When I First Held You by Anstey Harris
Published: January 24, 2023
Lake Union Publishing
Genre: Literary Fiction
KKECReads Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
I received a copy of this book for free, and I leave my review voluntarily.
Anstey Harris is based in the Unesco Biosphere of Galloway and South Ayrshire in beautiful south-west Scotland, where she lives with her violinmaker husband and their dog, Pen. A former teacher & university lecturer, as well as outstanding cook, Anstey runs the popular writing retreat, WriteSouthWestScotland.com. Anstey writes about the things that make people tick, the things that bind us, and the things that can rip us apart. In novels, Anstey tries to celebrate uplifting ideas and prove that life is good and that happiness is available to everyone once we work out where to look (usually inside ourselves). Her short stories tend not to end quite so well…
“Sometimes, the irony of life is ludicrous.”
Judith is trying to decide what she should do. Should she follow her heart and let someone else run her late partner’s beloved shop, or should she stick it out? When the last person she ever expected shows up and flips her world upside down, everything changes. The past comes crashing into the future, blending with the present.
This was beautiful. The writing, the story, the characters, the heartbreak- all of it. I wasn’t sure what to expect in this novel, but my heart needed this.
The characters in this book are beautiful. I loved how the story was told, how things unfolded, and how the plot moved between the past and the present. The character narration was vivid, emotional, and honest.
Reading the acknowledgments at the end and how close this story is to Anstey Harris’ life only made me appreciate the morals of this brilliant book.