Friday 17 May 2013

Review! Pictures of Lily by Paige Toon

'Will you marry me?' I think of you, then. I think of you every day. But usually in the quietest part of the morning, or the darkest part of the night. Not when my boyfriend of two years has just proposed. I look up at Richard with his hopeful eyes. 'Lily?' he prompts. It's been ten years, but it feels like only yesterday that you left. How can I say yes to Richard with all my heart when most of it has always belonged to you? I take a deep breath and will myself to speak...Ten years ago when Lily was just sixteen, she fell in love with someone she really shouldn't have fallen in love with. Now, living in Sydney and engaged to another man, she can't forget the one that got away. Then her past comes back to haunt her, and she has to make a decision that will break her heart - and the heart of at least one of the men who love her. 

Review: I was hooked into this book right from the word go. Given that it starts with a proposal that remains unanswered until a later point in the book, it is hardly surprising! I’ll admit that I was surprised that the book begins in Lily’s teenage years, I was expecting this to be the usual chick-lit formula starring someone my age, but to begin with, and we are taken back to Lily’s formative years, just as she is turning 16. She has found herself in Australia because her mum fell head over heels for ‘another guy’ over there and she really doesn’t want to be. The theme of escapism and distant lands is really strong throughout the entirety of this novel, something which I found to be common throughout Paige Toon’s writing.

I found Lily to be rather a petulant teenager, but she does begin to mellow when she meets some of the animals in the conservation park she begins working at and I found it easier to read from this point. I did dislike her mum, however, she is written as a very selfish character the whole was through the book and I found her relationship with Lily quite difficult to read, even thought it is written so well.

The male ‘supporting’ characters in this book are quite interesting, they seem to be poles apart and yet Lily has strong feelings for both of them at various points in the novel. Ben is laid back and yet level-headed. His relationship with Lily when she was only sixteen made me a little uncomfortable, I have to admit, but later on in the novel, I too had a major soft spot for him! I disliked Richard as a person, showing how well developed he is as a character, but I really didn’t think he was right for Lily. She seemed to be such a free spirit and he seemed so corporate.

This is book is almost written as if it were in diary form, because it is written entirely from Lily’s point of view and this makes it incredibly easy to read. It also means that as Lily grows up, you get to know her in more and more depth and she begins to feel like a friend to you, adding immensely to the enjoyment of the book. The way the book is structured, split into two time periods, then and now, ten years apart, works really well and meant that there was a clear division for me as a reader to a kind of ‘before Ben’ time and ‘after Ben’ time. Paige Toon also brings in characters from her other books which I really liked, but if you haven’t read Lucy in the Sky, you should probably read that first because otherwise, they ending will be spoiled for you!

This was the perfect read for a hot bank holiday weekend and I got through it pretty quickly because of the strong voice and the author’s writing style. This is the third book I’ve read by Paige Toon and I’m already thinking about which one to read next!

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