Wednesday, 17 January 2018

BLOG TOUR! The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye

The book…

Would your life unravel if someone you knew committed suicide? Theirs did.
Faye's heart still belongs to her first love, Jack. She knows he might have moved on, but when she decides to track him down, nothing prepares her for the news that he's taken his own life.
With the fragility of life staring them in the face, Abbie finds herself questioning her marriage, and Faye her friendship with Ethan. And poor Olivia is questioning everything - including why Jack's death has hit Beth the hardest. Is she about to take her own life too?

The review…

First things first... I think the cover of The Second Cup is just beautiful -  gorgeously evocative, and for me at least, really drew me towards the book.
The story follows four friends - Faye, Beth, Olivia and Abbie - and the impact on them of learning that Faye's ex-boyfriend, Jack, has committed suicide. It's an intense and emotional story told with sensitivity and compassion. Beth is the hardest hit and her story makes painful reading at times.
Sarah Marie Graye writes very well and deploys some, at times, arresting imagery which stays in the mind. I was particularly struck by Beth's image of air pockets - where "the light is different, maybe hazy, and the air tastes bitter, almost metallic" - caused by the voids left by people who have departed the world.

The little "tea-related" snippets scattered throughout - the Japanese tea ceremony, the Mad Hatter's tea party, the tea moth - are interesting in themselves, relate back to the characters and add a further dimension.
I wouldn't describe this as an easy read either in terms of content or writing style; the subject matter is often quite dark, and you do need to concentrate to keep a grasp on what's happening. There are switches from first to third person and back again, and from past to present, with glimpses into the childhoods of the characters, which take a bit of getting used to and keeping track of. However it is a book which will reward careful reading.
Jack himself bookends the story but remains somewhat elusive throughout - it's the effect on others which is the heart of the book rather than the man himself, and the ending is somewhat ambiguous. It's the women here, and the intensity of their experiences, who are at the centre of the story.

The author….

Sarah Marie Graye was born in Manchester, United Kingdom, in 1975, to English Catholic parents. One of five daughters, to the outside world Sarah Marie's childhood followed a relatively typical Manchester upbringing... until aged 9, when she was diagnosed with depression.
It's a diagnosis that has stayed with Sarah Marie over three decades, and something she believes has coloured every life decision.
Now in her early 40s, and with an MA Creative Writing from London South Bank University (where she was the vice-chancellor's scholarship holder), Sarah Marie has published her debut novel - about family, friendships and mental health.
Follow Sarah Marie on Twitter

The giveaway....

Win!  3 x Signed copies of The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye (Open Internationally)

Many thanks to Sarah Marie and Rachel's Random Resources for the opportunity to be a part of this blog tour.

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