifications do drive part of the story, and it might have made the story less “real” had the characters not had an eye on the impact world developments might have on their lives. It was brave to include it – and it really does work.
Goodness, I so enjoyed this one – the maturity of the characters and the concerns we shared undoubtedly contributed to that, but this is a book that would be enjoyed whatever the age and experience of the reader. It was engrossing, full of love and warmth, joyful and up-lifting as the characters discovered those things that give their lives real meaning… do give it a try.
From the description of this book, I expected an easy, relatively predictable, enjoyable story that I could pick up and put down as and when I was in the mood. But IT'S WHO WE ARE by Christine Webber was more compelling and intriguing than I ever imagined and it never left my hand until I finished the final sentence (surviving the next day on four hours sleep was well worth it, trust me!).
The story centres around five main characters who are all in their late fifties and loosely linked together from their past. But as each character undergoes a drastic change in their lives, old friendships will reform, new friendships will blossom, and feelings of love and laughter will give them the strength they need to survive their trials and tribulations.
From affairs, an unplanned pregnancy, drastic career changes that will change so many lives, new love, and family illness, this story has it all. But let me tell you there will be plenty of shocking twists and turns along the way that will leave your mouth hanging open in surprise. With some beautiful scenery and a look at the changing political world and how it can affect your life on a daily basis, IT'S WHO WE ARE by Christine Webber is a story that really does have it all - drama, romance, secrets, tension, laughter, and friendship.
This was my first time reading Christine Webber but it definitely will not be my last. IT'S WHO WE ARE by Christine Webber is a stunning contemporary story about friendship, life, and how you are never too old to go after what you want. A truly wonderful read!!
As in her previous novel, Who'd Have Thought It, Christine Webber has produced a perfectly judged contemporary tale. The protagonists are in their fifties and linked to one another through friendship. All five of them are facing challenges some of which are age-related and some of which are simply related to what it means to be human regardless of age or stage. The various challenges which drive the plot include supporting adult children, coping with ageing parents, facing up to divorce, beginning new relationships, managing the demands of work and facing up to getting older. Bu the overriding theme is the one of relationships, of the ties that bind – familial, romantic and friendship and how they inform a person's identity. The five main characters are a great mix. They are realistically drawn and they're a diverse group but the reader cares about all of them. This is a story that deals with all of life – its joys, sorrows and imperfections. All in all it's a lovely satisfying read.
Although this has much in common with Who’d Have Thought It, fans of Christine Webber’s writing will find this a more serious proposition, albeit one that’s reluctant to let go of the feelgood factor that is the author’s trademark.
The novel follows five fifty-somethings (a category I now find myself in), all with links to Norfolk childhoods, who, in a year of political turmoil, also undergo tremendous personal upheaval. Without giving too much of the story away, just as the future begins to look more certain – and in some cases positively rosy - the contents of a secret diary threaten to destabilise plans. It is a clever twist, and one I didn’t see coming.
The book explores one of my favourite themes - identity. I particularly enjoyed the characterisation and the English and Irish settings. In fact, I find myself with a strong urge to visit Ireland.