It’s always such a pleasure to welcome a book from an author you admire. A pleasure and a risk. What if you’re disappointed? It’s a risk worth taking with authors such as Jane Corry, and let me tell you, she didn’t disappoint!
A huge thank you to Ellie for providing me with a copy of this novel.
Title: I Looked Away
Author: Jane Corry
Date of publication: 26 June 2019
Publisher: Penguin Books UK
Format: physical proof
Number of pages: 492
Every Monday, 49-year-old Ellie looks after her grandson Josh. She loves him more than anything else in the world. The only thing that can mar her happiness is her husband’s affair. But he swore it was over, and Ellie has decided to be thankful for what she’s got.
Then one day, while she’s looking after Josh, her husband gets a call from that woman. And for just a moment, Ellie takes her eyes off her grandson. The accident that happens will change her life forever.
Because Ellie is hiding something in her past.
And what looks like an accident could start to look like murder…
I Looked Away is the fourth book by Jane Corry I have read. I can now honestly say that her I imagine her work as a single growing flower. A delicate but strong flower, its sweet scent drawing from the author’s own heart to express a million feelings. Each petal is a novel. Gorgeous in its flawed appearance, it fights the elements and looks for the sun, teaching us resilience.
Right, I will now walk out of the garden! When I learned a new novel by one of my auto-buy authors was on its way, I hoped to read it, without even asking what it was about. I dived in with confidence, and once again, the author took me places.
Uncomfortable places where homelessness, mental health, and traumas have settled. Difficult subjects can only be made easier to apprehend when handled carefully. Jane Corry doesn’t envelop them in a dark coat that doesn’t let you penetrate their world. No, she gives you a blanket, and she leads you towards the dark alleys. She shows, she never tells. No matter where you are in your life, you can always relate to her characters. I literally lived in several dimensions, I lived different lives at once. I was absorbed by the paper, I became one with the novel.
Ellie is a wife, a mother, a grandmother. Her life isn’t a bed of roses and her marriage has never been quite what she expected it to be. But being a grandmother has soothed the scars of the past, and I was in awe of how Jane Corry described the experience to care of the child of your own child. The freedom to love without boundaries, to enjoy every minute of it, not because you’ve been there, but because the link between you and the child is different. Just as strong. A chance to make it right this time. A reason to keep going after so many unhappy years. I pondered this a lot, and then an image of my own grandmother formed itself into my mind and I felt an intense nostalgia. Jane Corry created a door for me to relive moments with a cherished member of my family… But again, I am wandering… Actually, I believe that books are also a chance for us to connect with stories that aren’t ours, and find similarities, or contrasts, and make us think. So, winning points!
I truly felt for Ellie as parts of her life began to appear in front of my eyes, her past and present dancing a jig I didn’t have a soundtrack for. There was a sense of tragedy from both side, as if time had wrapped itself around Ellie. A betrayed woman carrying on for love and family…
On the other side of the line, we meet Jo. Jo is homeless and scared to get attached. Her emotional baggage felt so heavy that I almost felt the pages resist when I turned them. But Jo is also kind, her big heart stronger than most, and she broke mine as she walked and walked to find a safe place. But what exactly is a safe place?
A nameless voice recounts their story, a shy voice coming from nowhere. I couldn’t figure out where she fit into the story, but she is given enough room to grow…
Searching the heart and souls of her protagonists is a talent Jane Corry masters. With it, she knows how to add this element of surprise, the twist that fate throws in your way. I am never expecting the shocking bangs we expect from thrillers, but Jane’s turns are just as powerful and breath-taking.
Tackling heavy matters with both hands, Jane Corry gives a face and a voice to the effects of traumatic events. We need more of this!
One question is on repeat during the length of the book: what happened? But rather than impatience at getting an answer, I was lost in the exploration of the how and why… I held on to the feeling until the very last minute.
When paths crossed and everything fell into place, I let the tears come. I was sorry. I angry. No matter how much we fight it, our past defines a part of us that never truly goes away. It doesn’t mean we can’t move on, or change, but there is a hole in our chest that cannot be filled, and sometimes, it leads us down a winding road with learned behavior and old habits, and the life we live doesn’t truly escape the grip of what made us who we are.
I Looked Away is suspenseful and compelling. Secrets and emotions hang in the balance in every page, ready to shatter the characters’ world. Jane Corry has written another sensational masterpiece!
You can grab your copy now!
Jane Corry is a former magazine journalist who spent three years working as the writer-in-residence of a high security prison for men. She had never been inside a jail before and this often hair-raising experience helped inspire her Sunday Times bestseller My Husband’s Wife. Jane is a regular life story judge for the Koestler Awards given to prisoners for art and writing. Until recently, Jane was a tutor in creative writing at Oxford University. She now runs writing workshops in her local area of Devon and speaks at literary festivals all over the world. She has three grown up children and writes the “Diary of a First-Time Grandmother” column for the Daily Telegraph.