I have always enjoyed Shari Low’s books so we really pleased to be asked to take part in the blogtour for her latest book This Is Me. This is the story of a mother and daughter, the different decisions they took for their families and the effect this had on their lives.
Denise is the mother and she is absolutely devoted to her husband Ray. She seemed so blinkered to his many faults which are evident to the reader. Quite often I was reading almost in disbelief. The couple had two children while they were very young and while they weren’t physically neglected, they certainly didn’t get the emotional attention they should have. For Denise, Ray always came first. After his sudden death she is devastated not only because of her loss, but because she begins to uncover a side of Ray she didn’t know and to realise just how little she has in life.
Claire is their daughter who, along with her brother Doug, over the years came to distance herself from her parents. She was determined to be the complete opposite to her parents and she put her children first to the detriment of her marriage. She was a totally clingy mother and although her sons clearly loved her, I wasn’t surprised that they both chose to leave home at relatively early ages. That kind of love must have been quite smothering.
I could to a certain extent understand Claire’s actions although when she had lovely Sam as a patient husband, I was thinking that she also was a bit blinkered as to what she had. As a mother myself, I just could not understand Denise, though did feel a bit sorry for her when Ray died and she had nothing left. Both women found themselves alone with, as they saw it, their reason and purpose for living now gone. Thankfully, Claire had some fantastic friends – three cheers for friends! I was so pleased that she had these caring people to help her and show her that she was important and valued as herself, not just as a mother.
It was great to see some characters from the author’s previous books appear although this is not a sequel. I am always pleased to see the irrepressible pair that is Val and Josie. I’m not sure if Shari Low has written a book entirely about them, I must check. But if not, it would be great to read their stories. They are always a great laugh. Despite some of the sad circumstances of this book, there is a lot of humour in this story as there usually is in a Shari Low book.
The story flicks back and forward in time telling Denise and Claire’s stories and moving in a very natural way from past to present, linking events and characters. We see two women adjusting to life events as many people have to. For me, this book was about recognising priorities but also taking time to value yourself. It was very thought provoking as I considered whether either of the women were right in their decisions about their families? I think you can guess my response to that question! It perhaps took me a little longer to get into that some of the author’s previous books, took a while to get to know the characters but I am glad that I read on as it is quite a fascinating portrayal of the different choices women can make and the consequences these decisions can have.
My thanks to Vicky Joss for inviting me to take part in the blogtour and for my review copy of the book. This Is Me is available now and you can order your copy from the following places:
Amazon: https://amzn.to/2VoQlEh (only 98p at the time of writing)
Google Play: http://bit.ly/2IDfCJj
From the back of the book
This is… Denise.
Married to Ray, her first and only love, Denise has never for one moment regretted putting the husband she idolised on a pedestal above everyone and everything else. But, after forty years of marriage, he is gone, leaving Denise to discover that their perfect marriage was fatally flawed. Now she faces a future alone, but first she must face the betrayals of the past.
This is… Claire.
The estranged daughter of Denise, the woman who put her husband before her children, Claire took the opposite path and devoted her life to raising her her family, sacrificing her marriage along the way. With her teenage sons about to flee the nest, she realises she may have left it too late to find her own happy ever after.
This is the story of two women, both alone, both cautionary tales of one of motherhood’s biggest decisions.
Who is more important, your partner or your children? And what happens if you make the wrong choice?
About the Author
Shari Low is the No1 best-selling author of over 20 novels, including One Day In December, A Life Without You, The Story Of Our Life, With Or Without You and her latest release, Another Day In Winter.
And because she likes to over-share toe-curling moments and hapless disasters, she is also the shameless mother behind a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So.
Once upon a time she met a guy, got engaged after a week, and twenty-something years later she lives near Glasgow with her husband, a labradoodle, and two teenagers who think she’s fairly embarrassing except when they need a lift.
For all the latest news, visit her on Facebook, twitter, or at http://www.sharilow.com