Firstly, I would like to thank Sharon over at Jera's Jamboree for running the competition which caused this book to come into my life. Thanks also to Daniela Sacerdoti for getting involved with Sharon and a) doing the author's interview and b) picking me as the winner of a copy of her book Watch Over Me. I loved reading about how the idea for this book came to be and then grew - you can read it too here.
** What it's about **
Eilidh Lawson's life is in crisis. Years of failed fertility treatments, a cheating husband and an oppressive family have pushed her to the limits. At the end of her tether, she runs away to the one place she things she can find solace - her childhood home in the Highlands.
There, as she struggles to mend her broken life, she reconnects with her childhood friend Jamie McAnena, who is trying to raise his daughter Maisie alone. After Maisie's mother left to pursue a career in London and Jamie's own mother, Elizabeth, passed away, he has resigned himself to being a family of two.
But sometimes there is more to a story than meets the eye. Despite their reluctance, curious circumstances keep bringing Jamie and Eilidh together. For even when it seems all is lost, help can come from the most extraordinary places.
** What I thought **
I've sat here and stared at this review for too long, wanting to add more but it's difficult to put into words how poignant and beautiful this debut novel is. Therefore, whilst you read what I have managed to convey, please think hard about getting yourself a copy of this. There's something about it that's life-changing, it flicks a little switch inside of you that truly makes you consider life.
As I sit having just finished Watch Over Me, I can’t help but wonder how an author can come up with a debut as incredible as this (see here for an answer to that from Daniela herself!). This book is honest and raw, it’s heart-wrenching and heart-warming, and it’s beautifully written.
When I first picked it up, I did think that it was going to be a little predictable, all too convenient to be realistic but how wrong I was. It’s subtle, yet magical – there isn’t any of the “girl meets boy, boy goes off with other girl, boy comes back to girl” stuff here. At times, I feared it was going to become that but it doesn't; it’s real and it’ll make you think about life. There are so many ways that the added touch of Elizabeth’s “help beyond the grave” could have gone wrong, but Daniela doesn’t fall into any of the traps – it’s perfect.
The main characters Eilidh and Jamie are exceptionally easy to love. And don’t even get me started on Maisie; what a gorgeous little angel! The story is told in a unique and incredible way which draws you in instantly and lets you fall deeper and deeper until you’re totally captivated. The writing itself is beautiful – I found myself re-reading passages just to absorb the beauty radiating from the page.
Take your time when you read this (I didn’t and devoured it in a matter of hours), absorb every word, because it’s totally and utterly worth it. The first book I’ve ever wanted to read again before I’ve even finished turning the last page; this book will stay with me forever.