Ebook, 400 pages
Published February 9th 2017 by Simon & Schuster UK
Tom fell in love with Alice the moment he saw her. He realises that being with her will not be easy, but she is a force of nature, a burst of sunlight in his otherwise ordinary world.
Some people might look at Alice and think she has everything, but Alice knows she is not like other women. Her life is complicated, unpredictable, difficult. Alice does not like pity. All she wants to do, has ever wanted to do, is sing.
Alice has been told not to follow her dreams. But when fate has already dealt a tough hand, it’s time to stop listening to everyone else and only follow their hearts.
This is a wonderful, moving book about the power of love, friendship and family, and rising above adversity to live your life to the full.
Alice suffers from Cystic Fibrosis, an incurable disease which significantly affects the lives of people living with the condition. Alice is one of these people, she endures hours of physio and takes a lot of medication before being able to start her day, but she doesn't let it stop her from striving to achieve her dream of being a singer. As her condition worsens she is determined to continue despite being put on the transplant list.
The characters really leap off the page; particularly Alice who is passionate, motivated and inspiring. I love the friendship that the author created between Alice and her anti-support group, Alice's family and of course Tom, who loves her.
The narrative moves seamlessly between Alice's point of view, Tom's thoughts and Alice's mother Mary's diary. This brings the story to life even more as you discover what the other characters are going through as well.
I didn't find out until the end of the book that Alice is based on Alice Martineau, who followed her dreams despite all the difficulties she faced. This book was written with the support of her family. You can listen to one of her songs here.
I also know someone who has lived with this disease and who was lucky enough to have a double lung transplant. I had no idea of the daily challenges she faced but she is also inspirational, particularly as she is now an advocate for organ donation, which is something everyone should consider signing up for, you can save someone's life. You can read her story here.
This is an excellent book, I give it 5 out of 5.
At the age of eighteen Alice had been awarded a tennis scholarship to America when she experienced pain in her right hand. It was rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and she hasn’t picked up a tennis racket since, a sadness that shall always be with her. The theme of disability features in her fiction, but there is nothing gloomy about Alice or her work. Rather this gives her fiction the added dimension of true poignancy.