Delighted to be taking my turn on the blog tour for Bear With Me by Jessica Redland. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my place on the tour and to the author for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly.
“Jemma has the job of her dreams as curator for the children’s section of a museum in London. She spends each day surrounded by the one thing she’s absolutely passionate about: teddy bears. When boyfriend, Scott, shows a genuine interest in her passion instead of laughing at her for “playing with teddies all day”, she knows he’s a keeper.
Returning home to the North Yorkshire seaside town of Whitsborough Bay to celebrate her birthday, Jemma thinks she’s heading for her happy-ever-after when Scott unexpectedly proposes. So, a few days later, why isn’t he retuning her calls or responding to her texts?
Julie has always been a wonderful single mother to Jemma and her little brother, Sean. As owner of specialist teddy bear shop, Bear With Me, and the creative genius behind the successful range of Ju-Sea Bears, she inspires Jemma with her ability to balance a demanding career with home life. So why is the shop now in disarray and why is Sean so upset?
Sam thought he had his future all worked out. With a promising neurology career, a home, and a devoted fiancée, life was looking good. But now he’s all alone in a strange city, far from everyone and everything he cares about, struggling to rebuild the tatters of his life. Did he do the right thing by running away? What does the future hold and is he strong enough to face it?
Sometimes love finds us when we least expect it. But sometimes love leaves us, just as unexpectedly. When you’ve loved and lost, can you bear to let love in again?
Bear With Me, as all will be revealed …”
So, I did not mean to post this so late in the day but this morning I found that I was in Twitter jail for the first time ever!
Anyway, I was hanging on, hoping I’d be out so I could share this post properly but, alas, it looks like I’m in for a long stretch so it will have to take its chances on its own. Apologies, Jessica, if my tweeting misdemeanours affect the reach of the post. I promise I will reshare widely once I am released!
The cover gave me certain expectations for this book that were not not negative but I did think it was going to be a very light, untaxing kind of beach read. I have to say that I was surprised, there was a good deal more to the book than that. I was easy reading and fun in places but with a much deeper, more complex side to it that I was not expecting at all but really enjoyed.
The setting of the book, in a small seaside town on the North Yorkshire coast is fictional but so familiar to me that I believe I know the places Jessica had in mind when she was creating it, and they were places I spent all my summer holidays when I was a child as we live only 85 minutes from there, so I immediately felt at home in the setting and was able to relax into the book and integrate myself into it immediately. The author does a fantastic job of bringing the area to life in the book and anyone who isn’t familiar with the area I am sure will fall in love with it and want to visit.
The story has two main narrators, Jemma, living in London but drawn home to Whitsborough Bay by a health crisis for her mother. Sam has fled Whitsborough Bay after a personal tragedy but finds life in London a lonely existence. A chance encounter brings Jemma and Sam into contact and there stories merge as they form a friendship and find some of what the other needs in that relationship. Both characters were really well drawn and easy to warm to and I was drawn into their stories and excited to see where they would go.
This is a book that deals with some difficult issues – divorce, death, betrayal, loneliness and illness and has some complex themes of dealing with tragedy, acceptance, grief and loss and finding support in friendship, and possibly moving on through love. It was a really lovely balance between not shying away from tricky subjects but dealing with them in a deft, warm and light manner and leaving the reader ultimately satisfied and uplifted. I shed some tears, smiled some smiles and closed the book feeling like I had invested my time well by reading it. This book is much more than its cover would suggest. I would highly recommend it.
Bear With Me is out now and you can purchase a copy here.
To follow the rest of the tour and read some other reviews, check out the blogs below:
About the Author
Jessica had never considered writing as a career until a former manager kept telling her that her business reports read more like stories and she should write a book. She loved writing but had no plot ideas. Then something happened to her that prompted the premise for her debut novel, Searching for Steven. She put fingers to keyboard and soon realised she had a trilogy and a novella!
She lives on the stunning North Yorkshire Coast – the inspiration for the settings in her books – with her husband, daughter, cat, Sprocker Spaniel, and an ever-growing collection of collectible teddy bears. Although if the dog has her way, the collection will be reduced to a pile of stuffing and chewed limbs!
Jessica tries to balance her time – usually unsuccessfully – between being an HR tutor and writing.
Connect with Jessica:
Facebook: Jessica Redland