Today I’m on the blog tour for Merry Go Round, many thanks to Zooloo’s Book Tours for having me on the tour and sending me a copy of the book to review.
Lily Montrose has endured a white-knuckle ride during her on-off affair with Nathaniel Deighton. She is sitting alone in a coffee shop when a brief but devastating call brings the whole thing to a crashing halt.
Fleeing her job and flat in London, she retreats to a farmstead on the shores of the north Devon coast to repair her broken spirit and regain her sense of self.
Here she finds an unlikely soulmate in Adam, a somewhat homespun but handsome local with unexpected qualities.
As the months pass by, Lily begins to put her troubled past behind her and – despite harbouring the most intimate of secrets – her relationship with Adam deepens.
But when Nat suddenly resurfaces, the malevolent merry go round begins to revolve once again, revealing the ugly truths that lie deep within Lily and unleashing a chain of events that will threaten not only her sanity, but everything she holds dear…
The Review: As stated in the blurb, this book is about Lily and the aftermath of the toxic and controlling relationship she had with Nat. It’s also about her relationship with Adam and how the consequences of her relationship with Nat, affect the one she has with Adam and, more than that, how all of this affects Lily herself.
Lily leaves London after Nat ends their relationship. She goes to Devon to try and have a new life, away from him and London. However, as anyone who has been in any kind of controlling or emotionally abusive relationship will know, escaping isn’t easy when you aren’t able to disconnect your brain. These types of relationships may not seem that harmful but they are. Moving away from someone like Nat doesn’t stop the thoughts and memories of what happened running through your head. The book describes so vividly and accurately Lily’s struggles to rebuild her life and have a relationship while at the same time wondering if she’s doing the right thing, whether she deserves to have a new relationship or anything good in her life, and all the other destructive and negative thoughts that can occur when you are trying to move on from a person who has seeded so much doubt in yourself that you’d question your ability to do something as simple as making a cup of tea or coffee.
This isn’t likely to be an easy read for anyone, however it is brilliantly written and done sensitively in a way which shows what it can be like to experience this kind of relationship and the aftermath of it as well. I’ve been in a similar relationship, and I know the struggles of leaving, staying away and trying to rebuild my life, as well as convincing myself that I’m not useless and worthless and am actually deserving of a good job and a loving relationship. It’s a long, slow process that takes far more energy and effort than anyone that’s never experienced it would ever understand. This slow, energy-sapping process is portrayed brilliantly in this book. I felt all of the emotions Lily did along with the frustrations of her friend, though with my own added understanding as to why she was behaving as she was. It shows that however far you’ve moved on sometimes it doesn’t take much to make you feel like you’re back where you started. It shows how much you can question and doubt everything, including people, and it shows how vital it is for the genuine people in your life to be patient and understand that being away from that abusive situation doesn’t mean everything’s magically resolved.
For various reasons I found this book to be a tricky one to read but I loved it as well. It’s brilliantly done and shows how much damage one human being can do to another. Too many people in this country go through experiences like this and I hope that this, and other books like it, can help shine more of a light on the struggles of dealing with the aftermath of these relationships. Having been in a similar situation myself there was nothing in here that shocked me, what it did do though, was shine a spotlight on when I moved out of that situation. For many readers I would hope this book will make them think and question whatever assumptions they have about relationships like these. For me, it has dredged up some of the feelings from then, which I need to let settle again, but it has also reminded me once again that while those years after were incredibly tough, leaving was still (and always will be) the best thing I have ever done.
This is a fabulous, if difficult read, and I honestly would recommend it to everyone, and I cannot wait to read the next book.
One fact that people may not know about Sarah is that she was an Olympic Torchbearer…She ran her leg of the relay in St Albans, Hertfordshire on July 8th, 2012. ‘It was the most wonderful day of my life, followed closely by the release of Merry Go Round. Carrying the torch was an honour and I’m so proud to be able to say I carried it.’
Sarah was born in Hertfordshire, where she lived and worked for many years in the NHS. She attended Oxford Brookes University and graduated with a merit in Creative Writing (MA).
Sarah now lives in rural Northamptonshire with her partner Keith, their dog and cats. She continues to write, paint and work as a Reiki Practitioner and Macmillan Volunteer.
Merry Go Round is her first novel, however, the next is already in progress. It is a ‘sidequel’ or re-write of Merry Go Round, following the same year but revealing the lived experiences of Adam and Lou whilst Lily was having such a bad time of things.
Website : http://sarahtoll.co.uk/