Friday 24 June 2022

Nothing Else by Louise Beech BLOG TOUR @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks #NothingElse #JubilantJune #BookReview


Heather Harris is a piano teacher and professional musician, whose quiet life revolves around music, whose memories centre on a single song that haunts her. A song she longs to perform again. A song she wrote as a child, to drown out the violence in their home. A song she played with her little sister, Harriet.

But Harriet is gone … she disappeared when their parents died, and Heather never saw her again.

When Heather is offered an opportunity to play piano on a cruise ship, she leaps at the chance. She’ll read her recently released childhood care records by day – searching for clues to her sister’s disappearance – and play piano by night … coming to terms with the truth about a past she’s done everything to forget.

An exquisitely moving novel about surviving devastating trauma, about the unbreakable bond between sisters, Nothing Else is also a story of courage and love, and the power of music to transcend – and change – everything.

Nothing Else by Louise Beech was published in paperback on 23 June by Orenda Books. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review, as part of this Blog Tour 

I have read everything that Louise Beech has written and have been a fan since book one. What is so special about this author is her ability to write beautifully in different genre. Whether a psychological thriller, or a romance or a ghost story, she never fails to engage her readers with her beautiful prose and carefully created characters. 

It's very difficult to categorise Nothing Else into genre; it's contemporary fiction that deals with the effects of a broken home on the most innocent of victims. With a dual timeline that seems effortless, the author introduces her two lead characters whilst also detailing their earliest and formative years. 

The use of music throughout this novel is wonderfully done, and it is the character's ability to lose themselves in the sounds of Chopin, Beethoven and more contemporary composers that adds so much to the story.

Heather Harris is divorced with no children. She lives in the dockside in Hull and teaches the piano, she also plays small gigs in local pubs. Heather's life is far from complete, she is haunted by the memory of her younger sister Harriet who she last saw almost thirty years ago. After the tragic death of their parents, Heather and Harriet were taken into care and one day Harriet disappeared. Heather was never told where she went and despite being brought up by a loving couple, she has always felt that a part of her is missing. Often imagining that she sees and hears Harriet. 

When Heather makes the decision to take a six weeks contract playing piano on a cruise ship, she is excited, yet frightened of the unknown. However, this trip will change her life completely. She's applied for her care records and they arrive just as she's leaving home. Stuffing them into her bag, she decides to read them whilst she's away. Although the records don't tell her a lot, she finds a hidden cutting nestled in the back and what she finds out, changes everything that she believed about herself, and her parents. 

Beech allows her readers to meet and get to know Harriet too in a clever structure style that works really well. However, for me, it was the descriptions of the girls early life that really resonated, the absolute love for their mother and the total fear of their father is so precise and so strong, it is heartbreaking in parts. 

Beech deals with quite a few complex and serious issues within Nothing Else, and these are sensitively done. The cruise ship setting is very realistic, with the descriptions of life below deck and the glamour and glitz experienced by the passengers contrasting so well. 

Tender and emotional, with a strong cast of female characters, this is an evocative and stylish story of the strength of the sisterly bond. 

All six of Louise Beech’s books have been digital bestsellers. 
Her novels have been a Guardian Readers’ Choice, shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize, and shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award. 

Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. 

Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull. 

Follow her on Twitter @louisewriter


‘An atmospheric, haunting and beautifully written page turner!’ C L Taylor

‘With secrets, lies and plenty of twisty turns... eerie and evocative’ Fionnuala Kearney

 ‘EXTRAORDINARY – tense, twisted and utterly compelling’ Miranda Dickinson

‘Superb storytelling ... claustrophobic, unsettling and intense’ Prima

‘Haunting, provocative, and true to Beech’s style: packed with pain and heart’ Jack Jordan

'It’s a gentle book, full of emotion and it’s similar in tone to The Book Thief’ The Irish Times

 ‘Moving, engrossing and richly drawn, this is storytelling in its purest form ... mesmerising’ Amanda Jennings 

'Quirky, darkly comic, but always heartfelt’ Sunday Mirror

‘Fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine will love it' Red Magazine

‘A powerful and moving story’ Madeleine Black

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