The Bookvent Calendar 2019 – Book Of The Year

advent-calendar-2900406_1280

#Bookvent – Celebrating my top reads of 2019

Here we go. This is it. My final #bookvent selection of 2019. This is a book that I knew, from the moment I read it, would be one of my top reads of the year. I probably knew back when I chastised the author for making my job as a reviewer so hard that it was likely to take the top spot, and whilst the other two books I’ve revealed today came close, nothing has quite captured the imagination in the way this book did. Capturing some truly emotional subjects told through as series of stories passed from father to estranged son, this book is part family saga, part environmental and political drama but one hundred percent emotionally poignant. My final bookvent choice, and my Book of the Year for 2019 is:

gift-1760899_640

Turbulent Wake by Paul E. Hardisty

Ethan Scofield returns to the place of his birth to bury his father. Hidden in one of the upstairs rooms of the old man’s house he finds a strange manuscript, a collection of stories that seems to cover the whole of his father’s turbulent life.

As his own life starts to unravel, Ethan works his way through the manuscript, trying to find answers to the mysteries that have plagued him since he was a child. What happened to his little brother? Why was his mother taken from him?

And why, in the end, when there was no one else left, did his own father push him away?

Swinging from the coral cays of the Caribbean to the dangerous deserts of Yemen and the wild rivers of Africa, Turbulent Wake is a bewitching, powerful and deeply moving story of love and loss … of the indelible damage we do to those closest to us and, ultimately, of the power of redemption in a time of change.

Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Googleplay | Apple Books
gift-1760899_640

Urgh. I didn’t know what to say about this book back then, and I still don’t know how to do it justice now. This book is one which takes readers on a journey as emotional, poignant and thought provoking as any I have read in a while. Our protagonist here is Ethan, a man who has been estranged from his father, War, and who, after his father’s death, finds a manuscript in amongst his possessions that finally begins to unravel the mysteries of his past, and why his relationship with his father was so very complicated. It is a book which moves between the past and the present, taking the reader from early days of the man who refers to himself as ‘The Boy’ or “The Engineer’ through to the moments which informed, changed and moulded his life and, ultimately, that of Ethan. The story takes us through some truly turbulent times, from the idealistic beginnings of The Engineer’s career, to the sad realisations of the futility of what he is doing, the way in which the very projects he is involved in are damaging everything that he holds dear and slowly destroying the people and communities that he thought he was helping. How his feelings and emotions change and how it affects everything, including his relationship with his son. The stories are all impactful, full of emotional depth, and so beautifully written that they are almost like poetry at times – so evocative that it will chill you to the bone and warm your heart in equal measure. It is a story of secrets, regrets, family and redemption, told in a way that completely absorbed me from the start. It has a strong socio-political message at the heart too, and Paul Hardisty’s passion for protecting the environment and the planet shines through in every last word. It is a book that deserves to be read, a literary novel that is truly beautiful. I think I probably summed it up best in my review when I said:

For me this was a story about family – Father and Son – of their past transgressions and regrets. Of devastating loss and heartache. Of understanding gained as a result of a road once travelled and a lifetime of experience earned, both good and bad. Of a separation born of an inability to truly communicate and a fear of losing those you love, and ultimately of redemption and reconciliation, albeit a moment in time too late for War and Ethan. Most importantly, it’s about enlightenment and realising we still have the opportunity to change the life not yet led.

If you want to see my review in full, although understand that it doesn’t begin to do the book justice, you can find it here.

gift-1760899_640

Happy #bookvent reading all

Jen