I was lucky enough to win A Song For Issy Bradley in a competition on The Book Club on Facebook #TBConFB run by Tracy Fenton @
A Song for Issy Bradley is available for purchase in all formats here.
A Song For Issy Bradley
Meet the Bradleys.
In lots of ways, they’re a normal family: Zippy is sixteen and in love for the first time; Al is thirteen and dreams of playing for Liverpool.
And in some ways, they’re a bit different: Seven-year-old Jacob believes in miracles. So does his dad.
But these days their mum doesn’t believe in anything, not even getting out of bed.
How does life go on, now that Issy is gone?
My Review of A Song for Issy Bradley
A Song For Issy Bradley concerns the Mormon faith Bradley family who are coming to terms with tragedy in their lives when Issy dies from meningitis.
I didn’t think a book with religion as a central premise would be particularly engaging for me, but I read the first page and just kept reading. I could not tear myself away from the pages of this beautifully written story.
Carys Bray tells the story through the eyes of each of the characters, the mother Claire, father Ian, and children Zipporah (Zippy), Alma and Jacob in turn. What she does so brilliantly is make the reader believe totally in each of the perspectives to weave a tapestry of family life, belief and grief. It doesn’t matter if the reader has, like me, no faith at all, because what ‘A Song for Issy Bradley’ has is true life with all its imperfections, foibles and challenges.
Whilst there are serious themes underlying the story, those of religion, family, sex, death and truth, this is not a morbid or self-righteous book. It is a multi-layered, beautiful story that makes the reader laugh and cry. There is great humour, especially in the behaviours of Alma and Jacob as well as intense sadness. The end of the novel is so satisfying that I’m desperate to know what happens to these characters who have become real people to me.
I found the writing exquisite. There didn’t seem to be a word out of place. Thoughts and dialogue were natural and engaging. I loved the use of past and present tense to convey memory and immediacy. However, what I loved most about A Song for Issy Bradley was Carys Bray’s ability to convey humanity in all its layers, its imperfections and truths.
I can honestly say A Song for Issy Bradley has touched me as a reader because of its warmth, humour and emotion and I would recommend anyone to read it.
About Carys Bray
Carys Bray was brought up in a devout Mormon family. In her early thirties she left the church and replaced religion with writing. She was awarded the Scott prize for her début short story collection Sweet Home. A Song for Issy Bradley was her first novel. She lives in Southport with her husband and four children.