Monday, 9 April 2018

The Girl I Used To Know by Faith Hogan
Release Date: 1st December 2017
Publisher: Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus)
Genres:  Women's Fiction

A beautiful, emotive and spell-binding story of two women who find friendship and second chances when they least expect it. Perfect for the fans of Patricia Scanlan. 
Amanda King and Tess Cuffe are strangers who share the same Georgian house, but their lives couldn't be more different. 
Amanda seems to have it all, absolute perfection. She projects all the accoutrements of a lady who lunches. Sadly, the reality is a soulless home, an unfaithful husband and a very lonely heart. 
By comparison, in the basement flat, unwanted tenant Tess has spent a lifetime hiding and shutting her heart to love. 
It takes a bossy doctor, a handsome gardener, a pushy teenager and an abandoned cat to show these two women that sometimes letting go is the first step to moving forward and new friendships can come from the most unlikely situations.

The Girl I Used to know by Faith Hogan is one of those books that made me cry! Ugly, snotty crying too! This is an amazing book that just resonated so much with me and kept creeping into my thoughts for days. There's a little bit of us all in the pages of this book.

The book shifts back and forward between the past and the present, telling the story of two women - Tess and Amanda. When Tess was a young woman she had so many dreams. Dreams to escape the stifling way of life that her mother, sister and father were content with.  She'd always felt trapped in the small village where they lived. She had dreams to become a great singer. And, it looked like those dreams might just come true when she was accepted to Trinity College Dublin. Her sister reluctantly agreed to accompany her to Dublin and the pair soon find a basement flat together. A basement flat in the house that is now owned by Amanda King and her husband many years later. Time has moved on and Tess, living alone now, is  the resident they can't get rid of. She doesn't quite fit in with their image and the image that Amanda King in particular wants to portray of the area. After all, who wants a cranky, bitter old woman lowering the tone of the neighbourhood. A society couple, The Kings are desperate to kick Tess out and make full use of their house. But Tess is not for shifting. The flat holds too many memories for her.  Neither women really know one another, both too focused on their dislike for the other. But, Tess has a history that is slowly revealed throughout the book and soon we learn of the reasons for her loneliness and sadness.

Amanda King appears to have it all. A rich husband, a beautiful home, an amazing lifestyle and two well rounded teenagers. But appearances can be deceptive and to Amanda, this facade is something she fights to maintain, particularly to her group of so called friends. Meeting weekly the group love nothing more than to bitch about someone else's misfortune. Pretty soon Amanda realises that her own life as it starts to unravel will be providing fodder for the gossip. The realisation that her life is not what she thought it was soon begins to hit Amanda as she picks over the bones of her marriage and her own past.

The Girl I Used to Know is about missed chances, lost love and the chance to start over again when it seems like the world has come crashing down. Its about realising that its not too late to change and to not let the past define the future. Both women's stories are full of both sadness and hope. The friendship that forms between those two women at first appears unlikely but despite their age differences they are thrown together through circumstance, helping one another in ways they could never have imagined. Both evolve into newer, different and better versions of themselves. This is such a beautifully written novel that pulls at the heart strings and reminds us that pride can often get in the way of doing the right thing. But, that its not too late to change or follow a dream. This is a highly recommended read from me that I read in one sitting simply because the story pulled me in and wouldn't let me go!

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Faith Hogan is an original voice in women’s fiction. Her stories are warm and rooted in a contemporary Irish landscape which has lost none of its wit, charm or emotion thanks to its modern vibe. 

Faith was born in Ireland. She gained an Honours Degree in English Literature and Psychology from Dublin City University and a Postgraduate Degree from University College, Galway. She was a winner in the 2014 Irish Writers Centre Novel Fair – an international competition for emerging writers.

Her debut novel 'My Husbands Wives' is a contemporary women's fiction novel set in Dublin, published by Aria Fiction in 2016. Her second novel, 'Secrets We Keep,' is published in February 2017 - it has been included on the Netgalley 'Hot List 2017.' Her third novel - 'The Girl I Used To Know' is out in December 2017.

She is currently working on her next novel. She lives in the west of Ireland with her husband, four children and a rather busy chocolate Labrador. She's a writer, reader, enthusiastic dog walker and reluctant jogger - except of course when it is raining!

Twitter: @gerhogan

2 Responses so far.

  1. Great review, this sounds like a lovely read and one I'm adding to my TBR list! Thanks for the giveaway too x

  2. I'm from Europe and my best friend is a lady from the US. We've never met, but we talk almost daily and tell each other everything. Thank you for this wonderful giveaway <3

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