Thursday, 4 April 2019

Book Review - Knowing You by Samantha Tonge

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Title: Knowing You
Author: Samantha Tonge
Format reviewed: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Publisher: Canelo
Publication Date: 14th March 2019
Rating: 5 Stars

An abrupt change; a new friendship; a dark secret...
 Kind-hearted Violet has never fitted in, but despite being bullied at school is now content. She is dating ambitious Lenny, has her dream job in publishing and runs a book club at the local retirement home.

However, when her relationship with Lenny begins to falter, Violet, hurt and alone, seeks the advice of her new flatmate, Bella. She changes her image and with her head held high aims to show that she doesn’t need Lenny in her life to be happy and successful.

Her long-term friends Kath and Farah worry about Bella’s influence and slowly Violet starts to distance herself from them. When she was a child, her closest confidant and companion was a boy called Flint. Her mother didn’t approve of their closeness and he suffered a terrible end. She won’t let the same thing happen to Bella, no matter what anyone says...

To me this is a book of two halves - the first half gives us a feel for what Violet is normally like, how her break up for Lenny is affecting her, and about her job in publishing. We get to meet her friends and there is a lot of talk about books which I l always like.   

Then the second half well from about 60% onwards I knew I couldn't put the book down, had no idea what was going on around me, as I was so utterly absorbed as everything seemed to move up a notch,  and some of the things I was wondering about became slightly more confirmed, but at the same time shocking me. 

Depending on your circumstances there are themes in this book that could be upsetting, but at the same time most likely will ring true for anyone going through the same things.  I am not going to mention that big themes of the book though as I have no intention of spoiling anything for anyone. 

In fact this is a hard book to review given to me all the best bits, the most impressive sections and the bits I'd love to shout about are all in the second half of the book, and work best if you have read it all,  so rest assured its absolutely fantastic, and had me completely and utterly gripped. 

The best comparison I have is to liken this to Amanda Prowse - in terms of really getting to grips with a tricky issue, writing about it in an accessible and sensitive way, making you really feel something for the characters involved,  If this is the direction that Samantha Tonge is moving in, and it certainly seems that way after the last two books, then I can only look forward to seeing what she tackles next, as this was really impressive. 

I loved the Violet worked in publishing, anything that gives me an insight as to how books are made / acquired etc.. always fascinates me, and I loved her friends at the retirement home book club that she runs have decided to set up a blog. 

All the lighter moments of the book were equally well described and I really felt as though I was getting to know Violet, her new flatmate Bella and all of her friends and colleagues really well. 

There were times where I really disliked Violet, she is someone who seems as though she is too easily led by others and seems to struggle to know her own mind.  At times I wanted to, knock some sense into her,, and at others just give her a hug as she seemed so inexperienced too. 

Interspersed with the present day story we get flashbacks of what life was like for Violet in 2001, when she was only 7. They added a lot of the book, and gave an idea of where some of Vi's personality traits evidently stemmed from. 

If like me you love reading women's fiction, but also quite like reading darker books too - then this new dark women's fiction genre  - and Knowing You in particular could be just what you are looking for.   I certainly glad that I read it. 

Thank you to Canelo and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily. 

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