Sunday, 28 February 2016

Review - Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan

Stunning and beautiful are two words that can be used to summarise my opinion of Out of the Darkness by Katy Hogan. It’s been a very long time since a book touched me in the way that this did, a book which really did take me on a rollercoaster of emotions and which saw me crying one minute and smiling the next. I honestly do feel privileged to have been sent a copy of this superb book by Katy for review purposes and my only regret is that I wasn’t able to pick this absolute gem up sooner than I did. 

We first meet Jessica as she is wandering through an empty graveyard on the morning of New Year’s Eve to visit her mother’s grave, a place she has not been to since the funeral took place many months ago. Later the same day, after a shift on the geriatric ward of the hospital where she works as a nurse, Jessica meets Finn - a young man who she spends just one night with but who makes her feel that life is worth living again. A few months after this meeting occurs, we see that Jessica is slowly but surely getting back on her feet again having made good friends with Hannah who she met at bereavement counselling and Alex, an american who has just moved into the area. We soon see how their lives are more connected than they, or us, could ever have imagined. 

All of the characters you come across in this book have a real depth to them to the extent where I really did feel able to connect with them and how they were feeling. It quickly becomes clear that Katy has spent a lot of time thinking about each and every one of the characters she presents to us throughout the novel. She allows us to see the bigger picture and truly understand them all by giving us a thorough description of their history and what led them to be where they are today. 

It has to be said that Katy wrote a very emotional, extremely powerful and memorable tale in Out of the Darkness about grief, love and friendship. However, more than that, she also gives the reader an insight and sensitively deals with the subject of life after death. I found this to be an extremely thought-provoking theme, one which I haven’t seen discussed in all the fiction I’ve read to date, and what was really nice to see was the way she never tried to influence the reader with her own beliefs on the subject. Thanks to the way in which she handles the topic I can also very much see how this book could be a great comfort to those who are struggling with loss/grief at the time of reading it. 

There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this book fully deserves every single five star review that it receives and that it is also a book I will keep on my bookshelf and cherish forever. Thanks to Out of the Darkness, a truly gorgeous debut novel, Katy Hogan has gone straight on my list of authors to look out for and I'm really looking forward to reading her second novel.