This Is How We Are Human

When the mother of an autistic young man hires a call girl to make him happy, three lives collide in unexpected and moving ways … changing everything. A devastatingly beautiful, rich and thought-provoking novel that will warm and break your heart…

‘One of the best writers of her generation’ John Marrs, author of The One

‘A brilliant premise, executed beautifully … such a moving, tender and unexpected read’ Catherine Isaac, author of Messy, Wonderful Us

‘I guarantee you will not read anything like it this year … you will fall in love with this book’ Miranda Dickinson, author of Our Story

‘Incredibly moving, gripping, and full of heart … The novel everyone will be talking about this year’ Gill Paul, author of The Secret Wife

Sebastian James Murphy is twenty years, six months and two days old. He loves swimming, fried eggs and Billy Ocean. Sebastian is autistic. And lonely. Veronica wants her son Sebastian to be happy, and she wants the world to accept him for who he is. She is also thinking about paying a professional to give him what he desperately wants.  Violetta is a high-class escort, who steps out into the night thinking only of money. Of her nursing degree. Paying for her dad’s care. Getting through the dark.  When these three lives collide, and intertwine in unexpected ways, everything changes. For everyone.  Both heartbreaking and heartwarming, This Is How We Are Human is a powerful, moving and thoughtful drama about a mother’s love for her son, about getting it wrong when we think we know what’s best, about the lengths we go to care for family and to survive. 

I am a huge fan of both Louise Beech and her writing ever since I fell in love with The Mountain in My Shoe when I first started blogging. I am happy to report that This Is How We Are Human is even better than I could have expected and I was absolutely blown away with this unforgettable and emotional read. I have featured it in my Summer Reads column 2021 as I want as many people as possible to pick up this book and be as caught up as I was in this skilful portrayal of the way society examines love, morality, suffering and everything in between…

white blanket on bed near window

When a novel hooks you in with a premise like this – dealing with such a morally complex and emotionally challenging scenario, you know that you are in for a satisfying and immersive read, and I was definitely up for that! It would be an amazing book club choice as there is literally so much to examine and think about in this cleverly constructed tale and speculate about what you might have done in these circumstances and to what extent people’s actions – or lack of them – might be crucial to all that unfolds. It is a testament to Louise’s writing that you are absolutely inside this story and feel like these are real people whose lives you have become entangled in – and just like real people’s lives, the truth is rarely as black and white, nor as tidy as people like to think. This tale was not only immersive but absolutely emotionally compelling too and the writing will keep you turning those pages as you imagine what you might have felt in any one of these circumstances, and consider whether your ideas about what os ‘right’ or not has to have a bit of a rethink, given everything you’ve now read about…

selective focus photography clear snow globe

I hate spoilers, so I don’t want to dwell too long on the plot here, Sebastian, Violetta & Veronica are so skillfully portrayed by Louise Beech that you are bound up in this complex situation with them and get carried along in their journey, feeling every twist and turn of the emerging situation. The skillful way that she weaves the many and diverse strands of characters and motivations in this challenging and thought provoking tale is superbly done and remains gripping and intriguing  throughout, Sebastian is an intriguing character and you never lose sight of the fact that despite all of these challenges, he’s just the same as you or I in so many ways. I know at times it can feel like the fictional world is saturated with stories that are set up to provoke moral debates, or get us to rethink our inner prejudices, but this time it’s superbly done without a hint of sensationalism or poor taste. The plot bears us along as this story unfolds for these three, never letting us forget that there but for the grace of god goes any last one of us – and it is this idea that had the biggest impact on me. Some of the scenes are so upsetting to read as a mother as you see some of the ways tht others treat him, Yes, this is a novel – but for many people out there these kind of choices and compromises are their reality and it feels absolutely truthful in its representation of some of these difficult choices…

I loved the way that this novel wove all of these different threads together – a convincing depiction of what this must be like for Veronica as his mother as Sebastian starts to grow up and become more interested in sex and girls, but still have so many challenges at the same time. These feelings of hers are perfectly juxtaposed with Sebastian’s situation and what he is thinking and feeling as the tale unfolds and allows you to move between them and get more insight into the complexity of this situation that they find themselves in as he journeys from a by to a man in so many ways. This is the perfect read for a long summer afternoon– I guarantee that you’ll be recommending it to so many people afterwards – as you’ll not be able to stop thinking about this heartrending and beautifully plotted story and you’ll want to see what they think as soon as they’ve finished…

woman in gray sweater carrying girl in blue denim jacket

This is How We are Human is definitely one of those novels that you are unable to forget, and was far more emotional and affecting a read than I’d anticipated – it really is a page turner; in the best possible way as you are so invested in these characters and their choices and become firmly entwined in the moral dilemmas it asks you to weigh up and consider as the situation unfolds

If you enjoy an immersive and moving piece of fiction that challenges your preconceptions and tests your prejudices in a compelling and emotional way then you will love this book as much as I did.  I absolutely can’t recommend it enough and feel like I haven’t been so emotionally caught up in a book for a very long time. Your emotions will be moved every which way by this novel and you should start reading by being prepared to question yourself and your perspective on some of its ideas several times throughout this fictional journey

If you feel intrigued and would like to order yourself a copy and find out for yourself what has had such a huge impact on me, then buy yourself a copy here

Check out these other fantastic bloggers on the tour. Thank you so much to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for the invite – You know that I love an Orenda read and I know that Karen will be delighted to see Louise featured in my newest column – out in July!

‘Such a complex and emotive book’ Claire King, author of The Night Rainbow

‘It had me gripped from the start and changed the way I see the world. Beautiful, bold and compelling  – another fearless story from Beech’ Katie Marsh, author of Unbreak Your Heart

‘A searching, rich and thought-provoking novel with an emotional core’ LoveReading 

‘This book is just what the world needs right now’ Fiona Mills, BBC

‘Oh, Sebastian, I’ll never forget him. Heart is always at the core of Louise’s books and this one is no exception’ Madeleine Black, author of Unbroken

‘What a brave and prejudice busting story this is … brava’ S. E. Lynes, author of Can You See Her

‘A convincing, bittersweet tale of misplaced kindness, a myriad types of vulnerability, and unexpected consequences … All the stars and more’ Carol Lovekin, author of Wild Spinning Girls

‘A tender, insightful read’ Michael J. Malone, author of A Song of Isolation

‘An exceptional book that will make you laugh, cry and feel better for having read it’ Audrey Davis, author of Lost in Translation

‘The most exquisite and moving story I have read in a very long time’ Book Review Café

‘I don’t know of another writer who portrays characters so true, flaws and all … mesmerising, the characters are beautiful but, more importantly, they’re REAL’ J. M. Hewitt, author of The Quiet Girls

Writer On The Shelf

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Reader’s Choice in 2015. The sequel, The Mountain in My Shoe, was shortlisted for the Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her 2019 novel Call Me Star Girl won Best Magazine’s Book of the Year, and was followed by a ghost-story cum psychological thriller set in a theatre, I Am Dust. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull – the UK’s 2017 City of Culture – and loves her job as Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.

The Good Neighbours

Starting work on her new project – photographing murder houses – she returns to the island where she grew up for the first time since she left for Glasgow when she was just eighteen. The Isle of Bute is embedded in her identity, the draughty house that overlooked the bay, the feeling of being nowhere, the memory of her childhood friend Shirley Craigie and the devastating familicide of her family by the father, John Craigie.

Arriving at the Craigie house, Cath finds that it’s occupied by Financial Analyst Alice Rahman. Her bid to escape the city lifestyle, the anxiety she felt in that world, led her to leave London and settle on the island. The strangeness of the situation brings them closer, leading them to reinvestigate the Craigie murder. Now, within the walls of the Craigie house, Cath can uncover the nefarious truths and curious nature of John Craigie: his hidden obsession with the work of Richard Dadd and the local myths of the fairy folk.

The Good Neighbours is an enquiry into the unknowability of the past and our attempts to make events fit our need to interpret them; the fallibility of recollection; the power of myths in shaping human narratives. Nina Allan skilfully weaves the imagined and the real to create a magically haunting story of memory, obsession and the liminal spaces that our minds frequent to escape trauma.

brown wooden house on green grass

When Ana McLaughlin let me know about the #TheGoodNeighbours Blog Tour, I bit her hand off. I absolutely love Nina Allen’s writing and couldn’t wait to see what she was going to do next. I actually read it in full the day I received it, my anticipation had really reached fever pitch and I couldn’t wait any longer. Let me just tell you that The Good Neighbours did not disappoint.

forest photography

The cover is absolutely stunning and hints at the darkness within the heart of John Craigie’s obsession with Richard Dadd and his mythology– if you are a fan of Nina’s writing, you’ll discover that the familiar feeling of things going on below the surface start to emerge and we see that all in not quite what it appears to be…

red apple beside opened book

I love a book where things are not quite as they seem and I’d have to say that once I was three chapters into this fascinating read I was absolutely invested and could not stop reading. It is rare to be able to dedicate a whole day to reading at this time of the year if you are a teacher – never mind in the middle of a COVID return to school. But this book had me hooked and I just could not stop until I’d found out everything I needed to know and discovered if my suspicions would be confirmed. I really want to chat with someone else who’s read it now as I am keen to see if their thoughts aligned with mine as the story unfolded. It is an absolute belter of a read and I promise you that you won’t be able to stop thinking about the Craigie murder and the way things begin to unravel.

brown wooden welcome to the beach signage

The thriller’s enduring popularity really means that writers have to think outside the box if they want their readers to be genuinely captivated by the twists and turns of their latest read and I am happy to report that Nina Allen manages this with skill and originality. I am also determined to ensure that there are no spoilers as this ending really is worth the wait. I am a literal true crime addict and this felt like getting a fix of something absolutely real. It is one of those novels that you finish and feel like googling as you are so convinced that the events actually happened. I absolutely loved it and think that it would make another superb movie adaptation. I’m surreptitiously casting it in my mind’s eye right now…

I absolutely love a novel where we get the past blurring with the present and Cath’s past begins to emerge in such a way as you soon become aware that there’s more to this unfolding narrative than meets the eye, but several wonderfully contrasting characters that play with your mind and make you really think hard about the power of memory and hiw much we really can trust the subjective way that we experience things that happened in our past. The way that the clues are cleverly scattered in such a way as to misdirect and beguile you by Nina Allen made for compelling reading that never let you relax for one moment – something else that sets her aside from other more run of the mill writers. The characters are not mere devices to advance the plot but really are people we ‘meet’ in its telling. The story that is uncovered is all the more affecting as we care about the people it’s happening to and Cath’’s situation and everything that starts to be revealed about her childhood friendship and the truth sbout the Craigie murders is much more effective because we actually feel that we’ve got to know her as a real person.

brown wooden bridge over river

As I said, I read this in a single day, being utterly loath to drag myself away from the twists and turns of this situation that we are drawn into. I love books that are even better than the one you’ve been anticipating and I have to say that this novel was definitely her best yet. This book is the narrative equivalent of a kaleisoscope – you know that there’s more going on below the surface and try as you might to decipher exactly why it is, things keep shifting before your very eyes and the final picture eludes you right to the very end. And perhaps even afterwards…

green grass field with trees under white sky during daytime

I think it’s difficult to make a book genuinely original without seeming to try too hard or feel contrived – but The Good Neighbours manages the perfect balance of a twisty pageturner and a realistic portrayal of characters and setting that you actually feel like you are meeting on the page. A great read that will keep you up too late and genuinely keep you on the edge of your seat. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and cannot wait to see what Nina does next…

Buy yourself a copy here

Her literary sensibility fuses the fantastic and the mundane to great effect ― Guardian (on The Dollmaker)

Nina Allan weaves a haunting, intricate tale that masterfully blurs genre lines. You’ll want to savour every page ― CultureFly (2021 picks)

A captivating exploration of community, tragedy and memory. Nina Allan’s writing is enthralling. — Irenosen Okojie

A compulsive and twisting read . . . Nina Allan has created a surging and artistic narrative that lingers like a cold breath down your neck at the turn of the last page. — Fiona Murphy ― Mummy Pages

a compelling murder mystery filled with superstition, fairy folk and murder houses, set on Nina’s beloved Isle of Bute … spellbinding ― Scots Magazine

A masterful new novel by author of The Dollmaker, about a mysterious murder on a Scottish island and the nefarious influence of the fairy people known as ‘the good neighbours’.

Writer On The Shelf

Nina Allan is a novelist and critic. Her first novel The Race won the Grand Prix de L’imaginaire and was a Kitschies finalist. Her second novel The Rift won the British Science Fiction Award, the Kitschies Red Tentacle and was a finalist for the John W. Campbell Memorial Award. Her short fiction has previously been shortlisted for the Hugo Award, the Shirley Jackson Award and the British Fantasy Award. Her most recent novel is The Dollmaker. Born in London, Nina Allan lives and works in the west of Scotland.

Diving for Pearls – blog Tour

A young Irish man comes to stay with his sister, keen to erase his troubled past in the heat of the Dubai sun. A Russian sex worker has outsmarted the system so far – but will her luck run out? A Pakistani taxi driver dreams of a future for his daughters. An Emirate man hides the truth about who he really is. An Ethiopian maid tries to carve out a path of her own. From every corner of the globe, Dubai has made promises to them all. Promises of gilded opportunities and bright new horizons, the chance to forget the past and protect long-held secrets.

But Dubai breaks its promises, with deadly consequences.

In a city of mirages, how do you find your way out?

Jamie O’Connell’s debut novel just GOT me. I read it from cover to cover on a hot sunny Sunday this month and promptly zoomed it into my top reads of 2021. Sometimes you just connect with a book as the characters and the writing just intersect with the way you are feeling right now and it just hits perfectly, and Diving For Pearls with the glitz, glamour and corruption at the heart of life in this million dollar city really stole my heart this summer.

I was initially tempted by the gorgeous colours of the front cover and the fact that it has been so long since I’ve managed to make it abroad myself made me desperate to read it. Last weekend saw me reclining on the decking in the garden totally immersed in these characters and their stories story and engrossed in this richly described and fascinating ex-pat world.

aerial photography of Burj Al-Arab near seashore

The fact that we get such a fascinating insight into the layers and echelons of Dubai society made this read such an interesting one. The fact that we start with a missing girl and a dead body sounds familiar at first, but the way that this society operates makes this story reallly compelling as you start to peel away the layers of wealth and privilege and get a glimpse into the murky layers below.

skyline city panorama

The writing is superb, capturing tiny details about these characters that make you see how this country looks from such very different perspectives – life in Dubai certainly feels different if you are a member of a wealthy Emirate family, compred with Gite – a maid who’s come here to work, all the way from Ethiopia and almost lives the life of an indentured servant with no access to her passport or any sense of liberty or agency. Siobhan’s expat life is a far stretch from Tahir’s – whilst she spends her day shopping and treating herself, he is working every hour that God sends to care for his family back home..

aerial photo of city highway surrounded by high-rise buildings

Diving For Pearls allows us to see the narrative unfold from the perspectives of all of these different characters – with all of their varying levels of power, insight and privilege and this is a tantalising way to ensure that we keep on reading to find out exactly what a stratified society Dubai actually is and how different it must be to work there as one of the ‘haves’ rather than the ‘have nots’ It’s so hard to believe that this is a debut novel as you are carried forward not just because of the clever plotting, but through the way that all of these diverse characters have come to life and are able to lend us an insight into the missing girl and what might really be behind her death…

body of water with high-rise building in distance

Tahir was my favourite character and I loved the way that we see Dubai from such a different point of view through his storyline, breaking way from the stereotypes that Dubai is just a playground for the super rich and not looking below the glittering facade hidden from us to draw us into the story and keep turning the pages, immersed within this multilayered world. where each strata of society both obseves and is observed…

Burj Al-Arab, Dubai

This is a powerful, affecting and evocative read that I wholeheartedly recommend. I hate spoilers so all I can say is you just HAVE to read it for yourself. Thanks so much to Anne Cater ar Random Things Tours for the chance to review this fanastic debut. My sister has now nicked my copy and is obsessed with it – and I can’t see me wrestling it off her any time soon…

city buildings with lights turned on during night time

I can’t believe it’s his debut novel and can’t wait to read more of Jamie O’Connell’s writing after these fascinating insights into a society riven by wealth, social status and power. He certainly is a talented writer and definitely one to watch.

city buildings with lights turned on during night time

Praise for Diving For Pearls

A hugely engaging novel from a talented new writer — John Boyne

A compelling tale uncovering a world of secrets, injustice and, for the lucky few, escape — Anne Griffin ― author of When All is Said

Shimmering, beguiling and ruthless. A fizzing and assured debut ― Colin Barrett

Sprawling and encompassing so many worlds, it’s utterly gripping. Excellent. ― Sophie White, author of Corpsing

If you’re after a total page turner then try Diving for Pearls . . . A fantastic debut novel ― Stellar

Love this . . . a really fantastic read — Sinéad Moriarty

This page-turner is the debut offering from Cork writer O’Connell and the sign of great things to come from him ― Irish Examiner

The opening chapter grabbed me right away . . . I’m gripped ― The Art House, 96FM

[O’Connell’s] talent is clear ― The Ryan Tubridy Show

It’s tough to link so many narrative threads . . . but O’Connell pulls it off with aplomb ― Irish Times –This text refers to the paperback edition.

Writer On The Shelf

Jamie O’Connell has had short stories highly commended by the Costa Short Story Award and the Irish Book Award Short Story of the Year. He has been longlisted for BBC Radio 4 Opening Lines Short Story Competition and shortlisted for the Maeve Binchy Travel Award and the Sky Arts Futures Fund. He has an MFA and MA in Creative Writing from University College Dublin. He has worked for Penguin Random House, Gill Books and O’Brien Press. Diving for Pearls is his first novel.

The Mash House – Blog Tour

Cullrothes, in the Scottish Highlands, where Innes hides a terrible secret from
his girlfriend Alice, a gorgeous, cheating, lying schoolteacher. In the same
village, Donald is the aggressive distillery owner, who floods the country with
narcotics alongside his single malt; when his son goes missing, he becomes
haunted by an anonymous American investor intent on purchasing the
Cullrothes Distillery by any means necessary. Schoolgirl Jessie is trying to get
the grades to escape to the mainland, while Grandpa counts the days left in his

This is a place where mountains are immense and the loch freezes in winter. A
place with only one road in and out. With long storms and furious midges and a
terrible phone signal. The police are compromised the journalists are scum, and
the innocent folk of Cullrothes tangle themselves in a fermenting barrel of
suspicion, malice and lies…

green mountain

It’s great being a book blogger, but the one downside is that you are always putting books off because you need to stick to your reviewing schedule. Well, let me tell you that this is one book that I could not wait to read and I devoured it as soon as it landed on my doormat. I love books set in Scotland and the fact that this was written by a fellow teacher also captured my imagination. All I can say is what a read and you need to add it to your TBR pile without delay as it deserves every single one of its plaudits and more – so when Anne Cater asked me if I’d like to take part in the blog tour for it, I bit her hand off…

empty road towards mountain

The Scottish setting was right up my street and I was absolutely carried off to the Highlands to spend a few days in Cullrothes alongside these characters as I read. Allan Gillespie can certainly write and the story of Innes and Alice is so perfectly realised that it was hard at times to remember that they are fictional characters rather than real people whose lives I had become tangled up in. The fact that this story allows us a bird’s eye view of so many intertwining lives certainly holds your attention as you read and it keeps you on your toes as you wait to see how their lives will intersect. The remote setting was something that really appealed to me as I love the Highlands and understand that sense of being cut off rom the world in such a rural setting. Added to this was the fact that Allan actually teaches alongside a friend of mine and I get so excited to hear about teachers bringing their writing goals to life and getting a publishing deal. I loved this book so much that I’m defnitely featuring it in my Summer 17 Degrees column – and if you are headed north this summer on a NC500 Journey of discovery, then this could be the perfect holiday read to soak up that Highland atmosphere…

Cullrothes is never presented as just another Highland village, I think that it’s a testament to the strength of the writing that we feel all of the emerging undercurrents coming to life as we delve deeper into the story. The way that the teacher character is one of the least likable in the novel is a nice touch when you consider Gilllespie’s profession and does make you wonder if this is based on someone that he’s actually worked alongside at some point in his career as you read. If you like your Tartan Noir as dark as it comes, you will fall for this pitch-black tale that will definitely keep you on your toes as you read.

green island under blue and white sky

The idea that things are a lot sleepier in the country are soundly dispelled as we bear witness to murder, double crossing, drug dealing and a disappearance – and you will definitely get the sense that there is a lot more going on than meets the eye in not so peaceful Cullrothes. You will find it hard to put this book down as you’ll be so wrapped up in this tale of grudges, secrets and lies that you’ll need to keep reading and find out how it all ends. The distillery is not the only dark highland secret that’s brewing in this book and it’s safe to say that there were parts of this novel that I read with a thudding heart and sweaty palms as I was not sure how it was all going to end. Needless to say, I was not disappointed and I’m really jealous of anyone who’s yet to start reading The Mash House as they are definitely in for a treat.

bird's eye photography of winding road on mountain

I absolutely recommend The Mash House to people who really enjoy a crime read that is as far from formulaic and predictable as it is possible to be. In the present reading climate, many books can seem very same-y and this book certainly stood out a mile amongst the competition.  I loved the brilliantly evocative setting as much as I enjoyed the plot and I will definitely be recommending The Mash House to friends of mine who enjoy Scottish crime that is as atmospheric as it is enjoyable. I like reading ‘dark’ books on sunny days and it was fantastic to spend a summy Sunday in Alan Gillespie’s company as I tore through this book which definitely left me wanting more

green grass on mountain under white cloudy sky

I’m excited to see what Alan Gillespie does next and am keen to see another talented Scottish crime writer emerge from the classroom and start taking the fiction world by storm

Get yourself a copy here and see for yourself how good it is

Writer On The Shelf

Alan Gillespie is a writer and teacher from Fife, Scotland. He has studied at the Universities of Stirling, Glasgow and Strathclyde. His articles and stories have appeared in The New York Times, The Guardian, The Herald, Northwords Now and New Writing Scotland, and elsewhere.

In 2011 he was awarded the Scottish Emerging Writer’s residency at Cove Park. The Mash House is his first novel.

Ever Rest

Twenty years ago, Hugo and Ash were on top of the world. As the acclaimed rock band Ashbirds they were poised for superstardom. Then Ash went missing in a mountaineering accident, and the lives of Hugo and everyone around him were changed forever. Now, where the irrepressible, infuriating, mesmerizing Ash had been was a hole they could never hope to fill.

Two decades on, Ash’s fiancée Elza is still struggling to move on, her private grief outshone by the glare of publicity. The loss of such a rock icon is a worldwide tragedy. Hugo is now a recluse in Nepal, shunning his old life. Robert, an ambitious session player, feels himself both blessed and cursed by his brief time with Ashbirds, unable to achieve recognition in his own right.

While the Ashbirds legend burns brighter than ever, Elza, Hugo and Robert are as stranded as if they were the ones lost in the ice. How far must they go to come back to life?

A lyrical, page-turning novel in the tradition of Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano, Ever Rest asks how we carry on after catastrophic loss. It will also strike a chord with fans of Meg Wolitzer’s The Interestings and Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Daisy Jones for its people bonded by an unforgettable time; fans of Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, for music as a primal and romantic force; and Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air for the deadly and irresistible wildernesses that surround our comfortable world.

grayscale photo of people holding assorted music instruments

I absolutely loved this book ad it’s already on my recommmended reads list for 2021 and that’s no mean feat, as 2021 is already shaping up to be an amazing year for books.  Ever Rest s a quirky and emotional read and if you’ve not got your Summer TBR scheduled already, you should definitely make a space for this thought provoking, touching and unforgettable novel

2 person walking on snow covered ground during daytime

The fact that this book is so wonderfully structured with such clever juxtapositions and thought provoking contrasts means that it is hard to write a review without any spoilers. I really want you to have the same amazing reading experience that I had – so I am committed to not giving anything away that will have an impact on that. Suffice to say that I adored this book – Roz Morris’ writing allows you to fully immerse yourself in The Ashbirds’ world and experience the highs and lows right there alongside Hugo & Ash. It’s one of those books that you find yourself thinking about whenever you’re not reading it and imagining what the characters are doing, just as if they are real people that you know…

silhouette photo of rock band on stage performing in front of audience

I really lost myself in the story of these characters whose lives, loves and losses were so well described that I felt that they were real people that I knew after I’d finished reading this story. I felt like I could really transport myself into their world and imagine the impact of these experiences myself. The book deals so sensitively with the impact of loss and lost opportunities, connections and separations that I could not put it down. I really feel that this is one of the main misconceptions about books that deal with ‘big’ subjects – that they have to be deadly serious throughout. This is a writer who is not afaid to tackle difficult subjects with compassion, sensitivity and a open mind – but isn’t averse to making you smile at some of the on point moments that are experienced in this novel. It really is unique in that way and I feel the blend of joy and pain really helps the readers to gain a much better understanding about the way some of these issues affect the lives of thousands of people off the page too

landscape photography of mountains during winter

I feel that books about loss are perhaps one of the most underrepresented in modern literature and this story goes a long way towards dispelling some of the misconceptions and allows us to see that this situation might be a lot more complex than the stereotypical idea about what fame and its impact actually are- I loved the way that tings aren’t just neatly tied up and this book attempts to show human emotions in all their messy and unconfined realities…

Roz Morris has created characters we can really connect with, experiencing emotional dilemmas that have us rooting for them. Elza Hugo and Robert himself are such fabulous creations and we definitely feel their pain and loss as we see the full gamut of emotions that such experiences brings with them. I read this book in a single weekend and I’m so glad that I actually got the time to unwind and lose myself in this emotionally rewarding and thought-provoking read. It  is a moving and emotional story and I’d love to see it on the slver screen I am so grateful to Roz for getting in touch, it’s been an absolute pleasure and I can’t stop recommending this book to EVERYONE.

person playing guitar

Buy yourself a copy right now and experience this moving and unforgettable read for yourself. And you don’t just have to take my word for it – look at all the praise this wonderful read has attracted already

‘Beautifully written story of loss, grief, fame and acceptance in a unique setting.’ Charlotte Walker, LoveReadingUK ambassador

‘So real and heart-wrenching, I expected to see stories on the news about the characters.’ Amie McCracken, author, Leaning Into The Abyss

‘A critique of press intrusion, tinsel gods and exploitation… wonderfully emotive, with style and substance.’ Andy Fletcher

‘I was blown away… and transfixed.’ David Bodanis, NYT bestselling author, The Secret House

‘Remarkable… suspenseful… complex and very human.’ Garry Craig Powell, author, Stoning The Devil

‘A wonderful tension akin to Daphne du Maurier. You sink in and emerge in a state of wonder.’ Martha Engber, author, Winter Light

‘Human, fascinating, raw, real… 5 stars from start to finish.’ Brigita Orel, award winning author, The Pirate Tree

‘The chill of the mountain, the throb of rock music… totally engrossing. Masterful.’ Steve Zettler, author, Careless Love

‘A perfectly crafted novel of music, mountaineering and mourning – gripping, authentic, recommended.’ Squeak2017

Writer On The Shelf

Roz Morris

Roz Morris’s novels have been finalists in the People’s Book Prize and the World Fantasy Award. She has sold 4 million books as a ghostwriter, mentored award-winning authors, teaches masterclasses for The Guardian and for Jane Friedman, and is the author of Nail Your Novel.

Her novels are My Memories of a Future Life and Lifeform Three. Ever Rest is her third novel. She also has a memoir, Not Quite Lost: Travels Without a Sense of Direction (‘Delightful, amusing, entertaining and very moving’ Rain Taxi)

A unique voice rising in contemporary fiction.’

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NEW NOVEL! Roz’s long-awaited third novel, Ever Rest, is now available. ‘So real, I expected to see stories about the characters on the news.’ See for yourself.

FOR WRITERS! Nail Your Novel Workbook: Draft, Fix & Finish With Confidence. All the steps of Nail Your Novel expanded into in-depth exercises to take you from idea to done.

READERS’ FAVOURITE: Not Quite Lost: Travels Without A Sense of Direction. ‘An ode to the quiet places you never dreamed would tell you a tale.’ As featured on BBC radio.

Roz Morris writes fiction and essays about unusual ways we can be haunted and how we seek people and places we belong with. Her work has been profiled by The Guardian, Literature Works, the Potomac Review, Rain Taxi and BBC Radio. Her novel Lifeform Three was longlisted for the World Fantasy Award.

Her fiction has sold more than 4 million copies worldwide, although you won’t have seen her name on the covers – she began her career in secret, ghostwriting fiction for big-name authors.

Her own novels have been described as ‘profound tales and compelling page-turners’, with fine-honed language, unforgettable characters, and gripping, unusual storylines. Plaudits include a top-ranked title in the American Library Journal programme, a longlisting for an international award alongside Neil Gaiman and a finalist position in the People’s Book Prize 2017.

She is a writer, journalist, fiction editor and the author of the Nail Your Novel series for writers. She teaches creative writing masterclasses for The Guardian newspaper in London and is also the author of a series for writers – Nail Your Novel.

If you want to get to know her a little better, drop in at and her blog – where she keeps a regular diary of challenges she’s tackling in her writing.