Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Friday, 8 August 2014

Another Way to Fall - Amanda Brooke - Guest Book Review

Published by Harper

Guest review by Joan Hill

Emma has been very ill, fighting a comprehensive and aggressive battle against a brain tumour that has already destroyed her dreams of rising to the top in a glittering career, travelling all over the world. Her family, mother Meg and younger sister Louise have supported her throughout but, as our story begins, Emma, at twenty nine years old, is once again visiting her consultant Mr Spelling, hoping against all hope for those eagerly awaited words that will give her the ‘All Clear’. Sadly it is not to be and his words only confirm her greatest nightmare. Her fight so far has been pointless and there is nothing more that can be done to ward off her cancer’s virulent and relentless progress. She is going to die.

Regardless of this prognosis her mother Meg is unable to give up. She is determined to fight on, hoping to find a cure in a research programme or to join a trial of some new wonder drug. But Emma knows that if she is to realise her dreams and achieve the goals she had desired so fiercely she must find another way, a way to fit everything in she most desired in her life. She decides to write a book of what she hoped her life would be. She secretly taps it all out on her laptop and as she makes progress with her story, amazingly some of her dreams actually start to come true. With a new love in her life she imagines what she would want in their life together, their holidays and high days, the family they would rear and so the story develops, encapsulating her dreams with a heart-warming clarity. And then it starts to happen; dreams seamlessly merge with reality. She feels the story could be true as she dreams it so vividly.  Could it possibly all come true, right through a lifetime of togetherness? Could she be actually achieving an alternative future?

The ‘story within the story’ is an extremely effective method of moving on Emma’s story to its completion. The characters are strong and empathetic, all with Emma’s best interests and comfort in their hearts. The story is incredibly moving and I particularly loved Beth, the loving mother who would do literally anything for her sick daughter. Amanda Brooke put all of herself and her own experiences and attitudes into building this wonderful portrait of mother-love. She lost her young son to cancer and it must have been so hard to write some aspects of Emma’s story from Beth’s point of view. But she totally nailed it. I also loved the characterisation of her boyfriend Ben. He shone a bright light in her life and enabled her to complete her novel, helping her both emotionally and with the practicalities of writing a novel whilst weakening physically. I really enjoyed this novel and thank Lindsay most sincerely for inviting me to be a guest reviewer.

Many thanks to Joan for reading and reviewing this novel for The Little Reader Library!


  1. Great review.

    This book sounds so very powerful and poignant. The premise of dreaming of an alternate and better reality in the midst of such darkness seems like it would be terribly affecting.

    1. Well thought out, you have it exactly!

  2. Lovely review Joan, have just clicked and bought the book! :)x


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