I was delighted to receive a copy of ‘Out of the Darkness’ from Katy Hogan in return for an honest review. It was published on 6th July 2015 by Illumine Publishing and is available to purchase here in the UK and here in the US.
Jessica Gibson’s world has fallen apart. An only child of a single parent her beloved mother has just died and grief has overwhelmed Jessica, making her lonely and bitter. A chance meeting with Finn seems to improve her situation briefly, but events are going to become much more complicated than having a simple new friendship.
Out of the Darkness is such a good book. It manages to be both completely sad and thoroughly uplifting at the same time. Certainly, depending on your own personal views of life after death, you might need willingly to suspend your disbelief, but that aside, Katy Hogan has written a book of love and loss, grief and hope in which there are positive messages for us all. I’d defy any reader not to find themselves weeping at some point. I know I did. I finished reading it just after some particularly difficult news of my own and found that reading ‘Out of the Darkness’ helped me considerably (and let me say I am a complete sceptic when it comes to life after death).
The story is tightly plotted, weaving together the lives of three completely human and empathetic characters Jessica, Alex and Hannah whose individual stories are far more closely linked than they or the reader might initially believe. They all have their physical and emotional frailties so that they are like people we know rather than characters in a book. In fact, this was my only criticism and also a measure of the quality of Katy Hogan’s writing in the response I felt; Jessica occasionally smokes and I hate smoking so I felt angry with her for spoiling our ‘friendship’!
It is difficult to define just what kind of book ‘Out of the Darkness’ really is. It is certainly about friendship, love and loyalty. It is also about loss grief, family relationships and religion and spiritual belief. As well as being a novel it could almost become a self help book. However, I think to try to categorise this poignant and beautifully written novel is to do it a disservice. ‘Out of the Darkness’ is sensitively and emotionally written and a great story.