Preloved by Lauren Bravo | #bookreview #Preloved | @RandomTTours @SimonSchusterUK @TeamBATC @LaurenBravo

Preloved is another of the books I heard about at the Team Books & The City showcase back in November last year. I knew when I heard the author read from it and found out what it was about that I would love it and I was right. I also discovered that evening that the author has a Portobello connection – small world!

About the book

Gwen is coasting through life. She’s in her mid-thirties, perpetually single, her friends are busy procreating in the countryside and conversations with her parents seem to revolve entirely around the council’s wheelie-bin timetable.
And she’s lonely. But then, isn’t everyone?
When she’s made redundant from a job she hardly cares about, she takes herself out for a fancy dinner. There she has the best sticky toffee pudding of her life and realises she has no one to tell. She vows to begin living her life fully, reconnect with her friends and family, and finally book that dentist’s appointment. 
Gwen decides to start where all things get a second chance: her local charity shop. There, with the help of the weird and wonderful people and donated items bursting with untold stories, Gwen will find a way to move forward with bravery, tenacity, and more regular dental care.
Dazzlingly witty, Preloved is a tale about friendship, loss and being true to yourself no matter the expectations. Lovingly celebrating the enduring power and joy of charity shops.

My Thoughts

I loved this book right from the start when we meet Gwen just as she has been made redundant. It’s her birthday and she’s feeling lonely. She makes a pact with herself to make an effort to have more contact with her friends and family and just really do more with her life. There’s a sense that something sad has happened in Gwen’s past that she and her parents find very hard to talk about. I think the feeling of being a bit lost and aimless is something that many people will be able to identify with to some extent.

When Gwen began to work in the charity shop all kinds of different storylines were explored by the author. We find out about the many volunteers and their various reasons for volunteering. We find out a bit about the ins and outs of actually working in a charity shop. We find out about the treasures and the horrors which people donate. Some of these had me laughing out loud! We find out about the people who donate to the shop and the people who buy from the shop and you can tell a lot about people from this.

I particularly enjoyed the chapters about items which had been donated to the shop and the stories behind them. Each chapter was a mini story in itself. I gradually came to realise how these stories, the items and the donors had connections and I think that is one of the messages of the book. Everyone and everything is connected to other people and things and every action has a consequence, makes ripples in someone else’s life.

Another strong message I took from the book was one of finding purpose. Just as the items donated to a charity shop find new uses with the people who buy them, so did the people who worked in the shop find purpose and meaning in their lives. And of course Gwen finds new resolve, a new sense of purpose and courage to consider new possibilities.

My copy of the book is an early copy, known as a proof. I thought it was quite inspired of the publishers to include information via a QR code of how to repurpose the book when it’s been read. The proof itself is fully recyclable but there’s suggestions that you can pass it on to a friend of course, or use the pages to make unique gift-tags or even a paper-flower bouquet if you are very creative. I felt this all fitted in nicely with the book’s message of finding new uses for old things.

Preloved is a wonderful story encompassing big themes of grief, loneliness, community, friendship and love. It’s beautifully written and I thought that Lauren Bravo did a fantastic job of weaving together all the strands of the story. It’s a book that manages to be funny, poignant, hopeful and wise, a combination I love in book. What can I say but that I loved Preloved?

My thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for the opportunity to
take part in the tour and to Sara-Jade at Team BATC for my early copy of the book.
Preloved is published by Simon & Schuster in hardback, digital and audiobook formats. The paperback will follow in early 2024.

About the Author

Lauren Bravo is a freelance journalist who writes about fashion, popular culture, food, travel and feminism, for titles including Grazia, Stylist, Cosmopolitan and Sunday Times Style. She volunteers in a charity shop once a week (partly to get dibs on all the best clothes).

4 thoughts on “Preloved by Lauren Bravo | #bookreview #Preloved | @RandomTTours @SimonSchusterUK @TeamBATC @LaurenBravo

  1. I can’t wait to read this one. Have read Lauren’s non-fiction books and loved them. I credit her with breaking my fast fashion habit, which was out of control 😂😂😂

    Liked by 2 people

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