True Love; a beautiful literary masterpiece

Today a beautiful literary masterpiece is published. True Love is a standout, character driven novel that completely stole my heart. Already listed for five major literary awards, this is novel that I feel is going to take the book world by storm. So mesmerising, vividly set and so unique in style, I can visualise this novel, written by Paddy Crewe, being studied in schools with the English students being truly captivated.

Although a very different love story, written very differently, and set (I think) in the 1980s, for me True Love reminded me of Sally Rooney’s Normal People. I think it’s because Crewe, like Rooney, wrote in such a beautiful intense manner to explore his characters, portraying their heartbreak, vulnerabilities, and also their resilience. I was consumed by the two protagonists Keely and Finn, their own unique stories, and then their love story together. The narrative is poignant, at times raw, but also beautiful and hopeful.

I was especially moved by Keely’s story. When the novel opens, she is a young girl, around twelve years old, and living on a sea coaling camp in a caravan with her da and younger brother who is affectionally known as Welty. Even though I went to Uni in the North East of England, until reading this novel I had never heard of sea coaling, which was practiced on the beaches of the North East. Keely’s da is a sea coaler, making a living by collecting and selling coal washed up on the beach. The beach plays a pivotal role in Keely’s story, and when tragedy strikes, she has to grow up quicky, and for a time, becomes a sea coaler herself. Even though it means she has to give up school and her own dreams, she feels it is the only hope she has to ensure the survival of her remaining family.

Keely’s story is truly raw and heart breaking. As I was reading True Love, I felt so hurt and angry on her behalf , but I was in such awe of her strength and resilience. Keely is a true literary heroine.

Paddy Crewe

Finn is also a beautifully vulnerable character. Living with his grandparents, he has never known his parents who are off living their own lives. Even though his bedroom is his ma’s old bedroom, his mum is never discussed at home. Even through Finn desperately wants to know more about his parents, he never has the courage to ask his grandparents anything about them. As a boy, he doesn’t really talk much and hasn’t got any friends. He also struggles to connect with his grandad. Finn’s only pleasure is his secret visits to the river, where he secretly collects random objects he finds wading in the water.

But then Finn finds a new confident voice through music and singing in a band. This leads to both his and Keely’s lives changing.

True Love is a powerful novel that explores grief, abandonment and generational trauma. Yet it is written with such sensitivity, beauty and hope. It is intense, poignant and so thought provoking. It also explores what actually does it mean to love. I love this novel, which completely stole my heart.

True Love is released on 4 July.

Thank you to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to the blog tour of this beautiful novel. Thank you also to Doubleday for my advance gifted copy.

To follow the blog tour, please see below.

1 Comment

  1. July 4, 2024 / 2:25 pm

    Thanks for the blog tour support x

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