BLOG TOUR ~ P.S. Olive You by Lizzie Allen

Title - P.S. Olive You
Author - Lizzie Allen
Publication Date - August 25th 2015
Publisher - Maze
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided via publisher)

Sun, sea... and a summer of endless possibilities.

From the glossy streets of Chelsea to a tiny Greek hideaway, Faith Cotton is about to have a summer that she will never forget!

Young bored housewife, Faith Cotton, escapes her stifling Chelsea life when her husband suggests they decamp to a tiny island in the Greek Cyclades for the summer. He works for the foreign office and has the inside scoop on 'the Greek situation'. Europe is pouring money into Greece and, far from going down the plughole, Andrew believes that the island of Iraklia will soon see a tourist boom.

As Andrew flies back and forth between Greece and Brussels, he leaves Faith in charge of finding them a permanent holiday home on the island. But things don't go to plan - over the course of a summer, Faith's doomed marriage begins to unravel, and far from finding a house she set out for, she finally discovers the person she really is...

When I was contacted about the blog tour for Lizzie Allen's novel P.S. Olive You, I thought it sounded brilliant, and coupled with such a winning cover, how could I resist? Immediately, I assumed that what I'd be reading would involve a summer holiday and, most probably, would eventually lead to a summer romance of some sort. I pictured hot, sandy beaches, a whirlwind of passion and chemistry, and perhaps a very angry husband trailing behind this destruction. I was thrilled when I realised that P.S Olive You was actually going to be offering me, as a reader, so much more to really get my teeth stuck into. (Still completely in love with that cover though, it's a beauty!)

The author, Lizzie Allen, expertly explores a number of aspects within P.S Olive You, including the breakdown of a marriage, familial relationships, politics, financial issues and feminism. As much I truly adore my lighter summer-reading options, I found P.S. Olive You to not only be a thoroughly enjoyable read with complex characters and interesting circumstances, but also a fantastic insight into real-life issues and raw realism. It was clear to me that Allen knew a thing or two about the subjects which she chose to discuss within the novel, and I admired her skill and intellect throughout the progression of P.S. Olive You, which shone through whenever those subjects arose. The author was detailed and on-point, precise and neat with the telling of Faith Cotton's story which progressed at a nice, easy pace in the most gorgeous setting of a stunning Greek island.

More than just a holiday romance, the relationships between Lizzie's characters were deep and meaningful. They were intricate and winding, wrapping around not only Lizzie and the man she feels so close to, but also Lizzie's husband and her mother-in-law too. When something major happened, I was dying to get to the consequence stage because the tension was so high and palpable. Lizzie managed to make me care for Faith so greatly, I began to take a dislike towards her husband and his mother. There were so many ideals and so much pressure surrounding Faith, and how she should act and what she should do. While I was riveted, it was impossible for me not to feel the weight of Lizzie's world on my own shoulders. What I wanted more than anything was for Lizzie to let herself go and free herself from the pressures of her life because it came clear that that was what she really and truly needed to do. There were so many wonderful characters within P.S. Olive You who brought this novel fantastically to life. From the islanders to Lizzie's own family, there was a whole cast for me to be introduced to. Not only this, but Lizzie Allen's writing was witty and amusing, making this a pure pleasure of a read.

Overall, P.S. Olive You by Lizzie Allen was a thoroughly enjoyable novel, not only focusing on romance and humour, but more significant themes too, that gave me so much food for thought. With a beautiful location hiding a number of issues beneath the appealing surface, it really is a delicious novel to pop beside your sun-lounger! Becca's Books is awarding P.S. Olive You by Lizzie Allen with four cupcakes!

*Special thanks to Lizzie Allen and Avon UK for providing me with a digital copy of P.S. Olive You in exchange for a fair and honest review*

"A lot of my friends can't understand how I can be a feminist and love chick lit, but I have no problem with the genre! I adore Helen Fielding and think in many ways Bridget Jones is a great female role model.

I suppose 'PS Olive You' is a weird mash-up of chick-lit sentimentality and out-and-out feminist polemics. In some parts the novel quotes directly from turn of the century British feminist Mina Loy - 'Women must destroy in themselves the desire to be loved' - not what one would normally expect from the genre, but then again I readers of chick lit are often underestimated as an audience.

I also use the backdrop of the global meltdown as a metaphor for a failing marriage. As a phenomenon, the Credit Crunch reflects the deeply complex nature of passivity. We all enjoyed sipping on the cup of excess during the boom years. Now we want someone else punished. I chose the Cyclades to locate the story because the Greeks are even more complicit in this problem since they voted in bad politicians but them blamed the EU when it all went wrong. In my mind this is similar to the problem of educated wives who accept the patronage of career-driven husbands and relinquish their income-earning capabilities, only to get frustrated later when they have lost control of their lives. No matter how far feminism has brought us, he who controls the purse strings owns the power.

This is not to say I sit in judgement of women who park their careers whilst raising children. I myself went back to uni after I had babies so that I could study at home when my children were young. It was a financial strain but frankly, the cost of childcare was worse! I am encouraging my own daughter to take a career path that will allow her to work flexible hours so that she will not be forced to choose between the love of her children and the stimulation of her career.

The burden of childrearing is a limiting factor for women certainly, but it sometimes distracts the debate from focusing on other issues. Our fear of risk-taking for a start. At the end of the book my main character Fay Cotton takes a staggering risk as an allegorical message to women of my generation.

We also don't demand enough for ourselves in the work place. It's simply outrageous that there is a gender pay gap of near on 20% in this day and age. Childrearing is partly to blame, but it's only part of the story as, far too often, we hang back while men are willing to push their own agendas forward.

That's why I took the decision to make the main character in the story childless. The monster she is grappling with is her own passivity and desire for conformity and approval. That's what restricts her more than anything and at the end of the novel that's what she finally comes to grips with."

Writing is a third career for Lizzie as she previously worked as TV Producer and before that in PR. She lives in London with her husband (who looks like James Bond!) and has a daughter at Edinburgh University studying history and history of art, and son who models for Elite International and is currently swanning around the world on a gap year.


1 comment :

  1. Oh my Goodness! What a fabulous review. Thank you so much :)
    Lizzie Allen xxxxxxxx