Sunday, 21 February 2016

Spotlight and Review: Housing Elephants by Eleanor Lloyd-Jones

Housing Elephants
“… And the greatest of these is love.”
Love is patient and kind… Its strength can build bridges and knock down walls. It can give people hope - a purpose. But there is a side to love that is unforgiving and cruel - a side to love that breaks hearts.
Love can suffocate, and love can turn to hate.
Billy Taylor meandered through life, only ever giving half. Ruled by his father’s grief, he gave up on his own dreams in a bid to keep life ticking along, desperately craving the unconditional love of his parents. It wasn’t until Eve Swallow fell into his life again, rousing his empty heart, that he dared to hope for a chance to live life on his terms.
Never quite good enough in the eyes of her overpowering mother, Eve kept herself locked away inside her own head, immersing herself in her passion for art and music, and doing anything in her power to avoid getting close to anyone. When she connected with Billy’s eyes, that still haunted her dreams after so long, fear kicked in, and all she could do was the one thing she was sure would protect her…
If two lost souls were to collide and a love so deep was born, it would surely take a herd of elephants to tear them apart…

Shona's review 5 of 5 stars

This book wasn't your every day fluffy romance. This book was real life. I'm talking real characters with real issues, and not just your standard "I'll throw this in to make my character  more complex" that I've come across in other books. This book deals with dark issues that cant just be swept under the carpet and forgotten about. At least not for long anyway. And it deals with them with compassion.

And while this book is filled with sensitive subjects it is also filled with some very sweet, tender moments, moments that will most definitely tug at your heart strings, and if you're anything like me there will be more than a few tears along the way.

This is Lloyd-Jones' début novel, and she has done an amazing job with it. Its beautifully written, and filled with emotion you can almost feel on every page. I don't see how it is possible to give this book anything less than 5 stars. I cant wait to see what she writes next.

Ikira's review 5 out of 5 stars

I think I might just be in love; with the author, the story, the characters...even with York - I've never been there!

This author writes so well you can believe every word and making it even better was that it included subjects close to my heart; or which I have personal knowledge and understanding of. She made me laugh and cry, wince with pain and feel warm with joy as I read the words she so eloquently put together; even making me realise a few of my own elephants still lurk where I thought I'd left them forgotten. 

The story covers the every day ups and downs of life for 'normal' people but then touches on difficult and  hurtful topics with clear understanding and empathy. I never thought I could read such subjects without feeling awful at the thought; however, this debut author has astounded me. She's judged the timing and temperament perfectly (for me), making my heart swell as the characters faced their demons head on.

There were a few areas where it feels like there are gaps - where I longed for more detail, more information, more time - just more! That said, the book doesn't lose anything because of them and filling in the gaps would have caused the book to be too much for a single story but equally, I'd have died if she'd finished it sooner, splitting it into two so again, I think the judgement was pretty spot on. As I say, the story is still complete without them, I was just so wrapped up and drinking it in so heavily that I wanted nothing left out at all. I was entirely immersed in the lives of these two damaged, hurting individuals coming out of their shells and helping each other in endless ways, I really wanted to see them have a happy ending.

Did they get a happy ending? I couldn't possibly say as the story is left 'To be continued...' and I cannot wait for the next installment. I've a feeling that whatever happens next, it won't be an easy ride for either Billy or Eve but I hope they enjoy the roller-coaster!


Raised in a little village in North Wales, a fierce love of books and reading was instilled in Eleanor by her parents from a very early age, and she has vivid memories of reading secretly under the blankets with a torch for hours after lights out, often getting caught!
She had always thought she would write a book some day - it has been an ambition for as long as she can remember - and has always been told that she ‘has a way with words’.It was only when she was nearing the ‘forty’ milestone that she decided it was time she got some of the ramblings and chatterings in her head down on paper.
Eleanor works full time as a teacher, but grabs every spare minute she can to write; be it on the train, lunchtimes at school or foregoing sleep for an extra hour or two in the evenings. Her hope for the future is for people to fall in love with her characters as much as she does. Not a big ask really!

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