It’s an absolute delight to share my review of Amelia Henley’s From Now On as I adore her writing. I reviewed her second book The Art of Loving You here and Amelia Henley’s The Life We Almost Had was my joint book of the year in 2020. I also ‘stayed in’ with Amelia here on the blog to discuss The Life We Almost Had, having shared my review here.
My enormous thanks to Amelia for sending me a copy of From Now On in return for an honest review.
Published by Harper Collins’ imprint HQ on 13th October 2022, From Now On is available for purchase through the links here.
From Now On
A heartbreaking tragedy.
Charlie left his hometown behind years ago and hasn’t looked back since. These days, with a successful career and a beautiful soon-to-be fiancée, he couldn’t be happier. But when he receives some unexpected news, his life is forever changed.
A life-changing choice.
Suddenly things are falling apart, and now Charlie has to care for his family. How is he supposed to look after a heartbroken little brother and a sullen teenage sister who want nothing to do with him? He’s completely at a loss and knows he can’t do it alone – not without the help of his oldest friend, Pippa.
The chance to start afresh.
As Charlie steps back into his old life, he soon realises it’s only his family who needs fixing, there’s also his relationship with Pippa too. But returning home is a painful reminder of all that he lost and tried so hard to forget. And if Charlie is to fight for what he wants, first he must face up to his own past and decide whether he is ready to let go…
From Amelia Henley, comes a brand-new emotional and uplifting novel about family, love and the hard choices we face to protect the ones we love the most.
My Review of From Now On
Charlie’s life is about to change.
Oh my goodness. Amelia Henley has done it again with From Now On. My heart and soul have been wrenched apart by this book and repaired so beautifully. It’s a bit like turning the reader into a kind if Kintsugi version of themselves as a result of reading Charlie’s narrative. As might be expected with the author’s other writing persona of Louise Jensen, From Now On has end of chapter hooks that lead the reader forward with elements that feel unexpected and hugely entertaining.
However, whilst there are a few major events that drive the story, much of From Now On is a beautiful, tender and realistic exploration of the nature of family and of love in all its forms so that the story feels relevant, relatable and all the more affecting. Charlie’s sense of guilt and responsibility, his fear of rejection and his stumbling attempts to be a better man make him so lifelike. At times I wanted to rage against him, at other times I wanted to hold him tightly. What he goes through – what all the characters experience – illustrates just how we are affected by our past lives, how we often make the wrong choices or believe the wrong things about ourselves, but that there is always the potential for change if only we grasp the opportunities that occur – from now on. Amelia Henley offers humane insight and sensitive understanding in her writing that feels cathartic and beautiful to read.
The relatively small cast of characters feels intimate and affords the reader the opportunity to get to know each person fully. Nina and Duke are brilliantly drawn. All too often in books I find youngsters cliched or stereotypical, but here the two children are rounded, complex and authentic so that From Now On has a realism as well as an entertainment value. Duke’s school experience in particular will resonate with many readers.
I loved the iterative image of music that runs through the book too. Songs are referenced that can be looked up and listened to, giving a life to From Now On outside the confines of its pages, but also, there are discordant moments, harmonious experiences and the sense that all the right notes are there for Charlie et al as long as they can attune themselves to the honesty of their feelings. I thought this was such clever writing.
Indeed, I thought the realistic themes of From Now On were its absolute strength. They are mature, and so imbued with credible and affecting exploration, that the book feels a means to reconnect with your own identity as well as with the characters in the story. Grief, choices and all manner of relationships are the impulses behind the narrative, making From Now On hugely emotional to read.
From Now On is difficult to categorise. It has romantic elements, it has family, it has danger so that it doesn’t fit neatly into any reader’s expectations. I thought it was wonderful and recommend it completely.
About Amelia Henley
Amelia Henley is a hopeless romantic who has a penchant for exploring the intricacies of relationships through writing heart-breaking, high-concept love stories.
Amelia also writes psychological thrillers under her real name, Louise Jensen. As Louise Jensen she has sold over a million copies of her global number one bestsellers. Her stories have been translated into twenty-five languages and optioned for TV as well as featuring on the USA Today and Wall Street Journal bestsellers list. Louise’s books have been nominated for multiple awards.
The Life We Almost Had was the first story she’s written as Amelia Henley.