The Sight of You by Holly Miller

Published by Hodder & Stoughton 11th June 2020

This is the story of two people kept apart by circumstance – but not like you’ve ever read before.

The story centres around Joel, he is a thirty something ex vet whose life is ruled by his haunting dreams about the people he loves, he has visions that always come true. Callie, is stuck in a life rut, still tormented by the death of her best friend and trapped in a job she feels obliged to keep. Neither are looking for one another but when they tentatively start dating Joel must fight his urge to fall for Callie as he knows if he does he could destroy it all.

You get a sense that this relationship has the potential to change both of their lives and when Joel finally admits his true feelings for Callie it appears they have it all. Their happiness radiates from the page and you feel the same happiness you would if they were your true friends. That is until Joel has a night vision and sees how it is all going to end.

The build up of the relationship is lovely, it is heartwarming that these two people have found each other and finally both seem to be able to move on with their lives and be happy. And you are happy for them and want the best for them but then Joel has his dream and it shatters everything to pieces.

The story raises so many personal questions about relationships, mortality and the biggest of all, would you want to know how and when you were going to die? And how would you react if you knew? It is an exquisitely written story and puts you right there in the relationship with them. It gives you hope that love can be found when you are not even looking for it, but is also a stark reminder that love and life are fragile.

I personally think Holly has created a masterpiece with this book, I loved the plot, the characters, who I actually felt like I knew by the end of the story, and even though it broke my heart I loved the journey Joel and Callie take, both together and apart.

This is a book that will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions and one that will leave you with questions. It is also one that will definitely stay with you for a long time and I can’t gush about it enough!!

Many thanks to Rebecca Mundy at Hodder and Stoughton for my proof copy.

The Phonebook at the Edge of the World by Laura Imai Messina (Translated by Lucy Rand)

Published by Manilla Press on 25th June 2020 (Kindle).

This is such a pleasant and enjoyable read about how different people cope with grief and how friendships and relationships can blossom from the most difficult times. The book has the ability to be serene and offer a calming and comforting environment at the most trying of times.

Based on a true story the plot follows Yui, a radio presenter who has lost her mother and young daughter in the devastating tsunami that hit Japan in 2011. When a man calls her radio show she learns about an old disused telephone box in his garden that allows grieving families and friends an opportunity to talk to those they have lost.

Yui sets out on a pilgrimage to find the phonebox and enrolee she crosses paths with Takeshi, a widower with a young daughter who has recently lost his beloved wife. His daughter is struggling to come to terms with the premature loss of her mother and has remained mute since the day she died. But the new friendships that form help all those who are struggling to find their place in the world without their loved ones.

There are other stories woven through the narrative which are both heartwarming and gentle but sad at the same time. The story is heartwarming and gentle it is like a big hug that is reassuring and comforting. It beautifully written and given the sensitive topic being discussed it is tender and respectful and gives hope to readers currently experiencing grief and a sense of loss.

It is amazing to think this phone box actually exists in Japan and is called the “phone of the wind” you can find out more here https://allthatsinteresting.com/phone-of-the-wind

Many thanks to Manilla Press for my gifted copy.