I’m taking part in the blog tour for Nothing Else by choice. I received an ebook to prepare, and this review forms my honest opinion. Please note that I also mention ‘Daffodils’. This is an audio book memoir unrelated to the tour itself, but purchased by myself.
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.
I cannot do justice to this review of Nothing Else without mentioning the audiobook memoir released earlier this year by Louise Beech, Daffodils. I had only just finished listening to Daffodils – a memoir that is in turns heart warming, heart breaking and humourous, when I picked up Nothing Else. It wasn’t difficult to draw parallels between the main character of Heather in Nothing Else and Louise’s own experiences, to see where the inspiration for this novel came from. Reading through childcare records looking for lost memories and clues to the whereabouts of her missing sister – as a mother of two, I was immediately protective of Heather and as I find with all of Louise’s novels to date, I was pulled in.
This is the fourth novel of Louise’s I’ve read (fifth if you include her memoir), and I’m constantly surprised by her writing. Each novel I’ve read has been different. Ghost stories, thriller-esque murders, stories about family, love and loss. Her characterisations are always spectacular, she is clearly very empathic. Able to understand depths of emotion and translate it so impeccably into words.
Nothing Else is no different. As the novel darts between Heather, Harriet and the past, I felt as if I were there, observing. And as someone who has been on a few cruises in my time, I also felt the segments on the cruise ship were very accurately depicted – I even caught myself rocking a time or two!
The relationship between the sisters and their lives witnessing an abusive relationship is in equal measure beautiful and heartbreaking. It is these two young girls/women and their love for music that are the heart and soul of this novel.
Another triumphant read from Louise Beech. If you haven’t read her yet – please do. She’s an absolute marvel!
Did you enjoy this review? Consider supporting the indie bookshop I work in and purchasing a copy of Nothing Else via The Rabbit Hole shopfront on Bookshop.org. Published 23rd June.