I’m delighted to welcome you today to my stop on the blog tour for the beautiful and moving Do Not Feed The Bear by Rachel Elliott. Thank you to Anne Cater and Tinder Press for giving me the opportunity to read and review this stunning book.
About the book:
On her forty-seventh birthday, Sydney Smith stands on a rooftop and prepares to jump…
Sydney is a cartoonist and freerunner. Feet constantly twitching, always teetering on the edge of life, she’s never come to terms with the event that ripped her family apart when she was ten years old. And so, on a birthday that she doesn’t want to celebrate, she returns alone to St Ives to face up to her guilt and grief. It’s a trip that turns out to be life-changing – and not only for herself.
DO NOT FEED THE BEAR is a book about lives not yet lived, about the kindness of others and about how, when our worlds stop, we find a way to keep on moving.
A life-affirming novel of love, loss and letting go – for readers of ELEANOR OLIPHANT, THE TROUBLE WITH GOATS AND SHEEP and WHEN GOD WAS A RABBIT.
About the author:
Rachel Elliott is the author of WHISPERS THROUGH A MEGAPHONE, long-listed for the Bailey’s Women’s Prize in 2016. She is also a practising psychotherapist, and lives in Bath with her miniature schnauzer Henry.
There was something about this book that drew me to it from the moment I read the blurb and I had a feeling it was going to be something a little bit special… and wow, was I right!
Do Not Feed The Bear by Rachel Elliott is a beautifully written and moving book about life, love, loss and grief. It tells the story of Sydney Smith, a cartoonist and freerunner who is still struggling to come to terms with a traumatic event that ripped her family apart when she was ten years old. Now, on her forty seventh birthday, she returns alone to St Ives to face up to her guilt and grief. Will Sydney be able to put to rest the events of the past? And if she can, what will that mean for her future? But this trip to St Ives turns into something so much more, as the lives of the people she meets touch and entwine in ways Sydney could never have expected.
I’m very familiar with St Ives, a beautiful part of Cornwall I visit often, but the St Ives of this story isn’t quite the same as the one I know and love, but still has that same magical feel to it that washes over me every time I visit. It’s the place I’m at my happiest, so the fact it features so prominently in this story only adds to the beauty of it for me.
There isn’t anything I didn’t love about this book. It’s quirky, funny, at times moving and with characters that are brought so vividly to life you feel like you know them. My heart broke on more than one occasion for these characters I’d fallen in love with, moving me beyond words. As different from each other as they all were, there was something about them that drew me in and made me feel connected to them in a way that doesn’t happen very often. Maybe it’s because I could see so much of myself in them? That fear that so many of us hold inside that makes it difficult for us to truly fly and live our lives to the full. I could see my own fears and insecurities reflecting back at me from within the pages of this book and the effect it had on me was profound.
There’s Sydney, of course, who in some ways is such a free spirit, but is so worn down by the guilt and grief she feels. Then we have Maria and Belle, mother and daughter whose lives become so entwined with Sydney’s. There’s Howard, Sydney’s father, who tugged at my heartstrings so much throughout this book, his grief and loss palpable from the outset. And then there’s Stuart. How can anyone not fall in love with Stuart? A surprising character who I adored from the moment he was introduced.
Written in a distinctive and unique style, Do Not Feed The Bear is one of those rare books that come along when you least expect it. It’s a book that gets under your skin from the moment you start reading, leaving you feeling bereft as you turn the final page. A character driven story that touches your heart, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. A mesmerizing and unforgettable book that I feel privileged to have been able to read.
Do Not Feed The Bear by Rachel Elliot is available to buy now: Amazon UK
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