Monday 15 October 2012

Review - The Lives She Left Behind by James Long

The Lives She Left Behind
Published by Quercus
27 September 2012

Book Blurb

In a Somerset village, a teenage boy confronts a teacher with a story he should know nothing about. The boy's impossible knowledge uncovers memories Michael Martin has done his utmost to forget - and soon propels him into danger. As Martin confronts his past once more, three girls arrive in the village of Pen Selwood, one of them drawn by an ancient instinct to find a man called Ferney. Her actions reignite a love story, an instinct that cannot be broken, irrespective of the hurt and danger it brings to those around them.

My Review

In The Lives She Left Behind, James Long has continued the story he began in Ferney and has brought up to date the story of star crossed lovers who transcend time. This sequel cleverly interweaves a modern day love story with the memory of past lives, whilst at the same time ties up the loose ends which were left hanging at the end of Ferney.

This sequel works on all levels, the narrative flows well and the energy of the story in reuniting Ferney and Gally seems more focused and purposeful. The pain of their togetherness is palpable and all consuming, and yet there is almost a sense of homecoming in this conclusion, which is made all the more poignant by the effect their relationship has on those around them. The use of cleverly constructed peripheral characters helps to move the story along, so that it becomes more of an observation about the consequences of relationships rather than a history lesson.

Whilst it is possible to read this book with no prior knowledge of Ferney, the author does an admirable job of explaining the whys and wherefores, in my opinion it is better to enjoy the story from the beginning. This sequel always needed to be written as the ending to Ferney left many questions unanswered, but now, for me, there is a real sense of completeness, as all the pieces of the puzzle finally slip into place.

5 *****

My thanks to Real Readers for the pleasure of reading an early copy of this book.

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