It feels like ages ago since I last welcomed this author to TWG, BUT, I am super excited to welcome Faith Hogan back to TWG once again as I review her brand new novel, ‘The Girl I Used To Know’ as part of the blog tour! Huge thanks to Aria for both the invite for the tour and the ARC. Here is my review:
Amanda King and Tess Cuffe are strangers who share the same Georgian house, but their lives couldn’t be more different.
Amanda seems to have it all, absolute perfection. She projects all the accoutrements of a lady who lunches. Sadly, the reality is a soulless home, an unfaithful husband and a very lonely heart.
By comparison, in the basement flat, unwanted tenant Tess has spent a lifetime hiding and shutting her heart to love.
It takes a bossy doctor, a handsome gardener, a pushy teenager and an abandoned cat to show these two women that sometimes letting go is the first step to moving forward and new friendships can come from the most unlikely situations.
What does TWG think?
Have you ever had an opinion about someone, despite not knowing their true personality?
Have you ever disregarded someone as a friend because a spouse, family member or friend, didn’t like them?
Have you ever been stuck in a rut so deep, you lost sight of who you truly were?
Have you ever thought ‘enough is enough’ and felt empowered to change all of the above?
Yes? Me too. Amanda and Tess too, funnily enough.
Tess Cuffe has always believed that her life was destined for stardom. However, even a well thought out idea doesn’t always go to plan and, instead of Tess rubbing shoulders with singers from all walks of life, she has spent many years being too afraid to live her own life.
And then there’s Amanda King. A woman who, from the outside, has everything she could ever dream of; an endless pot of gold in the bank, a pigeon pair (boy and a girl), and a life of luxury. Although is it REALLY a life of luxury? From spending her time painting, to being married and surrounding herself with two-faced, backstabbing people, Amanda starts to question her choices in life.
What a jam-packed, thought-provoking novel! We wouldn’t be human if we hadn’t spent a little time stuck in a rut at some point in our lifetime, right? It’s never too late to get ourselves out of that particular rut, but often we find that we need a little bit of help to do so, even if we aren’t aware of it at the time. As far as Tess Cuffe is concerned, Amanda King lives a life most people could only dream of and, as far as Amanda King’s husband is concerned, Tess Cuffe is a waste of space who is ruining the look of their house. Of course, just like the house, nothing is ever quite what it seems, is it?
Firstly, Amanda’s husband, Richard, needs his nether regions taken off. From the first moment he appeared in the storyline, I knew straight away that I would have an issue with the character. He just oozed arrogance and came across as the biggest end of a bell I have ever met. Seriously. A little piece of me felt sorry for Amanda, but then another piece of me felt a little bit miffed that she didn’t kick him from here to kingdom come. But I can say that, obviously, I’m not in the situation like Amanda is.
Secondly, I had a feeling that there was more to Tess Cuffe that met the eye. She really was like a diamond in the rough who just needed a little bit of TLC to realise that she does, in fact, deserve her spot on this Earth. I just wanted to give her a big hug and tell her that everything was okay. It was clear that this character had spent many, many years building a wall for herself, she had absolutely no idea how to act anymore.
Thirdly, Faith Hogan has written her best book yet. Fact. Even though I found the first couple of chapters a little on the slow side, I soon fell in love with the message which the author was able to put across via her characters. I guess I found it a little emotional because just like Amanda, I have spent years living in people’s shadows, being afraid to bring the real me out again in case it didn’t live up to other people’s expectations. Whilst part of me felt that Amanda should have told her husband where to go, I can fully appreciate how low her self-esteem was and having being ‘safe’ in a marriage for so many years, living the life that Richard wanted was all Amanda has ever known. From the outside looking in, it is far too easy to sit and judge a situation without knowing all of the facts, yet having a smidgen of faith in someone can mean more than you could ever realise. For Amanda, Tess was that faith. For Tess, Amanda and her daughter, Robyn, was that faith. They just had to make themselves known to each other.
I would be lying if I said that I didn’t find parts of this storyline a little emotional, because I did. I felt like each of the characters were talking to my soul, being that faith for me like they are to each other. I loved watching the characters find their wings and fly in a life which they believed in with every ounce of their being.
‘The Girl I Used To Know’ is a poignant, life affirming tale of faith, belief and being true to yourself. Taking that leap to say ‘you know what, I do believe in my self’ takes more courage than anyone could ever imagine, which from the bottom of my heart, I truly believe that Faith Hogan has conveyed with every ounce of her being. I adored this book and everything it stands for. Everyone needs a Tess and Amanda in their lives, and everyone needs to read this book as it truly is beautifully.
Faith Hogan’s best book ever, ‘The Girl I Used To Know’ is a beautifully written, heart-warming and touching novel which is guaranteed to stay in your heart for a very, very long time.
About the author.
Faith Hogan was born in Ireland. She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway. She has worked as a fashion model, an event’s organiser and in the intellectual disability and mental health sector. She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.
Faith Hogan Contact:
Twitter (her favourite) https://twitter.com/GerHogan
On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/faithhoganauthor/
Web Page. http://faithhogan.com/