We got tickets to hear author Jodi Picoult talk about her new book Sing You Home.
Today was the third time that we've been to see Jodi, the first was in Harrogate when her novel Nineteen Minutes was published and we saw her again last year during the Lincoln Book Festival.
Today's event was made more special as Jodi was joined onstage by her friend Ellen Wilber who is a beautifully talented singer. Ellen has recorded the songs for the CD that goes alongside Sing You Home.
As always, Jodi was a joy to listen to. She is open and honest and a very compassionate woman. Her novels deal with up to the minute issues, and always have a twist - something that I particularly enjoy as I sometimes like to make my own mind up about the ending of a story.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on an advance copy of Sing You Home a couple of months ago, here are my thoughts:
Oh my! Another absolutely compelling read and most definitely one of her very best. There has been some online criticism that Jodi Picoult writes to a formula, I'm not sure that is completely true, but agree that her novels are always about social issues, family drama and relationships. Yes, once again, the story is narrated individually by the main characters, but as always, it really does work. What better way to see all sides of the same story? If this is formula - then it works for me as a fan, and certainly works for Ms Picoult as an author - why change something that certainly isn't broken.
It's also a shame that her books are labelled as 'courtroom dramas' when they are so much more than that. Her books deal with real, social, topical issues, with real families and people dealing with real life and not just the legalities and court procedures. Although there is no doubt that she does write the court-room episodes very well indeed.
So, back to Sing You Home; there are so many different issues dealt with in this novel, at first I wondered if it was too many, but as the story is told and the plot unfolds each issue knits together perfectly and only adds to the drama and to the plot.
Zoe, the music therapist, and desperate to be a Mother married to Max the reformed drinker and bit of a beach bum - both ordinary, everyday people whose lives have been changed by the fact that they can't naturally conceive. The impact of their loss on their marriage and where they turn for help influences the rest of the story. It's difficult to say too much without giving away the plotline, but homosexuality and religion play a large part in the story.
There were times I had to close the book and take a deep breath to control my anger. The outrage I felt towards some of the characters was enormous - that a fictional story and made-up characters can provoke such emotion says a lot for the quality of the writing.
Picoult fans will not be disappointed with this.