In love, there’s no such thing as a coincidence …
Scottsville, Arizona, 1989
In small-town America, Joy Sheldon loves the plants that bloom in the desert but longs too for the sea’s elemental wildness. It’s a dream never realised – and now, facing the brutal truth that her husband is a cheat, Joy learns of unimaginable secrets in her early life. Riven by betrayal and loss, a chance encounter with the enigmatic Lewis, Joy embarks on a journey to seek her true identity – and to discover why the sea pulls so strongly at her heart.
Soho, London, 1967
Lewis Bell, abandoned by his mother and responsible for his wayward sister, is now living the dream. An ambitious young graphic designer, he’s aiming for the big time – if only he can keep his creative spark. His talented girlfriend Marnie adds pressures of her own and, as Lewis’s troubles intensify, sixties London fast shows its darker side.
Ballycastle, Ireland, Easter, 1989
Unexpectedly drawn together, Joy and Lewis fly across the Atlantic to the Irish coast. She’s in search of a lost mother; he’s looking for a lost love. They need to make peace with the past, with themselves and others. But the truths they encounter and connections they create will transform everyone’s lives forever.
Bold, intimate and joyful, this glorious novel deftly interweaves decades, continents and lives to tell a story of the irresistible gravity of love.
Love is a many-splendoured thing and I absolutely loved this immersive and enjoyable read. As soon as I opened the package and saw The Gravity of Love wrapped in thick emerald green ribbon, I was in love. It looked so enticing and made me want to tug it loose and dive right in.
If you read my blog, you’ll know that I love both a historical read and a book with two distinct timelines that we read concurrently. When this is well done, it’s my favourite kind of book – but it can be notoriously difficult to pull off effectively. Often, I’ve been left disappointed by an uneven narrative where I’d race through one of the alternating words as I’d feel unconvinced by one of the storylines and be desperate to be back in the other story.
The Gravity of Love is fortunately not one of those books: the stories of Lewis and Joy are both totally engrossing and balanced beautifully throughout the novel – whether we are with Joy in the parched desert landscape or Lewis in the wilds of Ireland I found myself equally engaged with both narratives and enjoyed the way that they complemented and chimed with one another. The gorgeous postcard that arrived alongside my copy of the book was another intriguing detail that ensured that it never lasted long on my TBR pile
My postcard read ‘Eventually the truth will come out’ and there are many ways to apply this to the way that Joy and Lewis find their lives unfolding as The Gravity of Love. After losing her father, Joy finds herself in a position where she feels compelled to ask questions about her true origins and is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, regardless of her mother and husband being fairly resistant to her making an effort to find out who she really is. Joy feels adrift in the early part of this novel, and her curiosity about her birth mother drives the narrative forward as we, just like Joy, want to find out how all the strands of this story connect.
Lewis has a fantastic back story too: the parts of the novel that describe his love affair with Marnie in 1960s swinging London were among my favourite parts of this book; I really found this section of the book really engrossing and it made me have a strong connection with Lewis in the present day. When he and Joy meet, we feel them both struggling with lives that haven’t quite turned out like they expected and their deep connection is convincingly drawn without feeling too contrived or far-fetched.
You don’t have to be a romantic to fall in love with this beautifully written, surprising and captivating read and I feel like the quality of Noelle Harrison’s storytelling could melt the hardest heart. I thoroughly recommend The Gravity of Love to anyone looking for a book that will make you reexamine your own life and think about the way that choices you’ve made, missed chances and serendipitous connections can make your life turn out differently than you might ever have imagined.
I was gutted to be on duty and miss out on attending the launch of The Gravity of Love especially as it took place in one of the most gorgeous bookshops ever
If you follow the links, you’ll be able to see what they think too.
Thanks to Lina at Black & White Publishing for inviting me to take part in the blog tour and for my copy of the book.
The Gravity of Love is available now. Click here to order yourself a copy The Gravity of Love
Writer on the Shelf
Born in London, I moved to Ireland in 1991, shortly afterwards setting up the theatre company Aurora. I have written four stage plays, Northern Landscapes, Black Virgin, Runaway Wife and The Good Sister, and one short film, Blue Void. I have also written extensively on visual art in Ireland, contributing to various journals and artists’ catalogues over the years.
In August 2004 my first novel Beatrice was published by Tivoli/ Pan Macmillan. My second novel, A Small Part Of Me, was published by Tivoli / Pan Macmillan in September 2005. My third novel I Remember was published by Pan Macmillan in September 2008. The Adulteress was published by Pan Macmillan in September 2009, and The Secret Loves of Julia Caesar, an illustrated limited edition novella was published in 2012.
Having lived in Bergen in Norway for several years, in September 2012 Beatrice was published by Juritzen Forlag in Norwegian. My Noelle Harrison novels have also been translated and published in Italy, Germany, Holland, and Hungary.
I am also published under the pen name Evie Blake and my Valentina Trilogy has been published in over 13 countries worldwide.
In 2014 I was one of 56 Irish Writers included in the anthology and exhibition Lines of Vision Irish Writers on Art at the National Gallery of Ireland, and published by Thames & Hudson.
I currently live in Edinburgh in Scotland, and I am one of the founders of Aurora Writers’ Retreats