Book Review: Everything Love Is by Claire King

A poignant, mysterious and unforgettable story of love.

Everything Love Is

Everything Love Is lives up to its strap line. It is indeed a poignant, mysterious and unforgettable story of love. It’s a work of contemporary literary fiction and includes themes of love and loss, whilst also engaging in an original way with exploring the role of memory in how we make sense of the world. For readers who enjoy beautiful writing, clever storytelling and a bit of mystery Claire King delivers.

The author uses her beguiling and complex characters to pull the reader in and then only gradually reveals exactly what’s going on.

Baptiste Molino is a therapist and counsellor and is dedicated to helping his clients. He lives and works on a houseboat moored on a canal in Toulouse. He likes living alone and keeping his personal life simple, although he is keen to find out more about the mysterious circumstances surrounding his birth.

Amandine Rousseau is a doctor who is searching for, in her own words, something that makes me feel alive. Joy, passion and despair, something to remember, something to regret. I want to have my breath taken away.

Baptiste and Amandine meet at the start of the book and as the relationship between the two develops, Baptiste’s determination to keep to himself wavers. But just as it seems they may be prepared to make a commitment to each other, the past catches up with Baptiste and he has to make a difficult choice between his own happiness and that of Amandine.

The plot is intriguing and the intrigue is supported by the author’s use of both Baptiste and Amandine as narrators and the characters’ interpretation of events don’t always match. There are past mysteries, but also present ones too. For example there is Sophie the waitress at Baptiste’s local restaurant. What exactly is her relationship to Baptiste and how does she fit into the plot?

The setting also works well in supporting the story. Toulouse’s waterways, and its bars and restaurants, provide small and effective details that bring the story to life. And the upheavals and uncertainties in Baptiste’s life are perfectly reflected in the turmoil on the city’s streets as protestors demonstrate against government reforms.

This book is extraordinary. It is full of originality, poignancy and wonder. The ending is impossible to predict but it will indeed leave you reflecting on everything love is.

Everything Love Is  is published by Bloomsbury and is available in hardback and paperback as well as in eBook and audio formats.

Anne’s Good Reads – The Night Rainbow by Claire King

The Night Rainbow by Claire King

Night Rainbow

a powerful and poignant story of a childhood summer

 I read this debut novel when I was ill in bed with flu – and I was transported. I was taken away from my aches, pains, shivers and sweats to a wonderful, warm, French summer. Even better it was a childhood summer.

I was quickly immersed in the sights, sounds and scents of five-year-old Pea’s world. And the story this engaging young narrator tells is moving, powerful and oh so vivid.

As the summer passes Pea and her younger sister, Margot are left to fill their days as they please in the meadows and fields near their house. Pea’s widowed and pregnant mother is so pre-occupied with her own grief that she is unable to carry out any mothering duties. Indeed she spends most of her time in bed engulfed in and weakened by her sorrow.

Pea and Margot try to come up with ways to make their mother happy again including trying to find her a new husband. They befriend, and are befriended by Claude, a neighbouring farmer  who is also burdened with grief. The girls play, explore and puzzle over the ways of the adults around them.

It’s not an easy thing to tell a grown-up  story through the eyes of a child and to render it realistic and poignant for adult readers but Claire King makes it look simple.

This is an enchanting and charming book which will make you both smile and reminisce about the innocence of childhood  – and feel sad at the loss of that innocence that adulthood brings.

It is a perfect summer read and indeed a winter sickbed one too.

The Night Rainbow is published by Bloomsbury and is available in bookshops and on Amazon.