I’m delighted to be hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for Shari Low’s latest book, This Is Me. You can read my review below. Thanks to Vicky at Aria for inviting me to participate in the tour and for my review copy.
About 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 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?
Format: ebook, paperback (372 pp.) Publisher: Aria Fiction
Published: 2nd May 2019 Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Find This Is Me on Goodreads
The prologue reveals one death provoking two very different reactions from mother and daughter, Denise and Claire. The reasons why, and for their estrangement, will become apparent over the course of the book through a series of flashbacks.
Some characters from Shari Low’s book, One Day in December, make a return appearance in This Is Me and there are brief references to events in the earlier book. I particularly enjoyed becoming reacquainted with the irrepressible Val and Josie – all wine, wisecracks and wisdom. They, along with her best friend Jeanna, form part of Claire’s support network as she struggles with her ’empty nest’ feelings now her two sons have left home. Her friends also provide the pretext for Claire’s reminiscences about her troubled relationship with her mother and father, her first meeting with future but now ex-husband, Sam, and their early years together. Along the way, Claire learns a few unexpected secrets as well!
Denise has no such support network meaning, although I found her life decisions and choices a challenge to comprehend, I could sympathize with the lonely situation she finds herself in and her despair at the things she discovers.
There was one character in the book I definitely could not sympathize with; in fact, who I loathed with a vengeance. Selfish, manipulative and deceitful, I simply couldn’t understand how a person could inspire such devotion. On the other hand, Claire’s ex-husband Sam, seemed a positive paragon.
The book presents the choice the two women make – between putting their children or their partner first – in pretty black and white terms. I’d like to hope in real life there are shades in between.
This Is Me is an engaging, emotional story about motherhood, relationships and the choices we often face in our personal lives. In some respects a cautionary tale, it’s also a celebration of female friendship and the possibility of new beginnings and, just maybe, second chances.
I received a review copy courtesy of publishers, Aria, and NetGalley.
In three words: Heartfelt, emotional, engaging
Try something similar…One Day in December by Shari Low (read my review here)
About the Author
Shari Low is the No.1 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 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.
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