Friday, 15 January 2016

Don't Be Afraid by Daniela Sacerdoti

"When you've forgotten how to live, help can arrive in mysterious ways...

Successful artist Isabel Ramsay has never come to terms with the tragic death of her mother. Haunted by what happened, Isabel finds her own life spiralling out of control until, one winter's day, she gives up, unable to bear the pain of living any longer. Yet somehow she wakes up, remembering a vision of a mysterious woman who has saved her. But alone in a locked house, surely that's impossible?

With her family and friends worried out of their minds, her husband Angus finds a companion to watch over Isabel while he's away from home. Warm, wise Clara can connect with Isabel in a way no one else can, helping her face up to her painful past, rediscover her passion for art and become brave enough to live her life again. But there s a mystery surrounding Clara: who is she, and why does Isabel feel she's known her all her life?

Don't Be Afraid is a beautiful, life-affirming story of how even the most difficult struggles can be overcome and how help can arrive in mysterious ways."

As I write this, it has been four years since I first discovered Daniela Sacerdoti, all because I won a competition hosted by Shaz at Jera's Jamboree.  Looking back at my initial review, posted here, it has been almost four years to the day since I first reviewed Watch Over Me, my first Daniela Sacerdoti book.  That book, its characters and the setting still stay with me to this day as being one of the most beautiful books written and one of my absolute favourites of all time.  

Since then, readers have had the delight of revisiting Glen Avich twice more - in Take Me Home and Set Me Free.  Now, once again, we get to go back and revisit the people and place so many of us have come to love in Don't Be Afraid.

The Glen Avich books are like building blocks. Although each of them could definitely be read as standalone books, as a set each new one that comes along adds another layer to the story.  There will always be references to characters you have seen before.  No matter how small those references, they brighten the book as you get to glimpse what has become of those characters you loved so intensely once upon a time.

Don't Be Afraid is the story of Isabel, who is a character which we have met before.  Time has moved on and Isabel is suffering in a way she feels nobody around her can understand and in a way that makes her do things which will hurt those she loves so immensely.  Don't Be Afraid intensely focuses on Isabel and how her mental illness impacts the lives of those around her; her husband, her brother-in-law (Torcuil, who we also know from previous books) and Margherita (the focus of Set Me Free).

Dani continues to write in her unique style which, in my opinion, sets her books out from any other of the same genre.  As always, there is a paranormal element which adds to the magic of the story and is carried off so well in a way only Dani seems to be able to manage.  I have to admit that, on this occasion, I guessed Clara's 'secret' long before it was revealed but this absolutely didn't take anything away from it for me and made no absolutely no difference to how I felt about the story.

Don't be fooled, Don't Be Afraid, is not a book that will leave you feeling depressed.  The subject of depression and mental illness is handled exceptionally well, although I don't feel that Dani held back. Ultimately it is a story of a man fighting to save the woman he loves and a woman fighting to stay afloat.  It is uplifting and it is full of hope and magic.  

Don't Be Afraid is out now and at the time of writing, only 59p on kindle as an introductory price (what an absolute bargain!!!).  You can grab yourself a copy here:


Alternatively, you could have a go at winning yourself a copy.  As a celebration of the last stop of the Don't Be Afraid blog tour, Black and White Publishing have one copy of Don't Be Afraid up for grabs.  Just click here to enter the competition.