Sunday, 4 April 2021

#Blogtour The Charity of Strangers by Alison Burke

It's my turn on the BlogTour The Charity of Strangers by Alison Burke.

About the Author

I was born and grew up in Lancashire, gained several nursing qualifications and had the privilege of a long and varied nursing career, briefly in the Royal Army Nursing Service abroad, mainly in the NHS in UK. True love and a happy family came my way and now I have the time to  read, write and remember.

Follow Alison Burke on Instagram, on Facebook, Visit alisonburkefictionwriter.com

About the book 

You can find almost anything in a charity shop, but can you find love? You can certainly find friendship and there is both laughter and tears ahead when 19yr old Zaffron, lonely, anxious and without direction, meets Blaire Daintry, good-looking, charming, and gay.

Both volunteers in the charity shop, he has a hidden agenda, she has secrets,  but they are friends from the start, despite Blaire’s constant sparring with Ida, the stern, good-hearted older volunteer who Zaffron admires. And perhaps Ida has secrets too.

Together with other victims of the city’s housing crisis, Blaire and Zaffron set up a safe and happy home.  Secure at last, she tells him of the dreadful incident in her childhood that has marred her life, but not even his total acceptance gives her the confidence to start a relationship with an attractive and decent young army sergeant who falls in love with her.

Is it fear of the truth coming out that holds her back? Or is there some other reason, buried too deep in her heart for her to recognise?

Review

This seems to be floating under the heading of rom-com, but to me it had more of an Eleanor Oliphant meets chick-lit kind of feel to it. There is no romance as such, just an unrequited obsessive crush - if you can call it that at all. I thought it veered towards more of an Oedipus complex, which was interrupted by the inconvenience of Blaire's sexuality.

Towards the end Zaffron is surprised by what Blaire reveals about his relationship and considers it a further betrayal, however I think he made that choice to curb her enthusiasm or slightly obsessive infatuation. In fact if you view his choices individually they are completely normal for someone who is intent on bettering their life and prospects.

If you view the same connections, decisions and choices through the lens of Zaffron's references then of course it appears to be nefarious and driven by the intent to deceive and betray. At least that is how Zaffron perceives it, and that is the real gist of the entire story. How does Zaffron perceive things, as opposed to others?

It's an interesting piece, perhaps more of darker read than a light-hearted one. A contemporary piece when it comes to people who are neither here nor there in society. On the brink of complete breakdown with no home, no job and only acquaintances born through circumstance. It shows how hard it is to reestablish yourself in society, especially when you are unable to bring certain prerequisites to the table.

One of the core elements is of course the fact that someone needs to hold out a hand and offer help for a person in need to be able to rebuild their broken down life, which is something everyone can take away from this read. A small gesture goes a long way.

Buy The Charity of Strangers at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Lily Dale Press pub date 25 Nov. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

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