I’m thrilled to be part of the paperback launch celebrations for The Things I Should Have Told You by Carmel Harrington. The Things I Should Have Told You was published by Harper in paperback on 26th January 2017 and is available for purchase through the publisher links here.
Not only do I have my review of The Things I Should Have Told You, but I have a smashing guest post from Carmel Harrington all about the things she wants to tell her 14 year old self.
The Things I Should Have Told You
Every family has a story…
But for the Guinness family a happy ending looks out of reach. Olly and Mae’s marriage is crumbling, their teenage daughter Evie is on a mission to self-destruct and their beloved Pops is dying of cancer. Their once strong family unit is slowly falling apart.
But Pops has one final gift to offer his beloved family – a ray of hope to cling to. As his life’s journey draws to a close, he sends his family on an adventure across Europe in a camper van, guided by his letters, his wisdom and his love.
Because Pops knows that all his family need is time to be together, to find their love for each other and to find their way back home…
Advice To My 14 Year Old Self
A Guest Post by Carmel Harrington
What would I say to my younger self, if Doc and his DeLorean car pulled up outside my house and said, hop in, time for an adventure!
Dear fourteen year old Carmel
Here are three truths that you need to remember …
You are not too tall, nor too skinny. In fact, when you turn thirty, you’ll start your first diet. They never stop after that – sorry! And you know what? You will remember with fondness and longing the speedy metabolism of your childhood and twenties.
As for that eejit who mistook you for a boy recently, ignore them. You don’t look like a boy, I promise you. You are a beautiful young girl, on the brink of becoming a woman and life is going to get so exciting for you.
I know that you often feel like you don’t fit in. Your harshest critic is yourself and you are often crippled with self-doubt.
You need to start trusting YOU. When a teacher asks a question, that you know the answer to, be brave and put your hand up. I know you hate it when people look at you, but once you’ve done it a few times, it will get easier. And soon, you’ll find your voice and confidence. School will be a lot easier for you if you have a little faith in yourself.
You love to sing, you love to act, you often stand in your bedroom and pretend you are on stage. Don’t let your shyness stop you participating in extra curricular activities that would give you so much pleasure. Join a drama group and a choir. You’ll love it, I promise you.
And Carmel, all those hours you spend reading and daydreaming won’t go to waste. One day, you’ll be an author too. I know! You, an author! It takes you a while to find your confidence to share your writing with anyone. Go find a writing group in your local library. Spend time with people who share the same dreams as you. Because once you fully unleash the creative part of you, life begins to change.
Boys, boys, boys! I’ve pondered whether I should tell you who your husband is. Your soul mate. Your best friend. Your love.
And after careful consideration, (don’t hate me!) I’m not going to tell you! It would ruin all the fun of finding him. But I will tell you this, you will love him with all your heart and even more wonderfully, he will love you right back.
Before you find each other, you both spend a lot of time with the wrong people. I know, that’s pants. But don’t panic about this, because he will be worth the wait. I promise you. And wait until you see the children you have together. Spectacular.
Will you remember this undeniable truth? When someone shows you their true self, (and they always do, sooner rather than later), believe them. Don’t make excuses for their behaviour. When a red flag pops up, walk away.
You see, being in love is easy, when it’s with the right person. Remember that.
My Review of The Things I Should Have Told You
All is not well in the Guinness family, but even though he’s dying, Pops has an idea that will make or break them.
Here’s a question – why on earth is this my first Carmel Harrington read? I loved The Things I Should Have Told You.
Carmel Harrington has taken a simple plot premise – a family travelling for a few weeks around Europe – and turned it into an emotional read that tugs at the heart strings and restores the reader’s faith in human nature. I may have been so affected by this book because my own father’s death is still only a few weeks away so I could relate to how the family feel as they deal with Pops’ demise, but I think it is the natural ease of style that Carmel Harrington has that made the story such a convincing one. Often I was surprised to find I was crying as I read because I was so touched.
The plotting is realistic and authentic with just the right level of detail that I felt I was aboard Nomad the camper van too. I knew some of the stops en route and want to visit the others as a result of reading The Things I Should Have Told You because the settings were so clearly depicted without overburdening the reader with extraneous detail. I can’t say any more as the destinations are crucial to the plot, but one two week stay has certainly provided food for thought.
But brilliant plotting and setting aside, it is the wonderful characterisation that makes The Things I Should Have Told You so beautiful a book. I felt the greatest affinity to Mae, probably because she’s closest in age and gender to me, but all the characters were three dimensional, convincing and realistic. Whilst The Things I Should Have Told You can be clearly defined as women’s fiction, I could see that reading it would provide men with an invaluable insight into the female psyche and young adult readers may well identify with Evie and her problems. Even little Jamie has a special role to play, often acting in an almost Shakespearean manner as comic relief after intensity of emotion. I often find children in fiction stereotypical and uninspiring, but I felt both Evie and Jamie were as real as any child I’ve met.
The themes and messages behind The Things I Should Have Told You are universal and I’d defy any reader not to identify with at least one of them. There’s sensitive exploration of relationships in all their forms, the impact of social media, the need to belong, the way everyday life can make us lose sight of who we really are who who we want to be and, better still, the sensitive writing helps provide a few of the answers.
The Things I Should Have Told You is a warm, sensitive story that made me feel all the better for reading it. What more could you ask for from a novel?
About Carmel Harrington
Carmel Harrington is the bestselling author of The Life You Left and Beyond Grace’s Rainbow, voted Romantic eBook of the Year 2013.
Carmel lives with her husband Roger and children Amelia and Nate in a small coastal village in Wexford. She credits the idyllic setting as a constant source of inspiration to her. Carmel has the nickname, ‘Queen of Emotional Writing’.
Carmel writes emotional family dramas that share one common theme – strong characters who find themselves in extraordinary situations. She loves to dig deep and see how they cope, as they grapple with life-changing moments.
She is a regular on Irish TV and radio. Carmel is also a popular motivational keynote speaker, at events in Ireland, UK and US.
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