I can’t believe it’s almost four years since Emma Cooper last featured on Linda’s Book Bag (in an excruciating post here that shows just how the blog has evolved – sorry Emma for the awful quality of that early blog post – I’ve improved now!). However, I’m delighted to rectify the situation with a review of Emma’s latest release The First Time I Saw You and I’d like to thank the lovely folk at Team Bookends for sending me a surprise copy.
Published by Headline Review in paperback on 9th January 2020, The First Time I Saw You is available for purchase through the links here.
The First Time I Saw You
Six-foot-two Irish man who answers to the name Samuel McLaughlin.
Has weak shins and enjoys show tunes.
If found, please return to Sophie Williams.
Before Sophie met Samuel she saw the world in grey.
Before Samuel met Sophie, he never believed in love at first sight.
When they first meet, something tells them they are meant to be.
But fate has other ideas.
Now they have lost each other and can’t see a way back.
But they’ve already changed each other’s lives in more ways than they ever expected…
My Review of The First Time I Saw You
Sophie and Samuel find that mixing business with pleasure can be tricky!
I have absolutely no idea where to start in a review of Emma Cooper’s The First Time I Saw You. It’s a book that took hold of my heart, shredded it into tiny pieces and left me wrung out emotionally. In other words, I absolutely adored it!
Emma Cooper writes so emotively. Her descriptions are poetic so that they become vivid three dimensional images in the mind’s eye, giving place and setting an authenticity that transports the reader to Washington, Wales and Samuel’s family home in Ireland. The direct speech resonates with realism and warmth, bringing the characters in The First Time I Saw You alive and making them utterly human.
Indeed, there wasn’t an extraneous character, or moment with them, in this book. They elicited my empathy, my sympathy and, very often, a physical response so that I wanted to climb into the pages of The First Time I Saw You and hold them, shake them and intervene in their messy, glorious, lives.
And yet… there’s something more than skilled writing, great settings and believable characters here. Emma Cooper imbues her words with a magic that transcends competent and emotive writing so that the reader is spellbound and captivated by the love, the fear, the grief, the despair and happiness woven throughout the story. I found the iterative image of Alice in Wonderland hugely effective, and affecting, too.
The narrative itself is just fabulous. The plot is so completely believable, partly because not everything works out quite as I had expected or indeed wanted, making it much more realistic and compelling as a result. I want to say so much more about the tiny hints and details that almost go unnoticed but I can’t spoil the story for others. Let me just say that the plot of The First Time I Saw You took me through every emotion until I had no free will but had to carry on reading until I had gulped the last word through messy, sobbing tears.
This is a book I won’t forget in a hurry. It’ll be going straight on my books of the year list for 2020. I loved every single moment with The First Time I Saw You. It is wonderful and I urge you to read it for yourself.
About Emma Cooper
Emma Cooper is a former teaching assistant, who lives in Shropshire with her partner and four children. She spends her spare time writing novels, drinking wine and watching box-sets with her partner of twenty-four years, who still makes her smile every day. Emma has always wanted to be a writer – ever since childhood, she’s been inventing characters (her favourite being her imaginary friend ‘Boot’) and is thrilled that she now gets to use this imagination to bring to life all of her creations.