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Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The sequel, The Mountain in My Shoe, was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Maria in the Moon was compared to Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine, and widely reviewed. All three books have been number one on Kindle, Audible and Kobo in USA/UK/AU. She regularly writes travel pieces for the Hull Daily Mail, where she was a columnist for ten years. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice and being published in a variety of UK magazines. Louise lives with her husband and children on the outskirts of Hull – the UK’s 2017 City of Culture – and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.
A beautifully powerful read that sits in darkness, not an all-consuming menacing murk, but one with pinpricks of light that can be found and felt if you open yourself to the discovery. Stella McKeever is working on her final radio show, she is encouraging listeners to divulge their secrets and waiting another call from a man who claims he knows who murdered the pregnant woman in the city three weeks previously, but should some secrets stay secret? There are times when I think it might be slightly distracting to label a book with one specific genre and for me this is one of them. I know Call Me Star Girl is a psychological thriller, it certainly does thrill, it also made me feel a whole host of other emotions too. Louise Beech excels in writing about people, at their very best, very worst, and everything in between, so I’d rather not pop this book into a pigeon hole but let it fly. Each chapter is headed by a name, and either ‘then’, ‘now’ or ‘with’. I quickly settled into the story while getting to know the characters, they became entirely real to me as I explored the how and why of who they were. While suspicion cut through my thoughts, unexpected slices of deep, aching surprise were served, and there is one particular moment that will stay with me for a very long time. Call Me Star Girl explored my feelings, touched my heart, and is one of my picks of the month, it is a truly glorious read.
An absolute wow of a relationship tale, gloriously beautiful yet it may well have broken my heart. Ben travels to Africa and volunteers at a lion reserve, as we remain with him in the present, we also look back to his past, where he meets Andrew, who keeps a Wish Box. When Louise writes it feels touchable, even if I have not experienced the emotions she describes I can feel them deep inside me. I remained in every moment, moving with the words, the feelings, knowing I was heading into unchartered territory, yet unable to pause, to stop reading. Another story heads each chapter, linking Ben and Andrew, yet creating a separate connection. As I neared the ending, I will admit to sobbing, the story hit me low in my stomach, unexpected, yet as true and real and felt as could be. Louise Beech has done it again, this will most definitely be on my list of favourite reads of the year. The Lion Tamer Who Lost is a relationship tale with a difference, it is tender, gripping, eloquent, and I want to shout about it from the rooftops.
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | October 2017 Book of the Month A beautiful, and heart-achingly touching read, step outside of yourself, and into Catherine’s world. A world where a slice of Catherine has been missing since she was nine years old. Set after the devastating Hull floods in 2007, a crisis helpline sits at the centre of the story. Catherine was a bewitching, intriguing, puzzle. As her missing memories began to unfurl, the tale weaved through time, unsettling and thoroughly provoking my thoughts. My heart both cried and soared as I read, Louise Beech writes with quiet, subtle, painful beauty. Her ability to create hope in loss, to reach into darkness and find flashes of light is magical. Memorable, sorrowful, fascinating and yet full of love, Maria In the Moon has possessed my thoughts and taken up residence in my soul - highly recommended. ~ Liz Robinson
An intriguing, moving, and absolutely captivating family drama. Bernadette has to face her fears and start to take back control of her life when she decides to leave her husband. However on the night she plans to tell him, the foster mum of a small vulnerable boy Bernadette has taken under her wing, urgently needs her help. Louise Beech uses a variety of methods to tell this story, each isolated yet linked, and perfectly placed. A book enters the tale, a book that offers information, an explanation, and is essential to the flow of the story. It’s the unexpected small offerings, that might at first seem insignificant, that really set this story on fire for me. As I was swept up, as the links started to weld together, as the story came to a vibrantly intense conclusion, I found goosebumps settling on my arms. ‘The Mountain in My Shoe’ is expressive yet subtle, heart-wrenching yet tender, and I found it to be an unexpectedly beautiful read. ~ Liz Robinson A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... 'It was an honour to publish Louise’s debut novel How To Be Brave, which was a Guardian Readers’ Pick for 2015 and included in ‘My Books of the Year’ on no fewer than 22 blogs. I think I vowed, about 20 percent of the way through reading that book for the first time, to publish whatever Louise wrote, and I haven’t changed my mind! Her writing is beautiful, her stories moving, heartbreaking and yet uplifting, her characters simply unforgettable. When I received the manuscript for The Mountain in My Shoe, I wondered if she could match her earlier success and capture me in the same way. Her debut was based on personal stories; this was something altogether different. Let’s just say that I laughed and cried reading her first draft, and was also chilled and completely drawn into an incredibly page-turning thriller. There were more than a few goose-bump moments! I realised that (perhaps by accident) she had written a psychological thriller, and it was as heart-wrenching as it was dark and twisty. I’ve never come across a writer like Louise, both as a reader and a publisher, and so many of her words, her images, her messages, her wonder stick in my mind. This is truly a book that you will never forget. You’ll be drawn into the lives of people whose lives aren’t working, be inspired, frightened, saddened and chilled, but you will, most of all, be a massive fan of this wonderful author. It’s outstanding.' ~ Karen Sullivan, Publisher, Orenda Books Click here to read a Q&A about this book.
All the stories died that morning ... until we found the one we'd always known. When nine-year-old Rose is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, Natalie must use her imagination to keep her daughter alive. They begin dreaming about and seeing a man in a brown suit who feels hauntingly familiar, a man who has something for them. Through the magic of storytelling, Natalie and Rose are transported to the Atlantic Ocean in 1943, to a lifeboat, where an ancestor survived for fifty days before being rescued. A simply unforgettable debut that celebrates the power of words, the redemptive energy of a mother's love ... and what it really means to be brave.