Would-be artist and hopeless romantic, Elda Brown’s mundane life is suddenly brightened after a brief run-in with barrister, Charlotte Mason.
Career-driven fixer, Charlie has created a solid reputation at work and in between the sheets. She tends to hold people at arm’s length and is content with no-strings affairs, that is until she meets and gets to know Elda Brown.
As Charlie and Elda navigate their newfound friendship and form a strong bond, they both find the strength within themselves to confront the scars of their past. But what happens when romantic feelings surface and their histories become difficult to face? Can they find the courage to unlock their hearts and find the happiness they truly deserve?
Debut author, Jo Fletcher has crafted a tale about two women who must come to terms with their pasts to make a future together. The first part of the book is pretty lighthearted with Charlie and Elda navigating their new friendship but as the story progresses and layers are revealed, the book takes on a much deeper and more dramatic tone. Fletcher does a great job creating booths parts of the story and I found myself completely immersed in each main character’s pain. The dialogue flows naturally and the various towns and cities the main characters found themselves in were all described in perfect detail.
Pros And My Favourite Parts
Charlie is a hotshot barrister in London who doesn’t have time for relationships because she’s working all the time. Her parents are lovely and supportive and I found myself wanting to spend more time with them. Trauma from Charlie’s past has dictated her feelings about relationships and has shaped many of her adult decisions. As I read the story, I found Charlie’s character to be a lot deeper than I had anticipated, which was a pleasant surprise.
Elda’s childhood revolved around an absent father, an emotionally unavailable alcoholic mother, and a wonderfully caring grandmother. To say her familial relationships shaped her adulthood is a large understatement. She has abandonment issues that she hasn’t faced along with a lack of self-confidence. She’s a talented artist who fortunately has her best friend, Jack as her ultimate cheerleader. I liked Elda from the start as she is kind, compassionate, and self-deprecating and I absolutely adore her relationship with her grandmother.
One of my favorite parts of this book is how Charlie and Elda meet! The friendship that develops between them is exactly what they both need and the segue into a romantic relationship happens at the right time (and place). I also love how the title of the book is woven throughout, and perfectly placed.
Death of a loved one, suicide (off page), and alcoholism are all themes in this book.
Here You Are is a lovely novel by newcomer Jo Fletcher. I was fully invested in the story of Charlie and Elda from the first page and couldn’t put the book down. The characters are dynamic, the multiple settings were perfectly described, and the dialogue flows seamlessly. The emotions this story evokes may leave a reader tearing up in places, but that’s all part of the experience of reading a good book. If this is Jo Fletcher’s debut, I can’t wait to see what she has in store next. I believe that she will have a long and prosperous career as a sapphic romance author so go ahead and give Here You Are a try, you won’t be disappointed!
Excerpt from Here You Are by Jo Fletcher
She reached the main road and straightened her shoulders. She needed to keep her mind on the journey. The roads were pitch black, and it had started to rain. She fiddled with the windscreen wipers but struggled to settle on the perfect speed. She loved her Ford Capri. An oldie and a goodie but at times like these, it showed its age.
Rounding the bend, she blinked at two full beams straight ahead and knocked her own lights down. As her eyes adjusted in the darkness, something appeared on the side of the road. It took a second to register, but the shape was in the road, and she was going to hit it. She swerved the steering wheel, slammed the brakes, and the car screeched. Charlie closed her eyes and braced for the impact, but it didn’t come.
Scanning the darkness, she couldn’t see a trace of the shape. She grabbed at the car door and forced it into the night. Panicked, she clambered across uneven ground to the spot behind her that she’d swerved to avoid. Lying in the depths of a grass verge was a woman.
“Shit. Are you okay?”
The woman groaned but rolled over and moved to get up.
“Hold on. I’ll come and help you.”
“Don’t worry, I’m fine,” the woman said.
“Christ, I’m so sorry. Are you hurt?”
“No. Please, it’s not your fault.” The woman was on her feet, and although she was leaning into Charlie’s arms, she looked intact. “I was walking along a main road. You didn’t hit me. I just jumped out of the way and lost my footing.”
Charlie stood her in front of the headlights and tried to check her over.
“Ah.” The woman winced. “I think I might have done something to my arm.”
“I’ll take you to the hospital.” Charlie guided her to the passenger seat. “I’m sorry, I don’t even know your name.”
“Stop apologising. It’s Elda.”
Charlie paused and looked at the woman’s face for the first time. “Hi, Elda. I’m Charlie.”
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Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 978-1915009449
Publisher: Butterworth Books
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