One Step Closer to You by Alice Peterson

'In this life we need three things,' I reflect, 'something to do, someone to love and something to look forward to.'

Title - One Step Closer To You
Author - Alice Peterson 
Publisher - Quercus
Publication Date - 25th September 2014
Format - eBook (Provided via NetGalley)
Pages - 384

The blurb

After Polly ends her relationship with the father of her young son, Louis, she is determined to move on. All she wants is to focus on her job, her friends and to be a good mum. No more looking over her shoulder. No more complications... 
Then Polly meets Ben. 

Ben is guardian of his niece, Emily. They become close, with Polly teaching Ben how to plait Emily's hair, and Ben playing football with Louis. Their friendship is unexpected. Polly's never been happier. 
But when Louis's dad reappears in their life, all Polly's mistakes come back to haunt her and her resolve weakens when he swears he has changed. 

Will she give herself a second chance to love? 

Becca's thoughts

Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. 

Firstly, a massive thank you to the publishers Quercus for providing me with a digital copy of Alice Peterson's One Step Closer To You via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, and an even bigger thank you to the fabulous Alice Peterson. I haven't been this gripped by a novel in a while, and it was incredible, to say the least.

One Step Closer To You is the first book that I have read by Alice, but after finishing, it's safe to say that it will not be the last. In fact, last night, I took part in a spot of late-night internet shopping, and decided to buy By My Side which looks and sounds fabulous, too. I am more than ready to delve back into a world created by Alice Peterson. 

In One Step Closer To You, we meet Polly, damaged, troubled and unprepared to let anyone try to win her heart over, after having to go through hell and back to bring herself to the surface of reality. Alice begins Polly's story by opening with a counselling session that Polly has attended. This, to me, was an absolutely brilliant way of popping Polly into a glass display case and allowing the reader to get a really good look at her as a character. After all, where else is a person more open and truthful? I could tell right away that there was something downtrodden and pessimistic about Polly, as if her past really had worn her down and ground her out to nothing. It's during this first session that we learn of Polly's son Louis, and of how Polly has managed to get to this point in her life. It truly is like a trip down memory lane, one that scratched at my heart and had me holding my breath, such an incredible journey that I won't forget for a very long time. 

The major selling point for me within this novel was Alice Peterson's chosen structure. I've said this time and time again before, but I absolutely LOVE being taken backwards and forwards in time. It just adds so much depth and believability to the characters involved, and makes you feel as if you have known the characters all your life. You know their past, where they came from, and what's happened to them during their lives. It's just brilliant, and I cannot put into words how well Alice created this within One Step Closer To You. We're taken right back to Polly's beginning, starting at just the mere age of nine years old, and then little by little, we carry on alongside Polly, joining her in the rocky and disastrous journey into adulthood. This swapping and changing of the here and now carries right the way on as the story progresses, and I have to say, I enjoyed it endlessly. 

Polly's character was one that I truly felt like good things needed to happen to. When we're taken back in time, we're invited to watch and read about her past, and never before I have wanted to save a character from their life so desperately. It was either that, or I was sat hoping and praying that things would get better for her. Alice wrote about some serious, true-to-life issues including domestic violence and alcohol addiction, and they scared me. They really scared me. Despite Polly's story being fictional, it opened my eyes to the truth that what Polly went through is happening all of the time, and if that's not a scary thought, then I don't know what is. Alice's atmospheres and writing style effortlessly had me gripped and unable to tear my eyes away. There were moments when I felt I was right there with Polly and her vile partner, who I could have gladly smacked around the head repeatedly! I felt cornered on Polly's behalf, frightened and unable to run with no-one to turn to. Alice got the tone down perfectly, and I was able to completely lose myself to Polly's horrific situation. God, it was insane, and completely and utterly overwhelming. I felt like once I had finished, I was able to take a deep, steadying breath and feel safe in the knowledge that all was well with Polly and Louis. 

Of course, in order for any character to finally have their happy ending, they usually have to go through hell, which Polly did. There were numerous times where I sat and thought to myself, "It surely can't get any worse than this for poor Polly, right?" and then Alice would prove me wrong. It was a never-ending spiral of nasty, spiteful abuse and harsh silences, and I was close to tears at one point. I wanted to dip my hand through my Kindle screen, take hold of Polly and Louis, and perhaps place them into a nicer, more positive story, where they'd be safe and happy. It's a crazy notion, I know, but when you feel so deeply involved with the characters that you're reading about, it's difficult to not care for them and want to make their circumstances a million times better. It was hard-hitting, powerful, and incredibly frightening. 

The relationships between all of Alice's characters were stunningly created, strong and believable, and effortlessly intrinsic. There was so much emotional depth behind the words and the different scenarios that Polly found herself in. I felt like a bystander watching it all happen, and it was, to tell you the truth, quite frustrating at times, because I couldn't do a damn thing. The only way I can describe Alice's talent when it came to the atmospheres and tones, was that I felt like I was drowning beneath it all. It was depressive and sickly, not something that I'd usually choose to read, but I found that once I'd started, I just couldn't put it down. Polly's story was absolutely phenomenal. 

Becca's Books is rating One Step Closer to You by Alice Peterson with FIVE GORGEOUS CUPCAKES, but please know that if I could, I'd rate this book infinitely higher. Alice Peterson has a true story-telling talent, and I cannot wait to read more from her in the future. In fact, I highly anticipate all of her future releases. Thanks so much Alice, it was bloody brilliant, one of the best that I have read this year, without a doubt. 


  1. Fabulous review. Yet another book I want. X

  2. Thank you sugar! It is seriously SERIOUSLY incredible. I want to re-read already! If only my to-read pile would allow ;) xxx