Monday 7 November 2016

BLOG TOUR: Because of You - Helene Fermont

How desperate are you to get the love of your life?

Hannah is the love of Ben's life, yet Vanessa will stop at nothing to claim the man she is convinced is her destiny.

Because of You spans 36 years in the life of Hannah Stein, a Swedish teenager who arrives in London, at the tail end of the disco era, for a gap year before embarking on a teaching career. The people she meets change the course of her life irrevocably and the novel charts her changing personal and professional fortunes over the next three decades. Because of You is about love, coming of age, friendship, bereavement, stillbirth and rape. Its themes include redemption, acceptance, fidelity and family. Because of You is a story that every woman can relate to.

Because of You is the deeply moving debut novel by Scandinavian writer Helene Fermont. It’s a gripping work of modern women’s fiction with a distinct ‘Scandi’ feel and a psychological twist. 

Scandinavian noir has firmly established itself as a bestselling genre in the UK. Because of You takes the elements that make this style of writing so compelling – the realism and dark, morally complex mood – and combines it with women’s fiction.

This is a dark, morally complex and cross-generational story of enduring love, fate and destiny and will appeal to readers who appreciate an emotive, uncompromising and fulfilling read driven by character and circumstance.

What did I think?

Because of You is an epic saga spanning the 1970's to the present day and crossing the continent from England to Sweden.  Hannah is such a lovely caring character that you feel yourself looking out for her as the story progresses.  I've never seen such an extent of growth in a character as I saw in Hannah; she evolved from a quiet young lady to a strong beautiful woman, in spite of all the bumps in the road on her journey.

Hannah comes to London in 1978 to study and lodges with her grandmother's friend, Ella.  It was hard for her to leave her family and Sweden behind, but she quickly makes friends with another Swedish girl, Sanna, and gains entry into her circle of friends.  As Hannah is introduced to the sparkly discos of the 1970's she catches the eye of reputed bad boy Mark.  Mark pursues Hannah and she agrees to give him a chance to prove he's not the bad boy that everyone thinks he is.  I was with Hannah's friends on this one and knew he wasn't good enough for her, but the heart wants what the heart wants.

While Hannah is still in a relationship with Mark, she meets Ben at a friend's party.  It is clear that Ben is the man for her but Hannah has such strong values that she won't consider taking anything further with Ben whilst she is seeing Mark.  Ben cannot forget Hannah and knows that they are destined to be together, and he doesn't care how long he has to wait.

As the years go by, Hannah splits up with Mark (hurrah), starts a relationship with Ben (hurrah) and goes back to Sweden to work as a teacher.  She is loved by the children and her colleagues, in fact loved a little bit too much by one of them.  Linus is a creepy colleague who is completely infatuated with Hannah.  She thinks she can handle him by telling him she's not interested but he doesn't seem able to take 'no' for an answer.  Linus is insanely jealous of Hannah's relationship with Ben and the threat of just how unhinged he is seemed to hang over the story like the Sword of Damocles.  Linus isn't the only one threatening the happiness of Ben and Hannah. Rich-bitch Vanessa has her eye on Ben and will do anything to get her claws into him, even resorting to joining forces with Mark in an elaborate scheme to break them up.  Oh it's all going to end in tears, but for whom?

My heart was breaking on several occasions as Hannah always thinks of other people before herself.  She deserves to be happy but she puts her happiness at the bottom of the list and puts other people before herself, even doing what she thinks is best for them rather than what they actually want.  There is so much going on in Hannah's life that some part of it with resonate with every single reader.  It is written so warmly that I almost felt as if I was part of the family, eating Zipporah's apple cake or celebrating Zadie and Walther's wedding anniversary with a glass of fizz.

A beautiful epic story of life, love and destiny, Because of You captured my heart and captivated me from start to finish.  It is so true to life with so many ups and downs but the strong sense of family was a shining beacon of hope throughout.  One thing I will say about the characters in this book, they sure do have big babies!  Two babies are born in the book, both weighing one stone with not a raised eyebrow in sight.  It was enough to make my eyes water!

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest opinion.  I am releasing my review as part of the blog tour arranged by Bookollective.

My rating:

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