In the early years of their love affair, Romilly was happy. She had worked hard for her stunning, modern house in one of Bristol’s most fashionable suburbs. She adored her gorgeous, gap-toothed daughter and her handsome, kind husband. Sure, life was sometimes exhausting – but nothing that a large glass of wine at the end of the day couldn’t fix. And then a new neighbour arrived and everything unravelled.
Another Love by Amanda Prowse Review
A Dangerous Game of Snakes and Ladders
I will admit that when it comes to Amanda Prowse, I was a little later to the game than most. The first book I reviewed by Amanda was The Perfect Daughter. It was a poignant book and one that struck a chord with me personally. On finishing the last page, I was hooked on Prowse and straight away downloaded 3 more of her previously released novels on Audible.
When we were given the opportunity at The Glass House to review Amanda’s latest novel as a pre-release I jumped at the chance to get an advanced look at her latest work.
I had no idea what I was letting myself in for.
I was so excited at the opportunity, that before the manuscript even came through the door, I had downloaded the pre-release PDF we had been sent through. I sat, with my iPhone 5s in hand and thought ‘Sod it, I’ll start reading on this until the book arrives.‘
I never did read the physical copy. My husband however got a taste of his own medicine when all he saw of me in the days that followed, was my phone stuck to my hand and my eyes glued to the screen. I was totally hooked.
This heart-achingly honest book took me on an emotional roller coaster. It left me heartbroken, bereft and utterly in love all at the same time. At times I found myself screaming at the screen (which left my husband a little concerned) and I was left with an undeniable love for a family that I knew perfectly well were purely fictional.
Only they are not. That’s the point. The family in this novel are not entirely fictional. Amanda Prowse has captured the real life emotions that just about any family across the world could very well be experiencing right now and poured their pain and heartbreak onto the pages of this very unique book.
In short. I was stunned.
Ok, so before I divulge any more of my own feelings on the novel, let’s take a look at what it’s actually all about.
Romilly is a young lady who most of us can identify with.
The bright intelligent girl who struggles through childhood and teenage years to ‘find herself’ in a world where she is the ‘geeky’ school loving girl in a house where her beautiful and vivacious twin sisters dominate. As she embarks on her adult years, she becomes the object of affection for one of the ‘good looking guys’ during a chance encounter at the library. David of course falls head over heels in love with Romilly, and as a reader, you can see that but the shy geeky girl just can’t resolve it in her own very self-conscious and unworthy mind. She is still the ‘Bug Girl’.
Each and every day she fears David will realise he can ‘get better’ and leave her. But he doesn’t. David loves her. ‘Proper Love’. The geeky girl got the guy and life couldn’t be sweeter.
They happily drink themselves through adolescence, enjoying the throws of young love and newly-wedded bliss. Everyone likes a drink now and again, right?
Then Celeste comes along. A beautiful bouncing baby girl and Romilly is so utterly filled with love for her perfect little family. Life was good. Exhausting, but nothing that a glass of wine at the end of the day couldn’t fix. It was fine.
Then she arrived.
The loose lipped divorced loudmouth that moved in next door. Romilly’s life suddenly takes a turn when one or two glasses of wine turn into three or four bottles with the divorcee David calls a ‘bad influence’.
From ‘Proper Love’ to ‘Another Love’…
Perfect family life to alcoholism. Amanda Prowse takes you on a journey through the eyes of two extraordinary women knitted together with a past that will both bind and break them in equal measure. We watch the journey through Romilly’s eyes as we sympathise with her struggle. At the same time we are pulled into poor Cecily’s life as she describes what the world is like form the other side of the coin.
This novel changed my views on Alcoholism.
I never expected it. I never once imagined that I could be walked hand in hand down the path of someone’s life so far removed from mine, but with each word I read I was right there with Romilly. In her darkest moments and her deepest heartbreak I cried with her. I shouted and screamed as she fell apart. I wanted to reach into the book and change the words on the page, change the path that she was taking. I felt the heartbreak of her daughter and the tears that were pouring down her husband’s cheeks. I felt them because as he cried I cried.
We follow Romilly on her game of snakes and ladders and just when you think it’s getting better she tumbles down the slippery slide that is the serpent of temptation only to find herself faced with the bottom rung of a ladder looking up to a silver lining seemingly so far out of reach.
I have, admittedly, watched the TV soaps as they tackle alcoholism. I have sat and judged those who choose a bottle over their children and family and wondered if they ever really loved them at all. This book made me question that entirely. Never in my wildest imagination did I think that one book, one novel, one fictional story could change my entire opinion on a subject I seem to (unknowingly) have had such a strong opinion of in the past.
Amanda Prowse has outdone herself.
She pulled me into a world I never knew I needed to understand better. She gave me permission to look at an issue from all sides and change my view on a world I never knew could be so easily within all our reaches.
As a mother, I looked at my two daughters after reading this novel and found myself feeling utterly blessed. Grateful that the one glass of wine I indulge in each evening is indeed just that. But acutely aware of just how easy it would be to slide down the same slope of temptation. And if you do, that does not mean you love your family any less – it does however mean that you need support and understanding from those around you.
This novel is more than just a holiday read or a book that will sit on the shelves of women around the world, it should be a novel that helps open the doors of communication, a chance to talk about one of the subjects we still see as ‘taboo’.
Where will Amanda go from here? Can she up her game and draw me in again? I have no doubt and I wait with bated breath to see what topic she tackles next.
Another Love is Published by Head of Zeus