Thursday, 4 August 2016

Beneath The Apple Blossom
Series: The Hopeful Years: Book 1
Release Date: 4th August
Publisher: Lemon Tree Press
Genres:  Contemporary Women's Fiction

Four women, linked by blood ties, friendship, betrayal, loss and hope, struggle with the choices they’ve made and the hand that life’s dealt them.
All Pippa’s ever wanted is marriage and kids, but at thirty-four and about to embark on IVF, her dream of having a family is far from certain. Her younger sister Georgie has the opposite problem, juggling her career, her lover, a young daughter and a husband who wants baby number two.

Pippa’s best friend Sienna has a successful career in the film world, and despite her boyfriend pressurising her to settle down, a baby is the last thing she wants. Happily married Connie shares the trauma of fertility treatment with Pippa, but underestimates the impact being unable to conceive will have on her and her marriage. 
As their lives collide in a way they could never have predicted, will any of them get to see their hopes realised? 


Connie stopped and looked around. She had wandered a little way off the path and was in a small grassy clearing surrounded by trees heavy with spring leaves and blossom. Not in the mood for making small talk with a stranger, she chose a spot in semi-shade out of sight of the path, leant back against the slender tree trunk and closed her eyes. A slight breeze caressed her face and every so often she got the wonderful sensation of sunlight on her. She took a deep breath and drank in the scent of damp grass and spring flowers – fresh, sweet and alive – then opened her eyes to the canopy of white against the blue sky. The apple tree was bursting with blossom like masses of white teardrops. 
She had everything to live for even if it didn’t feel like it right now. Life was a journey, and the best journeys were the ones that couldn’t be predicted before setting off, or that weren’t an easy ride to reach the destination. Right then, on a perfect spring day beneath the apple blossom, she made a pact with herself to keep loving life whatever was thrown at her. She may have suffered yet more disappointment but she could still see beauty in the world and feel at peace.

If you enjoy books that take real life issues and tackle them head on then this is the book for you. Beneath the Apple Blossom features 4 women who are all bound together by what is going on in their lives. The person I related to most was Pippa with her heartbreaking journey through the maze of IVF treatment. Whilst my own experiences were not as difficult as Pippa's, I felt that Kate Frost had perfectly captured the emptiness and heartache of not being able to conceive and all the stress that goes with it. Yes there are quite a few bits of jargon to get through associated with infertility but Kate has very thoughtfully provided explanations for all the abbreviations used. I did smile at how easily Pippa and her friend Connie fell into the infertility language and how it became such a part of their everyday norm. Both women tied by their heartbreak, effecting them in ways they could never have imagined before embarking on trying to conceive. 

While Sienna and Georgie appear to have the perfect lives, all is not rosy for them either. Despite having the 'perfect family,' Georgie is restless and unfulfilled, marrying too young and hastily regretting it. Motherhood and marriage is not all that she expected it to be. She is frustrated with her life and seeks excitement and passion and is too easily tempted by a work colleague. The added pressure of her husband wanting a second child when Georgie can hardly cope with the child they have, all push Georgie to her limits.

Sienna appears to have the ideal high flying life, travelling all around the world with her job and a sexy boyfriend on tap, her perfect set up is about to come crumbling down around her ears with her boyfriend wanting more commitment than Sienna is prepared to give. She is a thoroughly modern woman who is career driven and is fiercely wanting to hold onto her independence. But, at what cost? She must try to strike a balance between holding onto her boyfriend and not losing her own identity in his desire to settle down. A struggle many women face.

Kate Frost has written such a good and emotive story showing how each of these women appears to want what the others have. No one is happy in their lives and things have not worked out how each woman had envisaged. It's almost as though each of the women has been born into the wrong life and this is cruel and ironic. But, real life is like that and that's why I loved this book so much. The book moves along and a good pace and the writing is superb. Each of the characters is interesting, complex and although at times the reader may not agree with their actions, we become very emotionally invested in the outcomes for each. A great book and right up there on my highly recommended list! 

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Kate Frost is a writer and author with a MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University where she has also taught the lifewriting course to Creative Writing undergraduates. Alongside writing articles and short stories for magazines such as New Welsh Review, The London Magazine and QWF, Kate has worked in a bookshop, a cinema, as ground staff at Edgebaston Tennis Tournament and as a Supporting Artist in the films Vanity Fair, King Arthur and The Duchess

Kate’s debut novel, The Butterfly Storm, was published in 2013 and featured on Amazon’s Movers and Shakers chart. Beneath the Apple Blossom is the first book in a series and Kate also plans to release the first in a time travel adventure trilogy for children by the end of 2016.  

Kate lives in Bristol with her husband, her young son and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, and fits in writing and publishing books around looking after – and being amused by – an energetic toddler.  

One Response so far.

  1. Fabulous review, JB! Really made my day x

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