Huge thank you to Bookouture for inviting me to take part in the blog blitz for Debbie Rix and ‘The Photograph’, as well as the ARC of the book. I hope you enjoy reading my review just as much as I enjoyed reading it.
England, 2017: Sophie has a handsome husband, a gorgeous house in the English countryside and a successful career as an anthropologist. But the one thing she longs for is a baby of her own. As she struggles to conceive, cracks begin to appear in her marriage. So Sophie throws herself into her work and tries to seek comfort in childhood memories of her beloved grandmother Rachael.
One afternoon, Sophie finds a forgotten letter and an exquisite silk bracelet hidden in Rachael’s old writing desk. Intrigued, she begins to unravel the extraordinary story of her grandmother’s past – and a secret that has the power to change everything…
The Photograph is an utterly beautiful and compelling story of love, loss and a family secret spanning generations.
What does TWG think?
I absolutely adore historical fiction, but reading ‘The Photograph’? Well, this is a book that was in a league of its own. Set in Italy in 1958 and England in 2017, ‘The Photograph’ tells a story about mother and widow, Rachael, and Sophie who would do anything to have her very own child, regardless of how much it will cost financially, and emotionally.
Rachael spends years trying to find a place where she and her young child can finally call home. Rachael has had to endure so much heartache in such a short space of time, making the parts of the storyline that are set in Italy in 1958, such heartbreaking yet beautiful sections to read. Sophie is only beginning to understand the meaning of heartbreak and how strong you have to be to get through it, yet is determined to take her mind off her sad times by getting on with her work and finding out pieces of information that would stay with her for a very long time.
I have read many split timeline style novels in my time, yet it isn’t often that I find a book in a similar format which, after reading the first part of the novel that was set in a different time, I found myself getting excited, wondering where the next setting and year would have in common with the previous. How were the characters linked? What heartache had Rachael endured? And, once the answers to those questions (and more) were found out, my excitement grew because I ended up in a position where I knew something that other characters didn’t. I knew what Sophie could end up facing, yet I was still in shock when the truth came to light.
Every chapter and every word regarding ‘The Photograph,’ screamed enchanting, majestic, and utterly enthralling. I honestly haven’t read a book of this calibre before, allowing myself to succumb to the magical undertone of the entire novel, and allowing the vibe of the storyline to get under my skin. Debbie Rix believed her characters lives, and she believed in the beauty and love behind the words her characters spoke – if she didn’t, ‘The Photograph’ wouldn’t have come across as beautiful as it did. And because of the way the author wrote this book, I ended up believing everything as well. I became so invested in Rachael and Sophie’s lives, that when it was time to go as the book had ended, I was utterly bereft, wishing that I could have stayed with the characters much longer.
‘The Photograph’ is a simply stunning read, which projects beauty in all directions due to the authors flawless and phenomenal story telling. I wish I could convey just how much this book warmed my heart and touched my soul, but there are not enough words that would ever do this book justice. The only thing that will convey it better than anything else, is the book itself.
Such a wonderful, wonderful read that I will be holding in my heart forever. It’s book like this which make me feel privileged to be a reader.
About the author.
Debbie Rix has written four novels, the latest of which – ‘The Photograph’ – will be published on June 27th 2018. The story crosses generations and continents as Sophie, desperate for a child of her own, uncovers the extraordinary secrets of her grandmother, Rachael, fifty years earlier.
Earlier this year Debbie was shortlisted for the RNA’s Historical Novel category for her third novel ‘The Silk Weaver’s Wife’ (pub: 19th July 2017) about a silk designer named Anastasia from Verona whose life is almost destroyed when she is forced into a marriage to a Venetian silk weaver. In the present day Millie visits an old villa near Verona and uncovers a lost painting. Who is the woman in the painting and how will her experiences affect Millie’s life?
Debbie‘s debut ‘The Girl with Emerald Eyes’, reached the No.1 spot in Amazon’s Italian category. Set amidst the world of medieval Italy, it explores the creation of the most famous building in the world – the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Her second novel – ‘Daughters of the Silk Road’ topped the historical fiction charts, reaching No.1 in Italian, Women’s fiction and Mystery, Thriller & Suspense and spent many weeks in the top 100 best selling lists. It follows the fortunes of a family of merchant explorers who bring a Ming vase back to Venice from China in 15th century.
Debbie spends a lot of time in Italy and the setting of the novels reflects her knowledge and passion for the country. She lives in the Kent countryside with her journalist husband, children, sheep, chickens and cats. When not writing, she is usually to be found in the vegetable garden. She began her career with the BBC- initially as the news reader on Breakfast Time, thereafter appearing as a presenter and reporter on a variety of factual and light entertainment television series. She had a spell as an Agony Aunt, and has also written about gardens and gardening – one of her private passions.