It might be too much of an in medias res introduction, but I feel like I should start this post with saying: this is the perfect November read. If you haven’t read it yet, please do! Why, should you ask. Well… Let’s see.
I got this book from the author, publisher and NetGalley, in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.
I was contacted by Faith Hogan on Twitter, and she kindly asked me if I’d be interested in being part of the blog tour of her newest book. We were following each other already, but so far I hadn’t read anything written by her. The book sounded a nice read, and she was very nice, too, so I agreed to request and download ‘What Happened to Us?’ from NetGalley and to be contacted by her publicist, Vicky. I thought I wouldn’t have much time, and this book wasn’t exactly the first on my TBR, so I asked for a late date in the tour, that’s why this is being published now in November – but I have to admit, when the weather got really autumny, and I was looking for something to read under the blanket, I couldn’t help reaching for this book, even though I had some that might have been more urgent.
And I wasn’t disappointed.
This book was the perfect autumnal read. Even under other circumstances it creates an atmosphere where you feel like you are actually curved under a blanket, drinking a hot tea and your pet is keeping you company. Even if you don’t have one.
Based on the description (on both book and author) I expected some kind of easy chick lit, but it really wasn’t, and thank god for that! This book has depth, it conducts real emotions, and it does it very realistically. I didn’t even for a moment feel like it was cheesy. It’s ‘feelgood’ not as in overly optimistic and shallow, but as in showing the beauty in this life.
I loved the characters! I always love a character-driven book, and here I felt like they were all actually alive. Carrie was a wonderful main character, not a stereotypical ‘strong female lead’ and not the equally clichéd damsel in distress. She could be any of us, and what’s the best about it is that the way this book tells about her, we are able to see how awesome she is. Kevin was not less great a character, he was a man we all know at least one (or many…) alike, and he was repeatedly stepping on my nerves, but that’s what was so amazing about him as a character. He was human, fallible, many times an arrogant ass, but then again, I could pity him, I could feel for him, and he felt painfully real. And don’t let me start on the sweet old neighbor, Jane, and the nice and handsome Luke who is so much more! And Teddy! I wanted to hug that doggy so much!
I could say that the story was somewhat a cliché (but honestly, what isn’t, at least a little bit), but to be honest, I didn’t feel like it while reading. With my head, yes, I know it, but it was all so realistically and beautifully executed that I didn’t really notice. It didn’t matter. There were also several storylines, and they all added up nicely in the end.
It was all sweet and warmed my heart.
Let’s Give It a Grade!
- Story: 4/5
- Characters: 5/5
- Style: 4/5
- The Subjective Factor: 5/5
- GPA: 4.5
First of all, I think I’ve read very few authors who had the ability to conduct this kind of pure emotion that puts a light on inside of you and doesn’t get too much, too sparkly, cheesy and over-dramatic at all. Second: really great characters!
You, if you want to feel like you want to have the emotional equivalent of a long and warm hug in readable form.
A huge mug of almost boiling black tea in between your paws. Now!
Maybe you can add a touch of rum to it. (People used to do that in the winter, so does my grandmother say… I haven’t actually tried it yet, but it sounds weather and atmosphere appropriate.)
Norah Jones, in every possible amount!
I want to read everything Faith Hogan has written! I want this purity of love in my life.
About the Author
Faith was born in Ireland and currently lives there with her husband, four children and two fussy cats. She gained an Honors Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate from University College, Galway. She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair- an international competition for emerging writers. When she’s not writing, she’s an enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger.
I’m almost the last stop at this tour, but please check out the others’ posts, too! There are wonderful reviews, and guest posts from Faith Hogan, too!!