As most of you who read Linda’s Book Bag regularly are already aware, I can be very foolish and I most certainly am when it comes to Miranda Dickinson because I’ve never actually read one of her books before although I OWN several! I’m putting that right today by sharing my review of Our Story.
Our Story will be published by Harper Collins’ imprint HQ in ebook on 25th August 2020 and audio and paperback on 3rd September. It is available for pre-order here.
Otty has just landed her dream job. She’s about to join the writing team of one of the most respected showrunners in TV. And then the night before her first day, she’s evicted from her flat.
Joe has been working with Russell for years. He’s the best writer on his team, but lately something has been off. He’s trying to get his mojo back, but when his flatmate moves out without warning he has other things to worry about.
Otty moving into Joe’s house seems like the perfect solution to both their problems, but neither is prepared for what happens next. Paired together in the writing room, their obvious chemistry sparks from the page and they are the writing duo to beat. But their relationship off the page is an entirely different story, and neither of them can figure out why.
And suddenly the question isn’t, will they, or won’t they? It’s why won’t they?
An epic and modern love story for our times, we will all see ourselves reflected in Otty and Joe. We are our own biggest barriers and this novel explores what happens when we get out of our own way. And it is glorious.
My Review of Our Story
Otty wants to be a television writer.
I cannot believe Our Story is my first Miranda Dickinson read. I have others on my shelves but I’ve never actually found time to pick one up and read it. Our Story has convinced me that that ridiculous state of affairs needs rectifying immediately. I adored this book. Miranda Dickinson has a smooth, effortless style that makes reading her words a sheer delight. I thoroughly appreciated the structure of the narrative because although there are two points of view, the chronology gives coherence and flow that I sometimes find missing in other books, adding to my enjoyment immensely.
I thought the setting of the writers’ room was inspired. Giving a unity to the action it provides an insight into a world most of us will never encounter so that there’s an extra layer of interest outside the simply glorious love story that is Our Story. I adored the concept that, whilst people like Joe and Otty can write life narratives for others, they can’t write their own happiness and the way this hooked me into the book was genius. Miranda Dickinson captivated me completely.
Despite the fact that the narrative is set in the global, cut-throat world of television writing, it has an intimate, personal atmosphere that I found incredibly affecting. In Our Story, Miranda Dickinson illustrates events that might well be happening in any working environment in any era so that there is a realism here. I loved the balance of viewpoint from Joe and Otty because not only does it fit the theme of not accepting the truth, and moves on the plot with dynamism and pace, but hearing both their voices clearly has the effect of making the reader fall in love with them both and care about what happens to them. I became so immersed in their story, experiencing such emotion that I felt a physical ache where my heart lies in my chest.
Otty, Joe and all the characters in Our Story are brilliantly created. I thought it was a wonderful message to give Otty a career far outside the usual expectations of her working class Brummie background because whilst the story is fabulously entertaining, it reminds readers that dreams can be fulfilled through hard work and ambition.
In essence, the book has a relatively simple plot revolving around two protagonists writing for television. However, there were several points during the story where I wasn’t sure I would finish reading Our Story. You see, Miranda Dickinson kept breaking my heart, sticking it back together briefly and then smashing it again until I wasn’t sure just how much more emotion I could take. I desperately, desperately wanted Joe and Otty to be together and to have a happy ending. By the time I reached the final part of the story I was a blubbering, weeping wreck. You’ll have to read the book for yourself to see if I got what I wanted!
Our Story is just wonderful. It’s both realistic and romantic. It’s heart-breaking and joyous. It’s going straight on my list of books of the year and Miranda Dickinson has a new fan!
About Miranda Dickinson
Miranda Dickinson has always had a head full of stories. Born in Wolverhampton, in The Black Country, West Midlands, she grew up in Kingswinford and dreamed of one day writing a book that would reach the heady heights of Kingswinford Library.
Her first novel, Fairytale of New York (2009) was discovered on Authonomy.com – HarperCollins’ site for unpublished authors. Within three weeks of its release, Fairytale of New York had entered the Sunday Times Top Ten Bestsellers List, where it remained for five weeks – making it the world’s first crowd-sourced bestseller. The novel was also shortlisted for the RNA’s Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2010 at the Pure Passion Awards.
Miranda is a six-times Sunday Times Bestseller, with Fairytale of New York, Welcome to My World, It Started With a Kiss, When I Fall in Love, Take a Look at Me Now, I’ll Take New York, A Parcel for Anna Browne and Searching for a Silver Lining. Her Christmas novella, Christmas in St Ives, is a festive treat and also a prequel to her ninth novel, Somewhere Beyond the Sea. She is an international bestseller in four countries and her books have been translated into fifteen languages. To date, she has sold one million books worldwide. The Day We Meet Again, her tenth novel was published on 5th September 2019.
Miranda lives in Dudley with her husband, Bob and daughter, Flo. She is also a singer-songwriter and recently released her first solo album, About Time.