Happy publication day to Callie Langridge and ‘Keep You By My Side’! I am honoured to be kicking off the blog blitz today with a review, many thanks to the publisher for the blitz invite and ARC.
Are family secrets the ties that bind or the lies that divide?
The secrets of one family live in the walls of a cottage perched high on a Dorset cliff. But secrets can only be kept for so long.
Follow three generations of a family from war-torn London, to the permissive 60s and liberated 80s. Gertie, Rose and Abi live through joy, tragedy and heartache as they navigate complicated mother-daughter relationships and learn the importance of friends and finding love. When circumstances force them under the same roof, secrets begin to unravel and promises made in love threaten to tear them apart.
How far would you go to protect the people you love?
What does TWG think?
Having read and absolutely adored Callie Langridge’s debut novel, I could not wait to see what the author would bring out next. She had certainly set the bar high for herself with her debut, that’s for sure! I tried to ensure that I kept my mind open, reading the book as though I hadn’t read anything from the author before, purely because the bar was so high. I must admit that it didn’t always work though.
‘Keep You By My Side’ is gold from various viewpoints at multiple moments in time, with one character in particular telling her story during the war. It took me a little while to work out how all of the characters fit together, but when I did, I enjoyed being able to connect with the characters on a deeper level now that I was aware of their individual links in the storyline.
I would say that the romance element is evident throughout the entire novel, and it is also written in such a heartfelt manner so that even someone as unromantic as I, could fall under the heartwarming spell.
I’m not saying that I didn’t enjoy ‘Keep You By My Side’ because I did, but for me personally, I didn’t find it as strong as the debut. Don’t get me wrong, Langridge told Gertie’s story beautifully and I was mesmerised by her journey, I just wanted more as I know the author has the outstanding talent to achieve that. This book was a very poignant and pleasing read, I just hope that the next novel comes back as strong as the first one.
As a story told by three generations, it was remarkable to see just how their personalities differed over the years, even though a lot of their choices and decisions were quite similar. My heart went out to Abi, but for me the star of the book was Gertie. I think that was because she reminded me of one of my own family members. Her story really touched me and I am delighted that I was able to be a part of that by reading it.
Overall, ‘Keep You By My Side’ was a very heartwarming and tender read which kept me cosy from start to finish. It is a lovely, lovely read which came across well, despite having to follow in the footsteps of the authors incredible debut novel.
About the author.
Callie was born and brought up in Berkshire. After a brief teenage spell in the depths of Lancashire, she moved back to London.
Having left school at 16, she studied drama before embarking on a career in marketing. This saw her work in music marketing in the heady days of Britpop in the nineties. She unleashed her creativity in the design of window displays and marketing campaigns for the leading music retailer. More recently she has followed her passion for history, working in marketing and communications for historical and cultural organisations.
On hitting her thirtieth birthday, she decided finally to pick up her pen and take the first of many creative writing courses. A few years later and she has had a number of short stories published and plays performed at theatres and venues across London. Her first novel A Time to Change was published in September 2017.
Her second novel Keep You By My Side will be published in October 2018.
Callie lives in London with her long-term partner, an ever-growing collection of antique curiosities, and more books than any person really needs.