Friday, 12 June 2015

Book Review - Somewhere Only We Know by Erin Lawless

Amazon UK
Title: Somewhere Only We Know
Author: Erin Lawless
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Publication Date: 11th June 2015
Rating: 5 Stars

Boy meets girl…

Alex Bradley can't help but feel that life is rather passing him by. And not just life – promotions, invitations, romance; the girl he loves only has eyes for his flatmate and his 9-5 job as the Immigration department skivvy is slowly numbing his soul. Until he meets Nadia.

Girl meets boy…

Nadia Osipova is running out of time. With no money, no lawyer and a totally fictitious boyfriend, she’s got one last summer and one last appeal before the British government deport her back home.

Girl gets deported?

It's going to be a bumpy ride, one she's dragging her new friend Alex along for. As Nadia races through a list of all her favourite London adventures, for what may be the last time, Alex can’t help but start to see the city, and his life, through Nadia’s eyes.

From hazy summer days on the Common and heady nights in Soho’s basement bars, to twilight walks along the Southbank, will Alex realise what he’s got before it’s too late?

I really wasn't too sure what to expect from this book. I know a lot of people enjoyed Erin's first book, but I haven't read it yet, and then I saw the word immigration in the blurb. I was very worried this would be some sort of highly political book potentially with an asylum seeker (and not really my sort of read). I could not have been more wrong. 

This is actually a wonderful story about friendship. It just so happens that Alex, works in the immigration department, and remembered reading Nadia Osipova's letter, while applying for long term stay in the UK. 

And then at a pub quiz that his flatmate and flatmate's girlfriend dragged Alex along to, he meets Nadia in person. Suddenly he is faced with a real person and not just a piece of paper. And what a real person Nadia is. 

The whole book focuses around Nadia, who is Russian and been living in the UK since her early teens, having been sent to boarding school there. She is hoping against all hopes not to be deported, and the book takes us up right through to the appeal against the original decision. 

While awaiting her court date she gets to know Alex as a friend, and since Alex doesn't really do much apart from hate his job, and play video games, she insists he comes with her, as she fills in her bucket list of things she want's to do around London, or wants to do a final time, in case she has to say goodbye to her home. 

Alex is currently suffering from unrequited love of his flatmate, Rory's girlfriend Lila. Alex although cynical about Nadia's plan at first, soon starts to enjoy himself and find another side to his personality.

Somewhere Only We Know takes you to a London that isn't often seen, to a more hidden side of London, and as a North Londoner myself, the less often visited south of the river side of the capital. From some of the more obvious touristy things to do, to things completely off the beaten path, you discover parts of London, along with Nadia and Alex. 

SOWK alternates between Nadia and Alex's view points, and with that you get to know a lot about their friendships and flatmates. I loved seeing the friendship grow from both perspectives.

I found Somewhere Only We Know to be a fantastic story, and a book that kept me guessing right until the end. There were a few obvious possible endings, and the outcome was one I hadn't seen coming. Always like a surprise somewhere in a story. 

Although this book is published by Harper Impulse, a publisher that keen blog follower may have noticed I love, this book isn't really a romance like you often get. Yes there is some romance but what blew me away was the deepening emotional connection between Alex and Nadia. 

Thank you so much to Netgalley and Harper Impulse. This was my honest review. 

1 comment:

  1. And a fabulous review/opinion it is, Rachel. I think the intriguing premise would indeed make for an interesting read. Your review just confirmed it's definitely one worth reading. Thanks for sharing! :) xx


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