On the Bright Side is a book I have been looking forward to reading for a long time. It should have been released much earlier this year and had a different title too but finally it’s here and what an emotional and engaging story it is.
The story is told in alternating chapters mainly from the points of view of Clare and Jack. Clare has recently come out of a very troubled marriage and just when things are looking rather desperate for her and her daughter Grace, some very unexpected help comes along thanks to Jack. Jack is a barrister, approaching his fifties with some very traumatic history behind him. When a friend suggests he should think about making some big changes in his life to help him move forward, he thinks this may finally be the time.
There is also input to the story from Grace, usually in the from of Instagram chats or texts or emails. Sometimes she’s a a typical angsty and infuriating teenager but often she shows wisdom beyond her years.
What I enjoyed so much in this book was the author’s exploration of love in all its many wonderful, complicated and sometimes messy variations. Through various relationships we read about how first love can have a lasting effect as can the memory of a love that has faded. The relationship between Grace and her mum and dad showed just how complicated a relationship can be after a marriage break up. Love makes people sometimes do silly things and Clare certainly did some foolish things in the course of the book. The loss of potential love as experienced by Jack was so poignant to read about as he processed not just a love that was lost but a love that could have been.
I feel I’m not really explaining my thoughts on this book very well. It’s beautifully written and very compelling. There were so many twists and turns to the plot and I didn’t always think that the characters made the right decisions but that’s so often the way in life isn’t it? There’s a really warm feel to this book, the way it makes you take the characters to your heart and so want them to put their pasts behind them and move on. What does happen is something of course which I leave you to find out but it may not be exactly what you expect. However, I thought it was a very true-to-life and plausible ending – not all completely tidied up neatly but again, that’s often the way with life isn’t it?
On The Bright Side is an engaging story about taking chances and looking towards the future with hope. It has of course a focus on love but as I said, that’s not always romantic love. Family and friendships are strong themes too. I was happy to leave the characters of this book behind, not knowing quite how life was going to turn out for them, but knowing that they were now in a position to move forward.
From the back of the book
There’s always time for a second chance…
At least that is what people say. But what if it’s true? What if you could walk out the door and build a whole new you, a whole new life?
Clare and Jack are about to find out.
He’s a middle-aged barrister, living life as he ‘should’. She’s a recently divorced dance teacher and mum to a teenage daughter. Change isn’t easy for either of them.
But it’s not impossible.
If they do something BIG, could the next half of their lives be the best half?
Thanks to EDPR for the invitation to take part in the blog tour and for sending a copy of the book for review. On the Bright Side by Nell Carter is out now, published by Welbeck in paperback original priced £8.99.
About the Author
Nell Carter lives in Ascot with her husband. They have two grown-up daughters. One of seven children, Nell likes to write about the nuances and subtle layers of human relationships, peeling them away to see what’s really going on beneath.