Pearl Flowers has been hiding away for so long that she has forgotten what real life is like. Her quiet routine in a woodland cottage in France is a sanctuary, far away from her past life running a beauty salon. But even when she is sitting at the foot of a beech tree with her drawing pad, surrounded by birdsong, her mind is never still. If she keeps herself distracted and far away, her past can’t hurt her… can it?
But then an unexpected phone call throws her calm world into chaos. Back in the UK, her estranged father Francis is dying. She hasn’t seen him for decades since he pushed her away and destroyed their family. And on his death-bed, Francis leaves her a gift – a diary, written in a code that only Pearl can understand.
As she begins to read her father’s diary, Pearl discovers that for forty years he had been thinking of her almost every day. And as she reads on, secrets begin to emerge from the pages causing her to question everything she thought she knew.
Reeling from the diary’s revelations, Pearl realises that the only way to heal and find true happiness is to face the past. But is she ready to confront her deepest secret, the one she’s been running from all this time?
I am delighted to be taking my turn on the blog tour for The Woman Who Came Back To Life by Beth Miller today. My thanks to Jess Readett at Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my digital copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
I never start reading a Beth Miller novel without making sure that I have a supply of tissues close at hand, and I’m really glad I took that precaution on this occasion as I needed them. This author has a real knack of getting to the heart of human emotions and displaying them vividly on the page in a way that will pierce even the stoniest of hearts. Since I am basically an emotionally susceptible ball of mush at the best of times, her writing always reduces me to a sobbing puddle.
In this book we meet Pearl, a woman in the middle of her life who is forced against her will to confront the problems that have been stalking her dysfunctional family for the past forty years when they are drawn back together by the death of her estranged father. Gradually, over the course of the novel, all of the families long buried secrets are exposed, faces and events from the past come back to haunt Pearl, and everyone is forced to deal with issues they were hoping could stay buried but which, now they are in the open, could provide opportunities for everyone to move on.
The exploration of human relationships, be those romantic, familial or between friends, are the foundations of all Beth Miller’s writing and she has a really acute eye for what makes people tick and how these bonds are forged, broken and what effect this has on people. Her characters are strong, rounded and always authentic and anyone who picks up one of her books will recognise themselves, other people they know, relationship dynamics they have experienced or life events they have gone through in her writing. This book in particular resonated very deeply with me because one of the events affecting Pearl is something that has also impacted greatly on my life and the reactions of herself and those around her were so familiar to me that it brought all the emotion relating to that event rushing back. In this way, reading can be a cathartic experience and is one of the things I most appreciate about authors writing authentically about difficult issues.
I love the fact that the protagonist in this book is a woman of a similar age to myself. As I get older, I love to see books featuring more mature characters and exploring all the wealth of life experience we have amassed by this age. When you are young, you think adults have everything sussed out and nothing exciting ever happens because life is sorted out. Once you get here, you know that this isn’t the case and all that has happened is that we have accrued a lot more baggage to sort through, which makes for fascinating reading.
This is the most fantastic, emotional, moving and mature novel and it really touched me. It is a beautiful illustration of how life and families work, it feels very real and honest without being maudlin and I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys this type of novel.
The Woman Who Came Back To Life is available now in all formats and you can buy a copy here.
Make sure to check out some of the reviews by my fellow bloggers taking part in the tour:
About the Author
I have been told that I write like a tall blonde, so that’s how I’d like you to picture me.
I’ve published five novels. The most recent, ‘Starstruck’, came out in August 2021. The previous one, ‘The Missing Letters of Mrs Bright’, was a top twenty Kindle bestseller. I’ve also published two non-fiction books. I work as a book coach and creative writing tutor.
Before writing books, I did a lot of different jobs. I worked in schools, shops, offices, hospitals, students’ unions, basements, from home, in my car, and up a tree. OK, not up a tree. I’ve been a sexual health trainer, a journalist, a psychology lecturer, a PhD student, a lousy alcohol counsellor, and an inept audio-typist. I sold pens, bread, and condoms. Not in the same shop. I taught parents how to tell if their teenagers are taking drugs (clue: they act like teenagers), and taught teenagers how to put on condoms (clue: there won’t really be a cucumber). I taught rabbis how to tell if their teenagers are druggedly putting condoms on cucumbers.
Throughout this, I always wrote, and always drank a lot of tea. I’m now pretty much unbeatable at drinking tea.
Connect with Beth:
Facebook: Beth Miller Author