My enormously grateful thanks to Sarah Harwood at Penguin Random House for a copy of A Year and a Day by Isabelle Broom in return for an honest review. A Year and a Day was published by Michael Joseph, an imprint of Penguin, on 17th November 2016 and is available for purchase in e-book and paperback through the publisher links here.
I loved Isabelle Broom’s previous novel My Map of You and you can read my review here.
A Year and a Day
Welcome to a city where wishes are everywhere
For Megan, a winter escape to Prague with her friend Ollie is a chance to find some inspiration for her upcoming photography exhibition. But she’s determined to keep their friendship from becoming anything more. Because if Megan lets Ollie find out about her past, she risks losing everything – and she won’t let that happen again . . .
For Hope, the trip is a surprise treat from Charlie, her new partner. But she’s struggling to enjoy the beauty of the city when she knows how angry her daughter is back home. And that it’s all her fault . . .
For Sophie, the city has always been a magical place. This time she can’t stop counting down the moments until her boyfriend Robin joins her. But in historic Prague you can never escape the past . . .
Three different women.
Three intertwining love stories.
One unforgettable, timeless city.
My Review of A Year and a Day
Three different women, Sophie, Megan and Hope find Prague is the catalyst for change in their lives.
I see myself as an emotional reader, but I have never before encountered the emotion of jealousy in my reading. Isabelle Brooms evokes and describes the magical quality of Prague so effectively that, not only is it a character in its own right, but I wanted desperately to be back there. There was such vibrancy to the descriptions that I could recognise so many of the places I’ve visited and loved but I was also introduced to others that I’ve missed, so that I feel compelled to return. I was genuinely jealous of the characters exploring the city.
I think it’s Isabelle Broom’s appeal to the senses that makes her writing so satisfying to read. She conveys the elements of her settings so effectively that it’s more like being there than reading about them.
A Year and a Day has a depth and sumptuousness that makes it such a satisfying read. The plot is deceptively simple – a set of people exploring Prague – but the profound exploration of relationships, emotions, fears and desires is outstanding. I didn’t always agree with how the characters behaved, Megan especially, but I understood and empathised fully their reasons. It felt a bit like reading about family members you know are flawed but you love them anyway.
It’s this quality of Isabelle Broom’s writing that makes her books so special. She seems to have an innate ability to express almost poetically what her characters, and indeed her readers, are feeling. I loved the way the relationships ebbed and flowed, with the three strands of the story intertwining so smoothly. Although I felt less invested in Hope as a person, my heart went out fully to Sophie and to Megan and Ollie. I have to confess to shedding a tear or two along the way.
If you haven’t encountered Isabelle Broom yet, I urge you to do so. A Year and a Day is a perfect winter read.
About Isabelle Broom
Isabelle Broom was born in Cambridge nine days before the 1980s began and studied Media Arts at the University of West London before starting a career first in local newspapers and then as a junior sub-editor at Heat magazine. She travelled through Europe during her gap year and went to live on the Greek island of Zakynthos for an unforgettable and life-shaping six months after completing her degree. Since then, she has travelled to Canada, Sri Lanka, Sicily, New York, LA, the Canary Islands, Spain and lots more of Greece, but her wanderlust was reined in when she met Max, a fluffy little Bolognese puppy desperate for a home. When she’s not writing novels set in far-flung locations, Isabelle spends her time being the Book Reviews Editor at Heat magazine and walking her beloved dog round the parks of north London.