EXCERPT: Breathing long and slow, Merrin closed her eyes briefly, feeling instantly better, calmed. This was the perfect spot with the widest view and she could spend hours here, staring at the waves. Her dad once told her that they were the heads of white, foaming horses, cantering up to the break and crashing, before making a sharp turn and petering to nothing on their return. It was now impossible for her to see them in any other way. Looking out over the purple bruise of sky where clouds hung low over the ocean, she offered up a silent prayer.
Please don’t rain! Not on my wedding day . . .
ABOUT ‘TO LOVE AND BE LOVED’: Young and desperately in love, Merrin had the whole world ahead of her. But just as her new life was about to start, the ground beneath her feet was cruelly swept away. Devastated by the humiliation, she ran far away from the beloved fishing village she had always called home to lick her wounds and escape her gossiping friends and neighbours.
It hasn’t been easy, but six years later Merrin has forged a new life for herself far from the sea, burying the impulsive girl she once was. But when tragedy strikes, she has no choice but to return to the village she swore she’d never set foot in again.
Reluctantly back in the arms of her community, Merrin begins to realise what she’s been missing out on all these years. As she begins to remember the person she used to be, she is forced to make choices about her future, and to question the past. What does she want from her life? Who is important to her? Who is to blame for everything that went wrong? And can she forgive them, let old wounds heal and finally be her true self again?
MY THOUGHTS: As with all of Amanda Prowse’s books, To Love and Be Loved is a very emotional read. I had shredded a great number of tissues before I was a quarter of the way through! If only the worst Merrin had to worry about on her wedding day was the weather . . .
We follow Merrin’s life journey as her future is ripped apart and she flees her home to try and make a life elsewhere. But, as we all know, the problem with running away is that we take along the problems that are in our hearts and our heads. And at some point, we just have to turn around and deal with them.
Don’t expect a fast paced book, you won’t get it. To Love and Be Loved is a meandering and often sad read as Merrin spends a lot of time treading water, surviving rather than living.
The sadness and grief is, at times, overwhelming. But it is also punctuated with some beautiful moments in Prowse’s trademark style.
Prowse has created a very close knit family in the Kellows. Ben and Heather are still very much in love after their many years of marriage and I enjoyed the easiness of their relationship. Merrin is the younger of their two daughters and a very different personality than her older sister Ruby, who is more prickly and brash, Merrin more dreamy and soft. And I loved their friend Bella, whose role in life seems to be a buffer between the sisters.
Initially, I loved this book, and I still do, but with some reservations. It is intense, emotionally. But, in places it is just too much. Was there ever a family as perfect as the Kellows? I would like to hope so, but probably not. (view spoiler) And the ending is very sudden, and for me was, considering Merrin’s past, far too fast and unlikely.
Yet, despite all this, I finished with a smile on my face and am eagerly awaiting Prowse’s next.
I: @mrsamandaprowse @amazonpublishing
T: @MrsAmandaProwse @AmazonPub
#contemporaryfiction #familydrama #romance
THE AUTHOR: Amanda Prowse was a management consultant for ten years before realising that she was born to write. Amanda lives in the West Country with her husband and their two teenage sons.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Amazon Publishing UK, Lake Union Publishing, via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of To Love and Be Loved by Amanda Prowse for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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