REVIEW: The Familiars

“A man also or a woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones, their blood shall be upon them.”

Why Did I Read This Book?

OK, I have to admit, the main reason I bought this book was because it is absolutely beautiful. The cover gets more and more detailed and exquisite the closer you look at it. It was quite a hefty book too but I have to say when I saw it in the shop, I was drawn to it. When I read the blurb, I fell more in love as it is written about something that is very close to home. Literally. I love any history but I specifically enjoy local history, so when I read the blurb and found out that it was about the Pendle witch trials, I got a little too excited about reading it.

What Did I Think?

I really enjoyed the story and I absolutely loved the character of Fleetwood. She has experienced a lot of things by the time we meet her in The Familiars. From losing her father at a young age, to being married off young to an old man, to being divorced and married to another rich man at the age of 12, to suffering with miscarriage after miscarriage. My heart breaks for her and you can feel the disappointment in herself when talking about her experiences.  

When we meet her, she is yet again pregnant, and this time she’s determined more than ever to keep her and the baby alive. In those days, the ‘duty’ of a woman and a wife was to bear children and to produce an heir to keep the family name going. You can sense the importance of this from every character we meet, along with the despair of Fleetwood about not being able to fulfil her duty. 

The book has a nice pace, with short chapters and each revealing something new about one of the characters. In my notes I’ve asked myself whether I like Fleetwood’s husband, Richard. In some parts of the story I admire how much he evidently loves and adores his wife but in other parts, I find myself disliking him. He is often too quick to disapprove of Fleetwood’s actions, even though she is doing her best to keep her, her baby and her friends safe. 

We are introduced to a character called Alice later on in the book who helps Fleetwood back to health and gives Fleetwood the strength she needs to carry on. Yet you will have to decide for yourself whether she is a witch or not. 

Although The Familiars is a fictional story, the character of Alice was actually a real woman who was arrested and held in prison as a suspected witch. What I love most about this story is that it is not entirely centred around the witch hunts themselves. We only hear about recent progress in the hunts and trials through conversations with friends that visit Fleetwood. I thought that this was a nice added touch by Stacey Halls, as it makes us understand what the general thinking of the public was when it came to witches. I loved finding out that Alice was in fact a real person, making the factual history of this local story feel closer to home than ever before. 

I would highly recommend this book, it is a bit longer than I would have hoped for but Stacey Halls does a good job of keeping you interested. Her other book, The Foundling is out now and I for one cannot wait to read it. I’ve heard good things and bad. Some prefer The Foundling. Some people prefer The Familiars. I guess I’ll have to read it and let you know.

The Familiars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

REVIEW: American Dirt

“She sticks her hand through the fence and wiggles her fingers on the other side. Her fingers are in el norte. She spits through the fence. Only to leave a piece of herself there on American dirt.”

Why Did I Read This Book?

I chose to read American Dirt because I had been waiting for it to be delivered for as long as I can remember (I think I ordered the book at the end of February). And when it arrived, it was even more beautiful than I imagined. It’s one of these new floppy hardbacks? I don’t know if you have any on your shelves but they are just gorgeous to hold and read so yeah, it had to be my next read. 

What Did I Think?

First of all, I want to address the controversy surrounding this book. I hadn’t realised how split public opinion is of this book until tweeting about it being my current read and receiving an influx of people telling me that they either loved it or hated it. I couldn’t understand why people felt so strongly towards it. 

So I read the book, waiting for something hugely controversial to slap me right in the face, and it just didn’t happen. The book is beautifully paced; the chapters are short and there’s always some sort of cliffhanger that leads you on to the next, the characters develop just right so the book doesn’t progress too quickly or too slowly, and lastly, I think the story is wonderful and Jeanine Cummins does a brilliant job of highlighting the dangers and sacrifices that migrants endure on their journeys to ‘freedom’. I think the ending was really touching in the way it highlighted that their lives were still in danger. 

“That these people would leave their homes, their cultures, their families, even their languages, and venture into tremendous peril, risking their very lives, all for the chance to get to the dream of some faraway country that doesn’t even want them.”

So I was astonished to find out that the controversy about this book is due to the fact that it is written by a white woman, who is also not Mexican. OK. I understand it from both points of view. I understand that yes, Jeanine Cummins is not Mexican, and the way she portrays Mexico could be understood to be nothing but murder, drugs and gang violence. That the way she portrays life in Mexico is exactly that of the stereotypes associated with the country. And yes personally, being white myself, I would probably not set out to write a book about a black person living in London because I do not have personal experience of either and would therefore in my opinion, not portray the characters correctly. This is where the problem lies.

Yet, Jeanine Cummins in her author’s note at the end of the book draws upon the fact that she is white and that some people discouraged her to write this book because she apparently has no idea what she is talking about. She goes on to say that she spent endless days, months, years formulating her research for this book, spending time on the Mexico/US border, talking to families, citizens, and migrants on their experiences. So she didn’t just wake up one day and write American Dirt from the preconceptions in her head. She took the time to do the research and listen to people’s harrowing stories, in the hope that she could help retell their stories for all to hear. 

I think she does a marvelous job in creating an encapsulating story that gives voice to those that are so often silenced by ludicrous xenophobic stereotypes and news stories. Would people find the same story to be more believable if the author was black or from Mexican heritage? Probably, and that just simply blows my mind. 

Rant over, if you’re still here, thanks for listening haha! Seriously though, interesting read and one you should definitely check out! 

“Though they all come from different places and different circumstances, some urban, some rural, some middle-class, some poor, some well educated, some illiterate, Salvadoran, Honduran, Guatemalan, Mexican, Indian, each of them carries some story of suffering on top of that train and into el norte beyond.”

American Dirt

Rating: 3 out of 5.

REVIEW: Blood Orange

“And the final cut, the orange you have laid out on a plate. You pick up the knife, a sharp one, with a wooden handle, a steel-dappled blade, and you push it into the fruit. A half, a quarter. An eighth. The peel orange, the pitch white, the flesh bleeding out to red at the edges, a sunset spectrum. These are all the textures you need.”

Why Did I Read This?

This was the April book for Beth’s Book Club. I chose to read this later on towards the end of the month as our discussion was last Sunday, but I was so excited to tick this one off my list. Everyone had been posting their thoughts when they finished the book, so my excitement just rose higher and higher as the month went on.

What Did I Think?

This book is classed a thriller, and we discussed in the book club meeting whether we were ‘thrilled’ by this book. I guess I was? To be honest, I spent the majority of the book wanting to find out what was going on, hence why I managed to finish this in just over a day. 

There are two stories at play and I found it hard to understand which was the main story. Is it the murder trail that our narrator Alison has been trusted to work on? Or is it Alison’s story and her relationships? If it is the latter, I don’t know if the murder trial had any relevance to the story. I didn’t feel like it added anything to Alison’s character perhaps until the very end.

I’m sounding really critical about this book but I promise you I did enjoy it. It’s one that keeps you reading on, as the chapters are short and something is revealed at the end of nearly every one. Of course, this just leaves you wanting more and more, so as far as thrillers are concerned, Blood Orange has all the right ingredients. 

Once I finished this book, I was straight on my phone to text my best friend and tell her what I thought. She had already read this book and was impatiently waiting for my verdict. She told me that this book was unique in the fact that she disliked all the main characters and yet loved the story. And I felt exactly the same. I disliked Alison, our narrator, all the way through, perhaps only warming to her towards the end. She seemed to surround herself with controlling and manipulative men and that just didn’t wash with me. 

Harriet Tyce really explores some really intense discussions surrounding domestic and emotional abuse, love, family and adultery. I think I did feel sorry for some of the characters as different events took place, but then I was back to disliking them when they, by their own accord, made matters worse for themselves. It was a mental battle! 

All in all, I did enjoy this book and the twist at the end is incredible. Yet I’m wary of the fact that perhaps the only reason I enjoyed this book is because the ending had such a shocking impact; that all I can remember when I look back on this is the ending. Am I being too critical here, maybe, I’ll leave that one for you to decide on your own. 

Oh, and when you do finish this book…don’t forget to re-read the prologue. It will all make sense then.

Blood Orange

Rating: 3 out of 5.

REVIEW: My Mummy Is A Monster

“My mummy is a monster that no one can see,

And nobody knows but my brother and me,

I told Dad, but he already knew,

So now we think maybe our Dad is one too!”

Why Did I Read This Book?

I was approached by the fabulous author of this book, Natalie Reeves Billing, to see if I would like a sneak preview. I was delighted to be given the opportunity and let’s be honest, who doesn’t love an illustrated children’s book from time to time.

What Did I Think?

My Mummy Is A Monster is the first book in the Monstrous Me collection and if the ones to come are as good as this one, I think I may have my new favourite children’s series. 

The first part of the book focuses on the children who believe that their mummy is a monster because of all the ‘horrible’ things she makes them do. You know the usual things we hated as a child, such as brushing our hair, walking ANYWHERE and having to take a bath. We follow the children on a typical day and get to see exactly why they think their mummy is a monster.

Yet, perhaps what I love most about this book, is the second part. We now see the mummy and why she thinks her children are monsters! We see her struggle through a normal day, listening to the children moan at anything she asks them to do. This back-to-back child and parent perspective allows us to understand both sides of the story.

I really loved this book and the illustrations are just fantastic. I think Natalie Reeves Billing is so clever in creating such a unique book that shows there’s always two sides to a story.

It is available to buy on Amazon from May 5th and is one that surely every family in lockdown needs right now. There’s also a little interactive game you can play whilst reading to keep your own little monsters at bay.

My Mummy Is A Monster

Rating: 5 out of 5.

REVIEW: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

“Never let anyone make you feel ordinary.”

Why Did I Read This Book?

When I asked Bookstagram to choose my next read, this book came out first with an overwhelming majority. It seems that the world is loving this book at the moment and I can see why. I also chose to buy this book because after falling in love with Daisy Jones & The Six, and therefore Taylor Jenkins Reid, I had to see what her other books were like.

What Did I Think?

I don’t know what I expected from this book. I guess I expected the same kind of format as Daisy Jones. With this book, there are two stories taking place. We obviously have the narrative of Evelyn Hugo, but we also have the narrative of the girl who is interviewing Evelyn, Monique Grant. Her story is not as developed as I would probably like, but we do learn some vital things about her and her background does provide the setting for why Evelyn must tell her story.

When I was writing my notes for this, I asked myself a number of times whether I liked the character of Evelyn, and I have to say that my opinion changed multiple times. Sometimes I loved her boldness and how she built herself up from nothing; how she escaped an abusive father and a life of hardship. She was fierce and simply took life by the balls (as she would say), never taking no for an answer. I admire anyone, especially any woman, who stands up to the world and says ‘OK, you want a piece of me? Come and get it.’

“When you’re given an opportunity to change your life, be ready to do whatever it takes to make it happen. The world doesn’t give things, you take things.”

Yet, there were times where I thought Evelyn was very weak and as I held the book in my hands, my blood was boiling at how stupid she was in some situations. Her life revolved around scandal and marriage, apathetically using people to get exactly what she wanted. And she played the system well, there’s no doubt about that. But in doing so, she lost so much vital time with the people she really truly loved because of her stubbornness and society’s expectations of her. 

Homosexuality is discussed a number of times throughout the book and it is interesting to read the lengths that people would go to, to ensure their true sexuality stays perfectly hidden. With Evelyn’s story based on the glitz and glamour of Hollywood from the 1950’s to the present day, it is interesting to read about society’s and the press’ portrayal of homosexuality. Most people knew who was gay in the industry, but would either keep it to themselves (in fear that the dark secrets they were inevitably keeping themselves would be exposed) or would use them as a way of manipulating anyone they wanted. With homosexual relationships only being made legal in recent times, it is no wonder that these characters did ANYTHING to hide their true selves in order to keep their fame.

“People think that intimacy is about sex. But intimacy is about truth. When you realise you can tell someone your truth, when you can show yourself to them, when you stand in front of them bare and their response is ‘you’re safe with me’- that’s intimacy.”

With seven marriages, you would think that Evelyn was an expert on love and relationships. And maybe even heartbreak. I think my favourite husband has to be either Harry or Rex because these were relationships that allowed Evelyn to be who she truly was. Love is obviously a defining theme in this book and yet again, Taylor Jenkins Reid offers some beautiful text surrounding love and how it can be explained.

“Please never forget that the sun rises and sets with your smile. At least to me it does. You’re the only thing on this planet worth worshipping.”

There is a great twist at the end of the book too. I expected that there was something the book was leading up to but I didn’t expect the twist, which is always a great feeling. I always love it when you have no clue how the book will end.

Credit to Taylor Jenkins Reid again for creating yet another masterpiece. I really enjoyed this book and Jenkins Reid is slowly but surely becoming one of my favourite authors. If you were a fan of Daisy Jones & The Six you will undoubtedly love this book too.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

Rating: 4 out of 5.

REVIEW: Once Upon A River

“A river no more begins at its source than a story begins with the first page.”

Why Did I Read This Book?

I had heard about this Sunday Times Bestseller being a truly magical book that combined Gothic elements and fantasy within its historical and mystical setting. So when I heard it was everything I love in one beautiful book, how could I not want to immerse myself in its pages. My amazing boyfriend, who I haven’t seen for nearly six weeks now, surprised me by buying the eBook for me from my Amazon wish list. I will never stop loving that boy.

What Did I Think?

Firstly, let me just say that I have not read a book like this one before. Ever. Diane Setterfield deserves more recognition than I could ever give her alone. This masterpiece could make those who had never dreamt of writing before, want to pick up a pen or open a new Word document and begin. Why, you may ask. Because I have honestly never experienced storytelling like this before. Diane Setterfield does a beautiful job of setting the scene and by doing so, she makes you feel like you’ve just tucked yourself in to be told a great secret. The secret of the river and the power of the stories it holds. 

The opening chapter had me hooked from the start and the fact that it could be based on the river Thames makes it even more closer to home. The overall story, without ruining it for you, is that a little girl is pulled from the river banks and she could belong to any one of the three families who have recently lost their little girl. The mystery of her appearance uncovers the secrets held by the community surrounding the river and the discovery leaves you holding the book closer to you, afraid of missing a single moment.

I’m struggling to put this book into a specific genre as it has elements of Gothic, fantasy and historical fiction running through it and to put it in a category would be to take away its magic. What I can say is that it reminds me of folklore. One that perhaps is heard by many who journey up and down the river. 

“There are stories that may be told aloud, and stories that must be told in whispers, and there are stories that are never told at all.”

Diane Setterfield also plays upon this folklore theme by writing perfectly about the power of storytelling and how stories develop from the very first telling to the most recent. There are some compelling quotes in this book, that once you’ve read them, you just have to take a moment and think, wow…what a sentence!

“For one thing, the river that flows ever onwards is also seeping sideways, irrigating the fields and land to one side and the other. It finds its way into wells and is drawn up to launder petticoats and be boiled for tea. It is sucked into root membranes, travels up cell by cell to the surface, is held in the leaves of watercress”

I would say that even though I was hooked from the start and that the story is magnificent, I would not particularly class this read as a ‘page-turner’. The chapters are longer than I would normally like and it does take a while for things to begin to unfold. However, don’t let that stop you from delving into this book. It may not be a ‘page-turner’ but something else keeps you reading on. Something truly spell-binding. I’ll let you experience that one for yourself. 

I do get quite sad when I finish magical books like this one. I felt like I went on a real journey with this book and as I was reading it, I was transported onto the very banks of the river, watching events unfold and helping to solve the mystery. It truly was an amazing experience and one I shall never forget. It deserves every single star I give it. And more. 

“And now, dear reader, the story is over. It is time for you to cross the bridge once more and return to the world you came from. This river, which is and is not the Thames, must continue flowing without you. You have haunted here long enough, and besides, you surely have rivers of your own to attend to?”

Once Upon A River

Rating: 5 out of 5.

REVIEW: This Is Going To Hurt

“So I told them the truth: the hours are terrible, the pay is terrible, the conditions are terrible; you’re underappreciated, unsupported, disrespected and frequently physically endangered. But there’s no better job in the world.”

Why Did I Read This Book?

It has been a while since I last read some non-fiction. I can hardly think of the last non-fiction book I read. I was gifted this by my lovely friend as part of a quarantine book swap we did. We packed up some of our old reads that we no longer wanted and swapped bags at the end of my drive, following the lockdown rules of course. I decided to pick this one to read because I have seen it EVERYWHERE since it came out and I never knew that it was about a junior doctor in the NHS. I suppose what better time to read about the heroes of this country whilst during a global pandemic.

What Did I Think?

This book definitely wasn’t what I was expecting it to be. I thought it would be more personal to the author himself rather than focusing on the individual stories of patients but now that I’ve read it, I love that it was about the patients that he saw and all their different problems and complications. We don’t hear a lot about his personal life, other than that his relationship with his girlfriend at the time was undoubtedly suffering due to the long hours and the unexpected 16-hour shifts. 

It makes me think about everything that NHS staff have to sacrifice to save the lives of others. Relationships, memories, all that fun stuff that you do in your 20’s was put on hold by the author and junior doctor, Adam, because his job needed him more. 

It’s not all doom and gloom though I suppose. There are stories in this book that are ultimately heartbreaking and truly shocking but there are also pretty funny stories too. It amazes me that there are some fairly ridiculous people out there. One particular story that stands out to me is the removal of a Kinder Egg from somewhere it DEFINITELY should not have been – not the kind of Kinder surprise anyone wants and especially not after a long 14-hour shift.

“I notice that every patient on the ward has a pulse of 60 recorded in their observation chart so I surreptitiously inspect the healthcare assistant’s measurement technique. He feels the patient’s pulse, looks at his watch and meticulously counts the number of seconds per minute.”

There are also stories within this book that have obviously stemmed from people searching their symptoms, finding little but compelling evidence that it could be the worst-case scenario and voluntarily admitting themselves into hospital to demand urgent medical care. C’mon, we’ve all been there haven’t we? There’s been countless times where I’ve googled my own symptoms and been like yeah, that’s it…the end is near and then just realised that I haven’t drank a single drop of water for three days. Stupid, I know but I still continue to do it don’t I! 

However, back to more serious matters…right now, more than ever we are thankful for the NHS and the vital work that the front-line staff are doing every day to cure those with this uncertain illness and to help prevent the spread. These people are heroes. They are giving up their time and putting themselves at risk to ensure that the nation is looked after. I think reading this book really opens your eyes to the amount of hard work these doctors, nurses, paramedics and all hospital staff do and how the NHS just about ‘gets by’ simply because the staff are willing to sacrifice their lives for the health of others. Let us never forget what everyone in the NHS is doing for the UK right now, because without it, things could be a hell of a lot worse. 

Stay at home. Save Lives. Protect the NHS. 

This Is Going To Hurt

Rating: 4 out of 5.

REVIEW: The Cactus

“But, these days, fairy-tale endings come in all shapes and sizes. It’s okay for the princess to end up with the prince, it’s okay for her to end up with the footman, it’s okay for her to end up on her own. It’s also okay for her to end up with another princess, or with six cats, or to decide she wants to be a prince. None of those make her any more or less a feminist.”

Why Did I Read This Book?

Similar to The Flatshare, this was a book I read because it was Beth’s Book Club’s bonus book for March. I had seen it floating around Instagram but personally I didn’t think it was my kind of book. A few of my friends who are part of the book club were raving about it and I thought…ah well, why not ey!

What Did I Think?

I enjoyed this book because I warmed to the narrator and her story straight away. I managed to fly through this one but I know that others had difficulty warming up to her and her personality. This book has a strong ‘Eleanor Oliphant’ vibe, as I would say that Susan’s behaviours are very similar to those of Eleanor. That is perhaps why I adored the character of Susan so much. 

I loved how people during the book club discussion were referring to the main character, Susan, as ‘prickly’ because it coincides brilliantly with the title of the book, and I can 100% see what they mean. Susan likes things done a particular way and everything is set in stone. She doesn’t really enjoy interacting with other people and keeps herself to herself. That’s how she likes it and that’s how she has got by for years without any problems.

“If it wasn’t for the fact that I have colleagues, office life would be bearable.”

Yet she falls pregnant unexpectedly and this really puts a spanner in the works for our Susan, who has only ever had to look after herself. As the pregnancy and the book progresses, we gradually learn more about our narrator’s history and this slowly begins to provide clarity on why she behaves like she does. I think the way that the author, Sarah Haywood, introduces Susan’s background through little memories is a really great way of developing both the character and the story and by the end, I was totally in awe. 

Family is a theme that runs throughout the book and is one that is explored through many different relationships. I love how we have so many examples of different families running through this book and I think that’s what makes this book just that extra bit more special.

Susan has an unbearable younger brother. I mean, I thought I had the most annoying younger brother in the world but it turns out there are worse out there. Her relationship with her brother is tarnished from the start and as events transpire, we go on a journey with our narrator to learn about the secrets of their family’s history.

I really did enjoy this book and even more so because I got to discuss it with other readers and book fanatics over at Beth’s Book Club. If you haven’t checked it out yet, I would wholeheartedly recommend doing so as it is a fantastic community of book lovers.

The Cactus

Rating: 3 out of 5.

REVIEW: Blood & Sugar

“London in 1781 is a ravenous behemoth, swallowing forest and field, outlying villages, entire towns. Five miles to the east, on the banks of the river Thames, lies Deptford; gateway port to the distant oceans and untold riches. A town where fortunes in sugar and slaves are made and lost, thieves and prostitutes roam the streets by night, and sailors lose themselves in drink, trying to forget the things they did and saw upon the Middle Passage.”

Why Did I Read This Book?

I had heard about this book from a friend who, like me, is a history fanatic. I love historical fiction novels and I was really intrigued by this book as it is set in Deptford Docks; the home of London’s dark slave history. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that actually goes into detail about London’s role in the slave trade. We all learn about slavery during our time in education, but this book certainly rewrites London importance in the inhumane trade.

What Did I Think?

First of all, I don’t think this book would have been half as good if Laura Shepherd Robinson (LSR) hadn’t have done all the tireless research into the gruesome history of the Deptford Docks. She said that she spent many endless days in the Museum of London Docklands (somewhere definitely on my list to go to once this whole lockdown is over) and that is probably why her debut novel Blood & Sugar is so enthralling. 

The book starts with the murder of pro-abolitionist Thaddeus Archer. His friend and narrator, Captain Harry Corsham, sets off to unveil his murderer and the secrets of Deptford Docks. This historical fiction crime thriller (all of my favourite things combined into one) had me hooked on every page and my opinion on who the murderer was changed with every chapter. I guess that was why I was so hooked.

I hadn’t known before reading this book that Deptford was one of the key ports for the Atlantic slave trade and LSR does a fantastic job of depicting slavery as it was understood in those times; a vital trade. There were only a few known abolitionists back then and they were very much considered ‘extremists’ by society. Perhaps understandable then why all the pro-abolitionists in this story are treated so badly.

I think what is even more important is that LSR gives 18th century black Londoners a voice in this book and highlights their role in society, especially those considered to be ‘free’. The historical note at the back of the book really sheds light on the context of the tale and some of the underlying stories featured inside its pages. One story that runs alongside the murder mystery is the tale about three hundred slaves tragically murdered on a ship called The Dark Angel during its journey across the Middle Passage. It was a really shocking story and one I found hard to read. But it was in fact based on a true story that should never be forgotten. LSR talks about the fact that one of the greatest achievements of the abolitionist movement was the act of publicising slave horror stories like these to shock the British public and to make them aware of the barbarity behind the trade.

“If this were a different, better world, then the murder of Thaddeus Archer might have changed history…yet as Caro says, this is the world we live in…still less give any thought to the three hundred and six African men, women and children who were murdered aboard The Dark Angel.”

The ending. Well I’m not sure if I liked it or not. Some days I’m like yes, I get why LSR did that but then other days I’m like no, I wish it wasn’t who it was. I’ll leave you to decide on what you thought, but I don’t know if I agree with who she decided to go with. 

All in all, I really enjoyed this book and it differed from the historical fiction I have read before. I love how the author depicted the scenery. The way she writes about Deptford in 1781 is honestly so gruesome and encapsulating, next time I’m down in London, I’ll definitely be able to picture what it was like. Credit to LSR on creating a thrilling read and proving why we should never forget our gory history.

“The fog hung thick and low over the Thames. It rolled in off the water and along the quays, filling the squalid courts and dockside alleys of lower Deptford. The local name for a fog like this is the Devil’s Breath. It stank of the river’s foul miasma.”

Blood & Sugar

Rating: 4 out of 5.

REVIEW: Daisy Jones & The Six

“Music is never about music. If it was, we’d be writing songs about guitars. But we don’t. We write songs about women.”

Why Did I Read This Book?

I hate to admit it but the reason I pick the majority of books I read is because I want to see what all the hype is about. I’ve seen Daisy Jones & The Six floating around my social media feeds, so when I found this gorgeous copy in my local supermarket, I just had to have it.

What Did I Think?

Earlier this year I read a book called Queenie and I thought it the best book I had read in a long time. Yet nothing prepared me for how much I would fall in love with this book and every single one of its characters. I was so heartbroken to find out that they aren’t a real band because I tell you what, if they were, after this whole coronavirus lockdown is over, the first thing I would do would be to fly to America and buy a ticket to watch this band live. 

I got real Fleetwood Mac/Stevie Nicks/Florence Welch/A Star Is Born vibes from this book and it was so beautifully written, how could I not fall in love with it. The song that Daisy and Billy sing together reminds me so much of the song that Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper sing in A Star Is Born. We all know the one…

What made this book so unique is that when you’re reading it, you feel like you’re watching a documentary on how the band rose to fame, with all the characters getting their own say on events that happened. I like how every character remembers things slightly different to each other, making you giggle when you read each account. 

I want to be Daisy Jones. There I said it. The way she is depicted in the novel is so enchanting, no wonder everyone loved her. I love how everyone who meets her is completely astonished by her natural raw talent. I love her dress sense and I can really get behind the whole ‘no bra’ thing too.

“I had absolutely no interest in being somebody else’s muse. I am not a muse. I am the somebody. End of fucking story.”

Yet she has to fight for the right to be seen and heard. When she gets her first record deal she has to sing the songs they want her to sing, behave how they want her to behave and dress how they tell her. Could you imagine? Being so unique and beautiful in your own way and then having to change all of that just to get your music seen and heard by the public? 

What is so harrowing about Daisy’s story is that it is tainted by her drug and alcohol addiction. Yeah OK, it was that time when everyone who was everyone was doing drugs, even more so if you are in a successful band, but no one really tries to help Daisy. Their manager is often questioning whether he should have done more to help her, but I guess she had to make that decision on her own. I felt sorry for her. It broke my heart that she came from a family that couldn’t give a shit about her, and she just dated and slept with men who she didn’t love because she didn’t know anything else. Perhaps Daisy’s story is the most upsetting out of them all and is testament to the fact that fame is not everything. 

Love is a well-discussed topic throughout the book and Taylor Jenkins Reid offers some really honest and genuine dialogues regarding the different experiences of love that each character goes through. Some definitely resonated with me, whereas some definitely emphasised how each character felt. 

“I used to think soul mates were two of the same. I used to think I was supposed to look for somebody that was like me. I don’t believe in soul mates anymore and I’m not looking for anything. But if I did believe in them, I’d believe your soul mate was somebody who had all the things you didn’t, that needed all the things you had. Not somebody who’s suffering from the same stuff you are.”

I couldn’t believe that this band wasn’t real and when I found this out, all I could think about was how much hard work, dedication and sleepless nights must have gone into the making of this book. Obviously writing a novel is never going to be easy and I celebrate ANYONE who does, but to write a book the way Daisy Jones & The Six is written and to make us believe that this band is so real, Taylor Jenkins Reid must be so, so proud of the work of art she has produced. 

I loved this book with all my heart and to be honest, not a day goes by since reading this where I don’t think about the story and the characters. I can no longer listen to Fleetwood Mac without picturing this band. And the fact that the song lyrics to all their songs are at the back of the book, it just adds the icing to the top of the cake!

Thank you, Taylor Jenkins Reid. 

“I wish someone had told me that love isn’t torture. Because I thought love was this thing that was supposed to tear you in two and leave you heartbroken and make your heart race in the worst way. I thought love was bombs and tears and blood. I did not know that it was supposed to make you lighter, not heavier. I didn’t know it was supposed to take only the kind of work that makes you softer. I thought love was war. I didn’t know it was supposed to… I didn’t know it was supposed to be peace.”