Monday 7 September 2020

BLOG TOUR: Only Human - Diane Chandler


Every betrayal has a consequence... One family... one summer... one woman...

Anna Bond is floundering. Tiger mum to tricky teen Sophie, now slipping through her fingers, and loyal wife to big sociable Ollie, whom she no longer trusts, what does she do next with her life? Once a confident career woman, after so many years at home and the school gate, Anna now finds her mind is chattering and her soul is searching - for what matters. Then Jack walks into their lives. Sophie’s first boyfriend is a breath of fresh air for the whole family, and Anna gradually discovers new purpose for herself. But when deceit creeps in, tensions surface, and she finds herself propelled through a tangled web of secrets and lies towards a devastating climax.

What did I think?

Now and again a book comes along that is so special you want to shout about it from the rooftops; Only Human is that book for me.  So here I am up on the roof trying to find the words to review this utterly breathtaking novel.  I absolutely adored Diane Chandler's novel, Moondance, so I couldn't wait to read what she wrote next.  Only Human is a sublime read from beginning to end and I have never been so engrossed in a book outside of the crime genre.

From the first page the reader is launched into the midst of a Bond family drama: Anna has just discovered that her husband, Ollie, is having an affair.  Wanting to keep Ollie's indiscretion hidden from their daughter, Sophie, they attempt to maintain a united front.  Beneath the surface though, Anna is in turmoil and she searches for a way to find herself again.  I feared that the sticking plaster they put over their marriage would come unstuck at some point as once the trust is gone, it's so difficult to get it back.

The focus shifts from their marital problems when Sophie gets her first boyfriend.  Jack is welcomed into the Bond's home and becomes one of the family, but teenage love doesn't last forever.  It is often said that women are attracted to men who are like their father, and Jack may be more like Ollie than Sophie realises.  You really feel the mother daughter bond being stretched to the limit when Anna tries to speak to Sophie about Jack.

As if Anna doesn't have enough going on, she volunteers at Old Friends where she meets the most wonderful octogenarian, Fred.  Oh Fred is such a marvelous character, he's like everyone's favourite Grandad and it's so heartbreaking to see his health decline.  Diane Chandler's beautiful words paint such a poignant picture of Fred and shows how we try to turn a blind eye and pretend everything is fine rather than admit that our loved ones are failing.

Only Human is an outstanding novel of a family in turmoil filled with so much betrayal, revenge and drama that I could hear the dramatic EastEnders drum beats in my head as pivotal moments played out on the page.  Diane Chandler writes from the heart and tells such a marvellous story of human nature that I experienced a wealth of emotions whilst reading.  

From humour (I'll never be able to look at an M&S carrier bag without laughing) to heartbreak, Only Human is an exceptional book and one I will never forget.  I could read it again right now, I enjoyed it so much.  Only Human is a book that deserves so much more than 5 stars to really show how awesome it is; I can't recommend it highly enough.  

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

Diane Chandler worked first as a political lobbyist in Brussels. Then at the European Commission, where she managed overseas aid programmes in Ukraine just after the fall of communism. Ukraine became the subject for her prize-winning first novel. Diane lives in west London and is available for interviews, events and feature-writing commissions. She is the presenter of the Chiswick Buzz TV Book Club – Words With Wine in W4.

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