Monday 6 January 2020

The First Time I Saw You by Emma Cooper BLOG TOUR @ItsEmmaCooper @headlinepg #TheFirstTimeISawYou #RandomThingsTours

Lost: Six-foot-two Irish man who answers to the name Samuel McLaughlin.  
Has weak shins and enjoys show tunes. If found, please return to Sophie Williams. Before Sophie met Samuel she saw the world in grey. Before Samuel met Sophie, he never believed in love at first sight. When they first meet, something tells them they are meant to be. But fate has other ideas. Now they have lost each other and can't see a way back. But they've already changed each other's lives in more ways than they ever expected...

The First Time I Saw You by Emma Cooper is published in paperback by Headline on 9 January 2020.  My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. I am delighted to share my thoughts today as part of the #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour

I read and reviewed Emma Cooper's debut novel, The Songs of Us in September 2018. That book has stayed with me ever since.

This is what I said about how that story affected me:

" I read The Songs of Us during my holiday in Rhodes at the end of September. I rarely cry. I never cry in public.  I cried as I was reading The Songs of Us, I cried in public, sitting by the pool. There were big fat tears, some snot and a few strange looks from fellow holiday makers. This is a beautifully written, heartbreaking yet uplifting story. I fell in love with the characters immediately, and they continue to haunt me. "

I approached her second novel, The First Time I Saw You with some trepidation and a huge box of tissues. Whilst I was never a Girl Guide, I like to 'be prepared' and if my last experience was anything to go by, I would probably need them.    I did.

Oh Sophie and Samuel, how I miss you! Here are a pair of incredibly created characters who ensnared me from the beginning. They took me along their journey, and I was privy to every one of their emotions. When I turned that final page I actually felt so very sad that they wouldn't be part of my day any longer.

So, the story, and what a complicated tale of first love, lost love, missed opportunities and the power of families it is.  Sophie is a career-driven woman, still young but heading for the top. She's in America to present a potential take-over bid to a large company. Everything rests on this presentation, and she's worked damn hard to make sure that it will succeed.
Sophie is a difficult character to understand at first, however, I loved her from the very first introduction and as we slowly learn more about her, it's so easy to love her even more.

Samuel is Irish, living in America and working in IT. He and Sophie meet unexpectedly and are completely smitten by each other, at first sight. They spend a wonderful few days together, and then it ends.

I can't say why, or how, but needless to say, it's heart-breaking and so beautifully written.

What follows is the story of how Sophie and Samuel move forward. It is multi-layered and packed with the most intricate and carefully created characters who are far more than just a supporting cast. This talented author weaves a story that incorporates childhood losses, strong family relationships, tragedy and laugh out loud humour. I roared with laughter whilst spending time with Samuel and his parents; as the child of an Irish mother, I can confirm that Mrs McLaughlin is the perfect 'Irish Mammy' and Mr M is the father-in-law of dreams with a heart of kindness and understanding that betrays his brash exterior.

That's all from me about the plot, I can't mention many things as that would spoil this outstanding book for others, but I do recommend that you look out for Michael. Not since Winston in Tom Hanks' film 'Castaway' has an inanimate object made me smile so much!

Here we are; 6 January and already I have a Top Book of the Year for my list.

Wonderfully touching, heart-warming, moving and so very funny in places. This is an emotional journey of love, lost and found, and is highly recommended by me.

Emma Cooper is a former teaching assistant, who lives in Shropshire with her partner and four children. She spends her spare time writing novels, drinking wine and watching box-sets with her partner of twenty-four years, who still makes her smile every day. Emma has always wanted to be a writer – ever since childhood, she’s been inventing characters (her favourite being her imaginary friend ‘Boot’) and is thrilled that she now gets to use this imagination to bring to life all of her creations.
Twitter @ItsEmmaCooper
Author Page on Facebook
Instagram @itsemmacooper

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