Delighted to be reviewing The Second Cup by Sarah Marie Graye, my fellow Fiction Cafe Writer, on the blog today as part of it’s first anniversary blog blitz. My thanks to Rachel Gilbey from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part. Please make sure you scroll down and enter the giveaway to win one of three copies of the book, signed by the author, below.
“Would your life unravel if someone you knew committed suicide? Theirs did.
Faye knows her heart still belongs to her first love, Jack. She also 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.
Faye is left wondering how to move forward – and whether or not Jack’s best friend Ethan will let her down again. And the news of Jack’s death ripples through the lives of her friends too.
Abbie finds herself questioning her marriage, and wondering if she was right to leave her first love behind. Poor Olivia is juggling her job and her boyfriend and trying to deal with a death of her own. And Jack’s death has hit Beth the hardest, even though she never knew him.
Is Beth about to take her own life too?”
Oh, this is such a difficult book to review because there were bits about it I loved and bits about it I didn’t like and I think it will appeal to some readers and not others so I think I’ll just tell you what I did and didn’t like and why and you can make up your own minds about whether or not this is for you.
This is the story of four friends, Faye, Beth, Abbie and Olivia who are all at complicated junctures in their lives with different problems and difficult decisions to make and they are all affected and incited differently by hearing about the suicide of Jack, Faye’s old boyfriend, even though some of them never even knew him, aside from through Faye talking about him.
I really loved the voices and characters of these four women, they were all very different and distinct and extremely well drawn and detailed. They are very complex women and I think the author has done an amazing job of creating these characters and getting authentically inside their heads in a way that makes us understand them.
That being said, the first stumbling blocks of this book and the most major one for me was the narrative construct of the book. It is told in alternating chapters between the four women which would have been fine, but then each different woman’s story was told in a mixture of third person and first person. I have never seen a book done this way before, although I read a lot, and I think there is good reason for this because I found it extremely confusing and very jarring to read. The constant hopping between characters and viewpoints took far too much concentration and broke up the flow of reading for me to the point that it almost killed the book for me, although I guess it may not be quite so much of a negative for other people. Maybe it is personal taste.
Just while we are on the negatives, there are large parts of this book where there is far too much exposition, with the characters explaining what they are doing, thinking and feeling rather than showing us and it can get a little tedious and make the book a bit draggy in places. This is something I think that is naturally improved on with time and work and experience.
These points aside, I actually loved the authors writing in all other ways. She has the most fabulous turn of phrase and included a lot of really beautiful imagery that had me highlighting phrases and paragraphs in my Kindle so that I could go back and enjoy them again later. I really think she has a lot of skill, and I am excited to see what she does next. You can tell this is a debut by a fairly young and inexperienced author with a lot of potential and there is much to be hopeful about for the next book.
The Second Cup is out now and available here.
To enter the competition to win one of three signed copies of The Second Cup, please click on the Rafflecopter link below:
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
You can find the details of the rest of the bloggers taking part in the blitz below:
About the Author
Sarah Marie Graye was born in Manchester in 1975, to English Catholic parents. To the outside world Sarah Marie’s childhood followed a relatively typical Manchester upbringing, until aged nine, 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, including the one to write a novel.
Sarah Marie wrote The Second Cup as part of an MA Creative Writing practice as research degree at London South Bank University – where she was the vice-chancellor’s scholarship holder.
Sarah Marie was diagnosed with ADHD in November 2017 and published an extended edition of The Second Cup in February 2018 that included character interviews so she could diagnose one of her characters with the same condition.
Connect with Sarah:
Facebook: Sarah Marie Graye
Goodreads: Sarah Marie Graye