Review: Breaking Away by Anna Gavalda

 

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Breaking Away is a wonderful short novel about four siblings. Garance is travelling to a family wedding with her brother Simon and his wife Carine. Later in the journey, they sister Lola joins them. Once they arrive at the wedding the three siblings decide to go off to visit their brother Vincent in Tours leaving Carine behind.

This novel is ultimately a wonderful celebration of the love and friendship between siblings. Garance, Vincent, Simon and Lola have grown up together; they have shared memories and a lifelong connection. The day of the wedding they take time out to relive the youth they had together. Garance has such intense nostalgia during this day spent with her brothers and sister, she feels like she is borrowing time and wonders how many other days there will be like this. They’re all moving in different directions, which is natural for siblings to do but still such a wrench when they’ve always been so close.

Simon’s wife Carine at first seemed quite harsh on Garance and Lola but there doesn’t seem to be a specific reason for the irritation. As the novel goes on we learn more about Simon and Lola’s very close bond and it becomes apparent that Carine feels like an outsider to this strong family unit. She seems somewhat jealous of what the four share, even though she has two children with Simon and so has her own strong connections with him that will never be broken. It was lovely to hear Simon stick up for his wife later in the novel, and for him to explain to the others how much she means to him.

The part of the novel where Garance, Simon and Lola listen to a playlist that Vincent has made for them brought a lump to my throat. So many of people, including myself, must have made mix tapes for our younger siblings  It’s the shared history in all of those songs that you heard throughout your lives together, there is a bond that those outside will never quite understand or break though.

I very much enjoyed this novel, I loved how it was a meandering wander through Garance’s thoughts and feelings throughout the course of a day. And it was wonderful to see siblings so closely bonded and wanting to spend time together, I don’t think that happens enough in novels.

I rated this book 8 out of 10 and highly recommend it.

I was kindly given a copy of this book to read and review by Gallic Books via Net Galley in exchange for my honest review.

Breaking Away is out now and available from Amazon.

My September Reads

During September I read sixteen books and think I can safely say that I’ve got my reading mojo back! I read some absolutely brilliant books this month and honestly can’t pick a favourite. Here is a list of the books I read (in the order I read them), I’ve not reviewed all of these books but will link to the ones I have.

 

Sophie Someone by Hayley Long

Fragile and Perfectly Cracked: A Memoir of Loss and Infertility by Sophie Wyndham

A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara

Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter

Abroad by Katie Crouch

A Parcel for Anna Browne by Miranda Dickinson

Somewhere in Between by Katie Li

Chronic Pain: The Mananagement Plan by Robert Lewin

Never Too Late by Amber Portwood

#PleaseRetweet by Emily Benet

Christmas at Lilac Cottage by Holly Martin

Isabelle Day Refuses to Die of a Broken Heart by Jane St. Anthony

Bulletproof by Maci Bookout

Carefully Everywhere Descending by L. B. Bedford

Bright Stars by Sophie Duffy

Breaking Away by Anna Gavalda

It’s impossible for me to pick a favourite book from this list, I was lucky enough to read so many amazing books. I think honourable mentions have to go to A Parcel for Anna Browne and Christmas at Lilac Cottage because of the wonderful, magical powers these two books have to just make your day so much brighter and sparklier! I also want to mention #PleaseRetweet because it was the first book I’ve read in a really long time that had me full on laughing out loud. And finally I have to recommend Isabelle Day Refuses to Die of a Broken Heart because it is such a beautiful, moving look at grief and yet remains uplifting. It’s a MG/YA book but I’d recommend it to everyone, especially people who have lost a loved one.

WWW Wednesday (September 30th)

I hope I get this right as it’s my very first time joining in with a meme on this blog!

WWW Wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws this week are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

What I’m reading now… (currently reading two books so I’ll share them both)

Dying to be Slim by Abby Beverley, it’s completely different to what I was expecting but I’m very much enjoying it.

Here’s the blurb:

By the age of eighteen, Clara finds herself a single mother to two sets of twins. With her own mother absent from early childhood and the death of her father in her late teens, food becomes Clara’s crutch. Several decades on, Clara has a new partner and a fifth child. She oozes love and pride towards her flawless family, despite the fact that she is now thirty-four stone and housebound.
An unusual turn of events presents Clara with the ability to step out of her own body and, stumbling upon a problem within her ‘perfect’ family, Clara sets off in search of a solution. Far from finding answers, however, Clara encounters complications which question all she has ever believed to be true about her children, their partners and her man.
Thrust into the world outside her cosy home, Clara becomes confused to the point where she is barely able to distinguish truth from the perceived fantasy that is slowly becoming a reality…

AND

Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain. I started this late last night and only managed a couple of chapters but it’s already got me hooked!

Here’s the blurb:

When the pretending ends, the lying begins . . . Molly Arnette is good at keeping secrets. As she and her husband try to adopt a baby, she worries that the truth she’s kept hidden about her North Carolina childhood will rise to the surface and destroy not only her chance at adoption, but her marriage as well. Molly ran away from her family twenty years ago after a shocking event left her devastated and distrustful of those she loved. Now, as she tries to find a way to make peace with her past and embrace a healthy future, she discovers that even she doesn’t know the truth of what happened in her family of pretenders.
Pretending to Dance by Diane Chamberlain, the bestselling author of The Silent Sister, is a fascinating and deftly-woven novel, that reveals the devastating power of secrets.

The last books I read were…

bright stars

Bright Stars by Sophie Duffy, which was excellent. Once I got into it I found it hard to put down, and now a day after I finished it I still keep thinking about it.

Here’s the blurb:

Four students are involved in a tragedy that rips their friendship apart. What happens when they are reunited 25 years later? 
Cameron Spark’s life is falling apart. He is separated from his wife, and awaiting a disciplinary following an incident in the underground vaults of Edinburgh where he works as a Ghost Tour guide. On the day he moves back home to live with his widowed dad, he receives a letter from Canada. It is from Christie.
Twenty-five years earlier, Cameron attends Lancaster University and despite his crippling shyness, makes three unlikely friends: Christie, the rich Canadian, Tommo, the wannabe rock star and Bex, the feminist activist who has his heart. In a whirlwind of alcohol, music, and late night protests, Cameron feels as though he’s finally living; until a horrific accident shatters their friendship and alters their futures forever. Christie’s letter offers them a reunion after all these years. But has enough time passed to recover from the lies, the guilt, and the mistakes made on that tragic night? Or is this one ghost too many for Cameron?

AND

Breaking away

Breaking Away by Anna Gavalda. A wonderful book that really celebrates the relationships between siblings.

Here’s the blurb:

On a car journey to a family wedding, Garance reflects on how adult life, with its disappointments and responsibilities, has not always gone to plan for herself or her three siblings. But just around the corner lies the chance for them to revisit their younger, carefree selves. A touching, funny and insightful story by one of France’s most successful authors.

What I’ll Read Next…

The Clasp By Sloane Crossley, which I was lucky enough to receive an arc for and am so looking forward to reading.

Here’s the blurb:

Reunited for the extravagant wedding of a college friend: Kezia, the second-in-command to an eccentric jewellery designer; Nathaniel, the former literary cool kid now selling his wares in Hollywood; and Victor, who has just been fired from a middling search engine. They soon slip back into their old roles – Victor loves Kezia. Kezia loves Nathaniel. Nathaniel loves Nathaniel.
In the midst of all this semi-merriment, Victor has a bizarre encounter with the mother of the groom that triggers an obsession over a legendary necklace. Lacking employment or any other kind of tie, Victor leaves New York in search of the jewellery, supposedly stashed away in an obscure small-town chateau. And, in a bid to save him from ruining whatever is left of his young ambitions, Kezia and Nathaniel set out to find him.
Heartfelt, suspenseful and told with Sloane Crosley’s inimitable spark and wit, THE CLASP is a story of friends struggling to fit together when their lives haven’t gone as planned and of learning how to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s fake.

AND

After You by Jojo Moyes, which I treated myself to and am so excited to read. I adored Me Before You so I have high hopes for this.

Here’s the blurb:

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?
Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.
Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .
For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.