Monday 17 April 2023

Preloved by Lauren Bravo BLOG TOUR #Preloved @Laurenbravo @simonschusterUK @RandomTTours #BookReview #PrelovedTheNovel


Gwen is coasting through life. She’s in her mid-thirties, perpetually single, her friends are busy procreating in the countryside and conversations with her parents seem to revolve entirely around the council’s wheelie-bin timetable.

 And she’s lonely. But then, isn’t everyone?

 When she’s made redundant from a job she hardly cares about, she takes herself out for a fancy dinner. There she has the best sticky toffee pudding of her life and realises she has no one to tell. She vows to begin living her life fully, reconnect with her friends and family, and finally book that dentist’s appointment. 

 Gwen decides to start where all things get a second chance: her local charity shop. There, with the help of the weird and wonderful people and donated items bursting with untold stories, Gwen will find a way to move forward with bravery, tenacity, and more regular dental care.

 Dazzlingly witty, Preloved is a tale about friendship, loss and being true to yourself no matter the expectations. Lovingly celebrating the enduring power and joy of charity shops.

Preloved by Lauren Bravo is published on 29 April 2023 by Simon and Schuster. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this #RandomThingsTours Blog Tour 

Sometimes I pick up a book and begin to read and think that the author wrote the novel especially for me. Some books are just perfectly tuned to my life. Preloved by Lauren Bravo is one of those books. I was entranced by the character of Gwen, and the plot within minutes and that feeling didn't go away, right up until the very last page. 

I was brought up by the most amazing little Irish Mammy, and long before charity shops were popular, we spent hours rifling through piles of old clothes at jumble sales. Then, as charities began to open their shops, these places became our new haunts.  Both of us could afford to shop at high street stores, but there is just something very special about a charity shop, and the treasures within. Sadly, my Mum is no longer with us, but I proudly carry on the charity shopping in her memory. 

Gwen is a thirty-something woman, living alone in London. As the book begins, she is let go from her job, not sacked, but it's made plain to her that the bosses are not happy about that thing that she told one of their clients. 

Gwen didn't really like her job, it was something that she drifted into and stayed at because it was easy. When she and her friend Suze first began living in London, all those years ago, they had dreams. Suze is now firmly married, with a house full of slate grey objects, whilst Gwen is still dreaming. 

Putting together a list of things she must do, including ring her parents and visit the dentist, Gwen takes on a voluntary role at the local charity shop. This is where she really finds herself, amongst the discarded items from other people, the objects that are some people's rubbish and some people's treasures, she begins to make friends with the other staff members. 

Interwoven between Gwen's story are pieces about the items that find their way onto the shelves of the shops, and these are just beautiful. As the reader learns more about Gwen, her family, and her fellow volunteers, these short pieces about seemingly random items add so much depth to the overall story.

Whilst this is packed with warmth, wit and humour, the author also touches on some very emotional issues. We learn about Gwen's grief, and how she and her parents have lived their lives since the awful day that shaped their lives forever. We hear about Gwen's ex-boyfriend Ryan, and how she decided that she wasn't ready to marry him after all. We learn about her amazing friendship with Suze, how they've grown, sometimes apart, but always meeting in the middle. 

This really is my perfect book. It is written with so much compassion, humour and insight. I loved it and highly recommend it. 


Lauren Bravo is a freelance journalist who writes about fashion, popular culture, food, travel and feminism, for publications including Grazia, Refinery29 UK, Cosmopolitan, Stylist, easyJet Traveller, Time Out, Delicious, the Telegraph and the Guardian.

She is the author of two non-fiction books, What Would the Spice Girls Do? (2018) and How To Break Up With Fast Fashion (2020).

Lauren lives in East London, and Preloved is her debut novel.

Find out more on her website

Twitter @Laurenbravo

Instagram @laurenbravo

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