Today I am delighted to share my thoughts on From Now On, the brand new novel from Amelia Henley. My thanks to the author for the advance copy of the book. Here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
A heartbreaking tragedy.
Charlie left his hometown behind years ago and hasn’t looked back since. These days, with a successful career and a beautiful soon-to-be fiancée, he couldn’t be happier. But when he receives some unexpected news, his life is forever changed.
A life-changing choice.
Suddenly things are falling apart, and now Charlie has to care for his family. How is he supposed to look after a heartbroken little brother and a sullen teenage sister who want nothing to do with him? He’s completely at a loss and knows he can’t do it alone – not without the help of his oldest friend, Pippa.
The chance to start afresh.
As Charlie steps back into his old life, he soon realises it’s only his family who needs fixing, there’s also his relationship with Pippa too. But returning home is a painful reminder of all that he lost and tried so hard to forget. And if Charlie is to fight for what he wants, first he must face up to his own past and decide whether he is ready to let go…
From Amelia Henley, comes a brand-new emotional and uplifting novel about family, love and the hard choices we face to protect the ones we love the most.
They say that you can’t choose your family and, to a large extent, that’s absolutely true. But it’s also the kind of dilemma facing Charlie Walker when his mother and Stepfather, Ronnie and Bo, are killed in a tragic accident on New Year’s Eve. Should Charlie choose to stay and look after his two younger siblings, brother, Duke and sister, Nina, or follow his girlfriend and his career, across the Atlantic to his fresh new start in New York? You would think it would be an easy choice, and that anyone that chose career over family was of dubious character, and yet I do understand the hesitance on Charlie’s part. It’s not easy to decide to derail all the plans you were making, to ‘do the right thing’ by your siblings, especially when you understand that Charlie and his family were not particularly close to begin with. It adds a kind of conflict to the story from a very early point in the book and leaves us wondering if Charlie can ever get back the trust he has almost certainly lost, not just from readers but from his family too.
I like the way in which the author has framed this story. It is not just about a young family who are trying to cope with the grief, but also three people who are still trying to understand who they are. Told from all of the three children’s points of view, we start to understand them more and to realise what it is that is driving a small wedge between them. I really felt for young Duke, who is struggling to come to terms with his parents death perhaps more than any of them, particularly as he feels a strange and unfair guilt over what has happened. Nina has other worries, ones that take time to come to the surface and the motivations of which are carefully hidden by the author until just the right moment in time to make the most of the emotional impact. As for Charlie, it is not just the loss of his career that makes him a reluctant carer, he has his own share of guilt and of damage from his past that has meant him pushing away those he loves for far too long. Nothing in the family is quite as straightforward as you might expect it to be, so you need to prepare yourself for a good few surprises along the way.
Amelia Henley does a brilliant job in making us question just what our reaction would be if faced with similar circumstances. I don’t know quite how I’d react if I was Charlie. Like him, kids have never been on my agenda, and the thought of taking on the responsibility for their futures would be quite daunting, something the author has reflected perfectly in the back and forth that Charlie does as he wrestles with his conscience. There is an underlying sense that he is not ready to let go, certain things which do, or more relevantly don’t happen that suggest despite the distance between Charlie and his family, he’s not quite ready to let go. There is clearly a lot of love there, just a lack of understanding on how to portray it to others, something which becomes more understandable with time, and which I could easily relate to. There is a real emotional undercurrent to this book, a question of family, love and duty, and those conflicting responsibilities, which really resonates. The use of music as a backdrop to the families story was a nice touch, one which allowed them to express the various emotions, even if some were driven by the complete absence of a melody.
Another brilliant and affecting narrative which drew me in from the very start. I was moved by the three siblings’ stories, the way in which the author used them to inform their actions but not overtake the story which was, ultimately, of a broken and bruised family who were trying to put themselves back together. Definitely recommended.
About the Author
Amelia Henley is a hopeless romantic who has a penchant for exploring the intricacies of relationships through writing heartbreaking, high-concept stories.
Amelia also writes psychological thrillers under her real name, Louise Jensen. As Louise Jensen she has sold over a million copies of her global number one bestsellers. Her stories have been translated into twenty-five languages and optioned for TV as well as featuring on the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestsellers list. Louise’s books have been nominated for multiple awards.