"Thought-provoking, loving and compassionate, this gorgeous dual-timeline family and relationship story examines the meaning of love and family."
Full of hope, friendship, and love, this very special novel packs an emotional punch. We join Judith and Jimmy’s story in the present and revisit their past when Judith was forced to give up their baby in an unmarried mother’s home during the 1960’s. It is no secret that I absolutely adore the writing of Anstey Harris, she has the ability to catch hold of feelings, alter them forever and send them soaring out into the world. The chapters snap back and forth, leaving you wanting more from the story you are in, but immediately capturing your imagination as you move forwards. I experienced a profoundly intimate connection with each of the characters. The difference in years between the two timelines ensures the weight of emotions and experiences are really felt. I visited heartache, hope, joy, and a deep sense of satisfaction that yet again I have fallen deeply in love with an Anstey Harris novel. The author’s note at the end advises that we have been welcomed into a story that is actually intensely personal for the author. The way she shares a part of her and makes it feel as though it is your own, just highlights her writing ability and eloquence. When I First Held You is a love story, not just in the traditional romantic sense, but to kindness, compassion, and understanding. So highly recommended that I want to shout about this one from the rooftops, it joins our LoveReading Star Books and is a Liz Pick of the Month.