The perfect feel-good read from an exciting new voice in women’s fiction, for fans of Heidi Swain, Cathy Bramley and Jenny Colgan.
Tori Williamson is alone. After a tragic event left her isolated from her loved ones, she’s been struggling to find her way back to, well – herself. That’s why she set up her blog, The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness, as a way of – anonymously – connecting with the outside world and reaching others who just need a little help sometimes.
When she’s offered a free spot on a wellbeing retreat in exchange for a review on her blog, Tori is anxious about opening herself up to new surroundings. But after her three closest friends – who she talks to online but has never actually met – convince her it’ll do her some good, she reluctantly agrees and heads off for three weeks in the wild (well, a farm in Wales).
From the moment she arrives, Tori is sceptical and quickly finds herself drawn to fellow sceptic Than, the retreat’s dark and mysterious latecomer. But as the beauty of The Farm slowly comes to light she realizes that opening herself up might not be the worst thing. And sharing a yurt with fellow retreater Bay definitely isn’t. Will the retreat be able to fix Tori? Or will she finally learn that being lonely doesn’t mean she’s broken . . .
Welcome to The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness! Where you can learn to move mountains by picking up the smallest of stones…
’Sweet, funny, engaging - and underneath the sparkle really rather wise. The perfect tonic for our times.’ VERONICA HENRY, Sunday Times bestselling author of A Wedding at the Beach Hut
'A total hug in book form. Warm-hearted, honest and touching, it’s a beautiful story of love and friendship. I loved it!' MIRANDA DICKINSON, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Day We Meet Again
‘I LOVED it!’ HEIDI SWAIN, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Secret Seaside Escape
'What a read - rollicking fun and emotionally satisfying!' MICHELE GORMAN, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Curvy Girls Club
'This book will leave you with a big smile' MANDY BAGGOT, author of My Greek Island Summer
'An absolute delight!' JUDY ASTLEY, author of It Must Have Been the Mistletoe
'Genuinely moving, beautifully told and really funny!’ CHRISTINA PISHIRIS, author of Love Songs for Sceptics
'Funny, warm and brilliantly uplifting' CLAIRE FROST, author of Living My Best Life
'Getting drawn into the pages of The Beginners Guide to Loneliness is like being drawn into a big soothing hug, right when you need it. Full of warmth, depth and unexpected turns, plus a cast of characters I wish I knew in real life, Laura Bambrey has written a beautiful debut.' LUCY DICKENS, author of The Broken Hearts Honeymoon
‘I absolutely devoured this wonderful story of friendship, romance and learning to love yourself. It was touching, funny and an utterly fabulous read’ HOLLY MARTIN, author of Sunrise Over Sapphire Bay
‘Although it’s a love story, it’s even more a tale of friendship – not just being a friend, but accepting friendship from others, which can be just as difficult . . . I recommend it most highly as a beautifully written guide as to how we should live our lives’ T.A. WILLIAMS, author of Dreaming of Italy
Excellent debut novel
I’m thrilled to share my review for the debut novel by Laura Bambrey today. Thank you to Simon and Schuster UK for granting my wish on NetGalley to read and review – my thoughts are my own and not influenced by the gift.
2020 will be remembered for many different reasons, primarily the global pandemic. One small positive of this, is that I have been able to read and review more books this year, and I now have another lovely debut novel to shout about to fellow booklovers – I really enjoyed reading The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness.
In March 2020 most countries across the world had to lockdown, to keep their populations safe from an invisible killer. Thankfully many of us have access to modern technology and can stay in touch with family and friends via messages or video chats. However, millions of people across the world will be in Tori’s situation – lots of virtual friends but no close real friends. In my grandparent’s generation, people tended to not move far from their families when they left home and had their own families. However, this has now changed, especially as more of us travelled for university courses or fell in love with another county or country when on holiday.
I moved to Wiltshire from Yorkshire just over 25 years ago, and although I’ve made some good friends, I do find myself feeling lonely at times without my family living nearby. Loneliness is a big issue in our world and Laura’s book shows how easy it is to end up in this situation, especially now more people are working from home every day.
I loved the way the characters developed in this story, my favourite characters were actually secondary characters – Doreen and Rowan, who both help Tori in so many ways. There is also a dog called Dennis in this story and all the best stories include a dog (with a handsome owner). The story looks at how Tori found herself feeling so isolated and lonely and why she found it hard to trust other people. It also looks at the dangers of social media – how we need to be careful when chatting to strangers. However, it is a voyage of self discovery for Tori during her stay at The Farm, and without any spoilers, this is an uplifting read, not a tale of doom and gloom.
Thank you Laura Bambrey for such a thought provoking and touching story. I look forward to seeing this ebook flying high in the digital book charts after publication at the end of July 2020.