It’s always a delight to discover an author who writes the kind of books I love to read. It’s a real pleasure to be joining the blog tour today for It’s Who We Are by Christine Webber, published on 16th January, and available in paperback and for kindle via Amazon in the UK and US. My thanks to Christine for providing my e-copy for review – but, had she not, this is a book I would have purchased for my kindle without a second’s hesitation. Just look at the book’s description…
Five friends in their fifties find themselves dealing with unforeseen upheaval as they uncover long-hidden and devastating family secrets. Meanwhile, the world around them seems to be spinning out of control.
The events of It’s Who We Are take place between October 2016 and June 2017, against a backdrop of all the political uncertainty and change in the UK, Europe and America.
The story is set in East Anglia, London and Ireland, and is about friendship, kindness and identity. Most importantly, it highlights how vital it is to reach for what enhances rather than depletes you.
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.
With thanks to Christine, I’m delighted to offer the chance to win a paperback copy of It’s Who We Are. Go on, let’s make it easy – just leave a comment below, and I’ll draw a name at noon on Wednesday (24th January). If we don’t already know each other, please be sure to include a twitter handle or other information that will enable me to contact you should you win. (Giveaway now closed…)
About the author
Christine Webber originally trained as an opera singer but had to re-think her career plans when her voice professor told her: ‘Your voice is OK, but your legs are very much better!’ Musical theatre beckoned. There was some success. But not much.
In 1979, she became a news presenter for Anglia TV. At last she had found something she enjoyed that other people thought she was good at. It was such a happy relief that she stayed for 12 years. Towards the end of that period, Century Hutchinson published her first novel, In Honour Bound.
After leaving Anglia Television, she trained as a psychotherapist and started a practice in Harley Street. Additionally, she became an agony aunt for various publications including TV Times, Best, BBC Parenting, The Scotsman, and Woman. She also regularly broadcast advice on Trisha, The Good Sex Guide …Late, and from the BBC’s Breakfast sofa.
Christine has written twelve non-fiction books including How to Mend a Broken Heart and Too Young to Get Old. She has also ghosted and consulted on several celebrity books. But her intention was always to return to writing fiction. In 2016, she published a novel about romance in mid-life called Who’d Have Thought It? Her latest, It’s Who We Are, was published on 16 January 2018.