Friday 6 November 2020

BLOG TOUR: Helen and the Grandbees - Alex Morrall

Forgetting your past is one thing, but living with your present is entirely different.

Twenty years ago, Helen is forced to give up her newborn baby, Lily. Now living alone in her small flat, there is a knock at the door and her bee, her Lily, is standing in front of her.

Reuniting means the world to them both, but Lily has questions. Lots of them. Questions that Helen is unwilling to answer. In turn Helen watches helplessly as her headstrong daughter launches from relationship to relationship, from kind Andrew, the father of her daughter, to violent Kingsley who fathers her son.

When it’s clear her grandbees are in danger, tangled up in her daughter’s damaging relationship, Helen must find the courage to step in, confronting the fears that haunt her the most.

Told in Helen’s quirky voice Helen and the Grandbees addresses matters of identity, race and mental illness.

What did I think?

Oh my goodness, Helen and the Grandbees is such an emotive book that touches on some hard-hitting subjects with sensitivity and grace.  Alex Morrall has created such a wonderful character in Helen and she has wedged herself so firmly in my heart that I will never forget her.

Helen's quirky voice is apparent from the very first page and it is clear from the prologue that we are in for a heart-wrenching story.  It seems at times that Helen is stuck in her little girl body; she is still innocent and almost childlike in a way, despite the awful things that have happened to her.  Helen learnt about the birds and bees the hard way but the worst thing for Helen was having to give up her little bee, Lily.  Twenty years pass before Lily comes back to Helen in search of her heritage.

Now named Ingrid, Lily wants answers that Helen can't give her.  Helen won't divulge any details of Lily's father or even Helen's own parents and Lily is understandably upset and frustrated with Helen.  It was heartbreaking to see how this affected Lily's fledgling relationship with Helen and Lily was so self-centred that she couldn't see what damage was being done to Helen by dredging up the past.

Alex Morrall’s writing is absolutely beautiful and Helen and the Grandbees is a stunning debut.  There are some difficult subjects touched upon which give the story a dark undercurrent but Helen's quirky voice, and indeed her strength, make it such an uplifting and hopeful read.  I loved it and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it.

Thank you to Legend Press for my gifted copy; this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

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