I have to tell you about two new books that I read on my recent break that I really enjoyed and I hope you will too. One is a memoir and one is fiction, so both very different yet both very engaging and beautiful reads.
Without Warning and Only Sometimes by Kit de Waal
Kit de Waal grew up in a household of opposites and extremes. Her haphazard mother rarely cooked, forbade Christmas and birthdays, worked as a cleaner, nurse and childminder sometimes all at once and believed the world would end in 1975. Meanwhile, her father stuffed barrels full of goodies for his relatives in the Caribbean, cooked elaborate meals on a whim and splurged money they didn’t have on cars, suits and shoes fit for a prince. Both of her parents were waiting for paradise. It never came.
Caught between three worlds, Irish, Caribbean and British in 1960s Birmingham, Kit and her brothers and sisters knew all the words to the best songs, caught sticklebacks in jam jars and braved hunger and hellfire until they could all escape.
WITHOUT WARNING AND ONLY SOMETIMES is a story of an extraordinary childhood and how a girl who grew up in house where the Bible was the only book on offer went on to discover a love of reading that inspires her to this day.
Without Warning & Only Sometimes: Scenes from an Unpredictable Childhood by Kit de Waal takes the reader on a journey back to the 60s and 70s in Birmingham. Born to a Caribbean father and an Irish mother, life was very tough growing up in a home where ‘both her parents were waiting for paradise. It never came’
Exploring the extraordinary years of her youth with a mother insisting she and her siblings attend regular Jehovah Witness assemblies and a flamboyant father with dreams of returning to his native St Kitts, Kit (Mandy Theresa O’ Loughlin) made plans to escape from a young age.
Her experiences through these years are wonderfully captured with a poignancy and a sense of achievement.
Just published with Tinder Press, Without Warning & Only Sometimes is an engaging and beautiful journey that gives an insight into the remarkable path taken by a curious little girl to become a reader and the writer we all are familiar with today. A fascinating, intelligent, charming and affecting read.
“I turn the page and keep reading. I’m going to live” – Mandy Theresa O’ Loughlin/Kit de Waal
This is Gonna End in Tears by Liza Klaussmann
Growing up, it was always the three of them: Miller and Olly and Ash. They stuck together like they were keeping a secret; they were successful, best friends, lovers. It was perfect – a shining life – until it fell apart.
Now Miller and Ash are married and living in Wonderland, the tidal island of sugary coloured houses they ran away from.
Miller feels like she’s disappearing. She wears her tinted sunglasses so often sometimes she forgets the world isn’t green.
Ash is having an affair with a helmet-haired TV presenter.
Olly lives a charmed life in LA but it’s on the precipice of disaster.
Over the long, hot summer of 1984, unanswered questions draw the three of them back together. They are so consumed with the possibility of a redemptive third act, they don’t notice what’s going on between Miller’s son, his best friend and the girl who lives next door. . .
Some summers are spent yearning for something to happen, others are charged with the terrifying, exhilarating feeling that everything is going to change.
Having read Liza Klaussmann’s books in the past, I was very excited to recently get my hands on a copy of This is Gonna End in Tears which was published July 7th 2022 with John Murray.
A nostalgic tale taking the reader on a journey from the 1950s to the 1980s, this is a story of a beautiful friendship that changed direction over the years. It is the story of Miller, Ash and Olly, three teenagers in the 1950s from a small town on the East Coast of America who dreamed of a life filled with music and excitement. Their bond was strong and in their minds their friendship was forever.
Now as adults, Miller and Ash are married and living back in their hometown of Wonderland but theirs is a fragmented relationship. It’s clear Miller isn’t happy as she lives a regimental life behind her tinted sunglasses. Ash is living a double life, one that is about to implode. Olly is based in LA but his career is in trouble and he is suffering with his mental health. The dynamic of their youth is long gone but yet the threads still remain.
Jumping from the 1950s to the 1980s with intermittent flashbacks to the 1960s, their complex relationship is spread out over the chapters, revealing the intricacies of their relationship and the long-term impact of certain decisions made. It is all beautifully captured through the gorgeous writing of Liza Klaussmann.
I’m a huge fan of Liza Klaussmann’s writing and This is Gonna End in Tears confirms my love of her books. Liza Klaussmann captures an atmosphere of an era with an evocative pen, wonderfully creating a stunning and vivid image in the mind of the reader. Nostalgic, expressive and exquisitely characterised, This is Gonna End in Tears was everything I wished for and more. With an intangible quality throughout, this is a truly sublime read, one I highly recommend to all looking for that something special.