Giselle Green’s books have sat – unread – on my bookshelves for far too long. They really looked like “my kind of book”, but there’s always the next new book, the need to review with publication dates, the desire to review the next new one before anyone else. So when Giselle approached me offering a free review copy of her new book Finding You – and told me it would add to my enjoyment if I read Little Miracles first – I decided it was time, at long last, to give her books a try.
I started with Little Miracles. Julia, Charlie and young son Hadyn visit Charlie’s family in Spain, but their visit is overshadowed by the demands of Charlie’s work, the expectations of the family about their forthcoming wedding, and a secret that Julia has never got round to sharing. After a family argument, Julia takes Hadyn to the beach, despite the approach of a storm – in the ensuing chaos, Hadyn disappears. While all the signs indicate that Hadyn is dead, Julia refuses to believe it and begins an obsessive search for his possible abductors. Although he feels the loss every bit as keenly, Charlie turns to work to fill the void. It really seems that Julia is simply having difficulty coming to terms with Hadyn’s death, and their relationship inevitably suffers.
I rarely like first person narrative – this story is told in alternating chapters from the perspectives of Julia and Charlie – but in this instance it really works. The book isn’t fast paced, and its strength is in the way it gets under the skin of the two main characters, with their complex thoughts and feelings. There are times when their pain is almost too much to bear – the writing is excellent in the way it explores their emotions.
The ending is a little ambiguous. This book was originally published in 2009, and reviews at the time make it clear that it coloured people’s reactions to the book as a whole. I can fully understand that – I felt the same, so I was glad I could then go on to read Finding You which is billed as a “standalone sequel”.
I must say that I think I might have struggled a little with this one had I not started with Little Miracles. I just think I would have missed out on the emotional complexity of the characters that is explored so thoroughly in the earlier book, along with the little details about the context of Charlie’s work and relationships and Julia’s unconventional upbringing.
It’s no secret that Hadyn is now home – Julia and Charlie are keen to put what happened behind them, and move on with their lives. But it soon becomes plain that all is not well – it seems that Hadyn has been changed by the abduction, and his behaviour causes major problems. Julia and Charlie can’t agree on either the cause or how it needs to be addressed, and again their relationship reaches breaking point, not helped by a guilty secret and the intervention of an ex-lover.
Again, this book is told from the viewpoints of Julia and Charlie in the first person – as well as exploring their emotions, this time it also helps to understand how easily the misunderstandings can happen when the reader can see it from both sides. And the writing – and, as a result, the reading – is effortless, although the emotions can be difficult to handle.
I notice that Finding Youis currently #1 in Amazon’s Parenting Emotions and Feelings chart. I never knew such a thing existed – but if anyone was looking to classify these books. I reckon that’s about right. I enjoyed discovering Giselle’s writing, something a little different, a sensitively handled family drama with finely drawn emotional depth, with an excellent story at its heart.
My thanks to the author for my e-copy of Finding You: Little Miracles was already on my Kindle shelf, purchased through Amazon.
Born in Chiswick, Giselle Green was brought up in Gibraltar where she has extensive family. She returned to the UK to study Biology at King’s College London, followed by an MSc in Information Science at the City University. She is also a qualified Astrologer, with a particular interest in medieval astrology.
Her debut novel Pandora’s Box won the Romantic Novelists’ Association New Writer’s Award in 2008. Her third novel, A Sister’s Gift achieved best-selling number one slot on Amazon kindle in 2012.
Giselle lives in Kent with her husband and their six sons.