Coming Home to You by Liesel Schmidt

There is no expiration date for grief.

Title - Coming Home to You
Author - Liesel Schmidt 
Publisher - Carina UK
Publication Date - 6th November 2014
Format - eBook (Provided NetGalley)
Pages - 254

The blurb

When one door closes...

Zoe and her fiancé Paul had everything ahead of them. So when Paul dies suddenly, Zoe doesn't recognise the life she's left with. Helping a friend by house-sitting for a stranger is the last thing she wants to do - but she can't deny that she needs time away from the memories which crowd her flat. 
So, collecting the keys, Zoe lets herself into her temporary home.

...another one opens. 

Surrounded by a stranger's belongings - his toothbrush, his favourite records, the pictures on his walls - Zoe begins to build a picture of the flat's owner, Neil, who is away in the military. Driven by a need to know more, Zoe begins writing to Neil and finds herself feeling an unlikely connection with him. But while some people are destined to share our lives forever, others are sent simply to help us on our way. And for Zoe, a new life just beginning...

Becca's thoughts

First thing's first. Thank you to the fabulous bunch at Carina UK! I absolutely LOVE the books that they publish, they always seem to be right up my street, and the same goes for Coming Home to You by Liesel Schmidt. And of course, thank you to the author for providing me with such a beautiful, emotional story. So powerfully heart-wrenching. It's safe to say that I shed much more than a single tear or two. 

In Coming Home to You, the reader is introduced to Zoe, who has recently lost her fiancé Paul. Straight away, I wanted to wrap Zoe up in my arms and squeeze her. What an awful, heart-breaking thing to have to go through. I would never have been able to put myself into Zoe's shoes, but Liesel's powerful way with words really allowed me to experience those shattering emotions for myself. Never before I have been able to say that, but it's so damn true. Every single inch of Zoe's grief was detailed to a point that I had no choice but to really feel it, too. The hopelessness, the feeling of being lost and unsure... It all felt so incredibly real. The feeling of having the rug ripped right from beneath your feet was how I imagined Zoe to have felt. She and Paul hadn't even had the chance to get married, and it really emphasised how tragic Zoe's story was. The amount of sorrow and despair within the pages at the beginning almost seemed like it was too much, but I was hoping and praying so hard that things were going to get better for the dear woman, I couldn't just turn away and leave her. Zoe quickly began to feel like a friend of mine, and abandonment was not on the cards.

I'm not sure exactly sure of what I was expecting when I began Coming Home to You. It's not very often that I'll read something so saddening and joyless, but there was something so very compelling about Zoe. I can't put my finger on what it was, I guess the fact that she was so young, and that she couldn't even be called a widow because her and Paul had never married, really hit a chord with me. I mean, it's like they never had a chance. It was so incredibly thought-provoking, and it truly made me realise how much we can sometimes take the most important things in our lives for granted. Paul's death was out of the blue, and Zoe had no forewarning or any indication that he was going to be taken so quickly from her life. The shock and confusion was so evidently clear in Liesel's words and emotive descriptions, and it was so utterly hooking. I have to say, that amid my usual romance reads, this was definitely different, and it caught my attention, hook, line and sinker. 

The plot in Coming Home to You kept me interested, although I wouldn't say that I found it hard to put down. That's not in a bad way, by the way, more in the way that I didn't want to rush it. I wanted to take my time with it, and really absorb Liesel's words, and Zoe's story itself. It's not the sort of book that you'll finish and forget about. To me, it was so much more than that. It was a story that shone a golden ray of light onto the fact that you can't give up hope or faith. That sooner or later, you have to start living again. 

It was like I had been invited to join Zoe in her re-discovery of life. I absolutely loved the turn of events that took place within her story, and I was right beside her the entire way through, cheering her on. It was pure magic. If I was to have compared Zoe at the beginning of the story, and then Zoe at the end of the story, then the difference between them would have been astounding. Zoe's transformation back to being a living, breathing human being again was one that moved me in so many ways. It gave me faith in life, and helped me to believe that no matter what happens, you can carry on and continue to live. With the help of Zoe's friends, and a little sprinkle of fate too, Zoe took baby steps towards her future, and her life begins to fall into shape. 

Overall, I loved it. It was a beautiful, inspiring story that I would recommend to everybody. The power behind Liesel's words blew me away, and I quite like to imagine Zoe continuing onwards into her future now, even as I write. Bravo, Liesel. Such an incredible debut, and I really cannot wait to read more from the fantastically talented author! Five cupcakes from me, I have no doubts about it. 



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