I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Please Release Me begins at a wedding.
Sally is the not-very-blushing bride, Peter the groom, and it’s immediately apparent that Sally is a woman with Secrets of the capital S type. I had noted by page three that ‘I don’t like Sally’…and then chapter One begins with Sally in a coma ten months after a horrible car crash on her way to their honeymoon, and poor Peter not knowing which way is up anymore.
The Peter we saw from Sally’s perspective was handsome, malleable, and (importantly) wealthy. This Peter is tired, and drained, and stuck. He doesn’t know when or if Sally will wake up, let alone get better, and his life is a sort of horrible waiting room of work, visit Sally at the long-term care wing of the hospice, sleep, repeat. He is merely existing in limbo, and it’s taking its toll on him physically, emotionally and mentally.
In another part of the hospice is Grace. She’s visiting Margaret, who was friends with Grace’s mum – Grace has lost both of her parents to long-term illnesses – and Grace is also stuck in her own kind of limbo as a ‘recovering’ carer.
Sally herself is a lot more present in the book than you’d expect from a woman in a long-term coma, and she’s still a force to be reckoned with!
I’m not going to go into the plot anymore than that, because I think this is really the kind of book a reader needs to read and experience for themselves.
What I will say is that this book is exceptionally well written. Ms Baxter tackles some really heavy themes in the book; guilt; grief; dishonesty; addiction; life as a carer; and she does it deftly, and with sensitivity and humour. Despite the fact this is a ‘romance’, it is also a book which engendered a whole wealth of emotions and questions in me. The characters are brought to life in such a way as to make them vividly real – Paul’s exhaustion and Grace’s inability to grieve and move on were heavy, tangible sensations while reading.
I think that if I have any criticism of Please Release Me, it’s that the ending felt a little neat and rushed. I would have liked a little more…I don’t know…explanation? The characters and situations had developed quite slowly throughout the book, and the resolution just felt a little ‘ta-daa! Done!’ – although this is probably more a reflection on me than the story. What I did love is that the (all-important) Happy Ever After felt ‘right’.
If you have read ‘Girl On The Run’, or ‘Doctor January’, which are the author’s other novels through Choc Lit, you’ll probably find this to be a little different in tone and delivery: it’s a deeper, more mature love story. But it is written with the deft characterisation and emotional richness which are already a hallmark of Ms Baxter’s books.
Rating: 4.5 stars – very highly recommended!
Please Release Me is available to pre-order on Amazon now and is released on September 10th.
Please Release Me (Choc Lit) https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B013SY9CCG/ref=aw_ss_kndl_dp/