The World at my Feet by Catherine Isaac

Today I’m thrilled to be sharing my thoughts about the latest book by Catherine Isaac (aka Jane Costello). Thank you to Simon and Schuster UK / Books and the City for the digital proof via NetGalley. Last year I enjoyed reading her previous novels, You, Me, Everything and Messy Wonderful Us (see my reviews at https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/05/27/you-me-everything-by-catherine-isaac/ and https://mentoringmumof2bookreviews.home.blog/2020/03/29/bookreview-messy-wonderful-us-by-catherine-isaac/) so I was thrilled to be given an early opportunity to read a digital proof last month. The book will be published in March 2021.

Synopsis:

The dazzling new novel from Richard & Judy book club author Catherine Isaac, The World at my Feet is a story about the transforming power of love, as one woman journeys to uncover the past and reshape her future.

The secrets that bind us can also tear us apart…

1990. Harriet is a journalist. Her job takes her to dangerous places, where she asks questions and tries to make a difference. But when she is sent to Romania, to the state orphanages the world is only just learning about, she is forced to rethink her most important rule. 

2018. Ellie is a gardener. Her garden is her sanctuary, her pride and joy. But, though she spends long days outdoors, she hasn’t set foot beyond her gate for far too long. Now someone enters her life who could finally be the reason she needs to overcome her fears.

From post-revolution Romania to the idyllic English countryside, The World at My Feet is the story of two women, two worlds, and a journey of self-discovery that spans a lifetime.

My thoughts:

When I started University in 1989, the world was changing quickly. The Berlin Wall fell and many of the former Communist countries finally allowed Western journalists to visit. I remember seeing the stories about the Romanian orphanages and feeling profoundly sad that children were abandoned in this way. So I was intrigued to see how this story would unfold.

I am a fan of Catherine’s writing and I’m pleased to see that the lockdown/ global pandemic hasn’t changed her storytelling style. I quickly became invested in the stories of Harriet and Ellie, two women who had their lives changed after a chance encounter in Romania.

I enjoyed both threads of the story, the trips back in time with Harriet and the more recent time with Ellie. Ellie has become trapped in her home/garden by agrophobia, but has stayed in touch with the outside world by becoming a gardening Instagrammer, passing on hints and tips, and sharing her passion for gardening. She knows she needs to get out, to live her life more fully but needs help to conquer her fears.

I quickly became hooked by the story, desperate to see if Ellie could make some changes and how the story about Harriet would link to Ellie’s. The well written characters came to life and on a cold January day, it was lovely to imagine being in Ellie’s beautiful garden.

I’m trying hard to not give away any spoilers, so I’m sorry if this sounds rather vague but I don’t want to spoil the storytelling. My advice is to order a copy and enjoyed watching the story unfold. Thank you Catherine Isaac for another lovely book.

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