When I saw that Susi Osborne had asked Rachel to organise a blog tour for Angelica Stone, I just had to be part of it. I really enjoyed this book – I called it “a dark and delicious surprise” – and it’s a real pleasure to share my review again. If you’d like to find out more about Susi, we had a lovely chat back in August of last year – you can catch up with it here – and I’m very much looking forward to meeting her properly at the Narberth Book Fair in September. Enjoy your tour, Susi!
Following years of sexual abuse, Angelica is brought up in care. As a teenager she absconds, living on the streets, before eventually being forced into prostitution to survive. She learns to rely solely on herself and is reluctant to allow anyone to get close to her, until she forms an unlikely bond with Lola. In contrast, Lola is from what appears to be a happy middle-class background – but all is not what it seems…
Slowly, as their friendship grows, cracks start to appear in Lola’s life, and a series of events leave her on the verge of ruin.
Can these women break the cycle of their lives? Or will they succumb to the path laid out before them?
Angelica Stone is an emotional rollercoaster of laughter and tears as the women embark on a journey of self-discovery, with the support of one another.
And here’s that review…
Ok, I’d read the description, and I was expecting “laughter and tears” – but this book was a dark and delicious surprise from beginning to end, and really not what I was expecting at all. There’s a wonderful lightness about the writing that immediately draws you in, as you laugh about Lola’s life with her amorous parents, laugh at her disastrous first date at Costa and Pizza Express, and sympathise with the daily drudgery of her life on the supermarket checkout. But things turn very dark and very quickly when she gets to know Angelica – as they quickly become supportive friends, Angelica’s life is the polar opposite of her own, and their closeness impacts on them both and everyone around them. The middle class gloss is just that, concealing dark depths – and the story twists off into directions you really won’t ever be expecting.
The characters are just wonderful – Lola and Angelica themselves, but I particularly loved geeky and awkward blind date Arthur, and parents Helen and Peter with their simmering passion and deep hidden secrets. The writing is so clever – if I say “quirky”, will I put anyone off? The light touch is maintained throughout, totally at odds with much of the subject matter – and that’s such a difficult balancing act to achieve. The story, at times, has a feel of a rather gruesome farce, but sometimes a quite unbearable darkness and nastiness – and still you find yourself smiling, while waiting for the next revelation, wiping away a tear and raging inside at the injustice of it all. The humour is just wonderful, laugh-out-loud at times – but the next shock is never very far away.
I loved this one – totally outside my personal comfort zone in so many ways, but refreshingly different, and so very well written.
It might not look as if it’s within your comfort zone either – but go on, give it a try!
With thanks to Susi and tour organiser Rachel’s Random Resources, I’m delighted to offer the chance to win a set of all 4 of her books – one winner, and UK only.
Here’s the rafflecopter for entry:
Terms and Conditions
UK entries welcome via the Rafflecopter box. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
About the author
Susi Osborne is the author of The Ripples of Life, Grace & Disgrace, Secrets, Lies & Butterflies and Angelica Stone. She lives in Cheshire with her Scottish husband, her actress daughter and their two mischievous little dogs. Susi also has an adult son and a grandson who live nearby. Amongst friends their house is known affectionately (she hopes!) as the Osborne madhouse, for obvious reasons.
Before she became a writer, Susi worked in libraries for many years. She also worked as a classroom assistant in a junior school. In addition to her writing Susi organises Northwich LitFest, which she has been running for the past seven years. Alongside the writing of her latest book, Angelica Stone, Susi has been raising money for Centrepoint, the charity for youth homelessness, and has set up a Just Giving Page for the charity in her name.
Susi is a firm believer in the fact that it’s never too late to do anything. ‘You only have one life – go out and grab it with both hands!’