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Writer, avid reader, keen reviewer, book collector, drinker of all tea blends originating from Earl Grey, and modern history enthusiast. I enjoy reading many genres but have a particular interest in historical fiction. Historical Fiction Editor with the Australian Women Writers Challenge. You can find me and all of my book related news and reviews at: theresasmithwrites.com
on Nov. 20, 2013 :
From the powerful and hypnotic opening scene of Theresa Smith’s debut novel Somebody I Used to Know, I felt compelled to discover the cause of all the tension bubbling beneath the surface of the characters. What evolved was a truly remarkable story which spanned many years. I was literally hooked, swept along by the tantalizing romance, the drama, and the heartbreaking moments.
The story unfolded gradually and wove its way through the distant past, the recent past and the present. This gave me a deep and full understanding of both the characters and the story. I was intrigued to know whether they would all find the happiness they deserved.
The story closely followed the lives of Nora and her daughter Ness, after the death of Nora’s husband Luke. Nora has one big secret up her sleeve... and it has the power to both destroy and drastically change lives. We visit her troubled past where it all began... where there is more than one tragedy and family drama going on. The past also reveals the beauty and purity of young love and friendships... and how it can all go wrong. Nora and Luke’s friendship with Nick and Jen seems unbreakable. But at the closing of their youth, one friend is dead and another is left behind for good.
Back in the present, the reader is tantalized by Champaign bubbles of romance, and hopes for the troubled secrets of the past to finally be unravelled and forgiven.
The story illustrates that sometimes there are no right or wrong decisions in life, yet whatever is decided, we need to live with that decision. And live with it well. In this way, Nora is an incredibly strong woman who you can’t help but admire. Yes she broke someone’s heart, but she also broke her own heart to save another. You can’t help wishing she’d made a different decision, especially when she was so in love, and that person was in love with her and thinking of her for so many years afterwards, writing heartbreaking letters he never sent. Thank goodness somebody he used to know returned and there is hope again for happiness.
I highly recommend this story as it is a very enjoyable and worthwhile read.
(reviewed 76 days after purchase)
on Sep. 05, 2013 :
I am a 68 year old man, married with four children and 5 grandchildren. I have been round a bit and this book was recommended by a family member.
After reading the previous review by Halliday Smith ( no relation to the author I take it ) I really don't think the location of the story really matters. I think it could easily have a world wide appeal as the events leading up to the crucial intimate moments, makes the book compelling reading.Such events could happen to any family anywhere. as it happens it nearly happened to me.
The more intimate moments are tastefully done and the flashbacks by Nick, keep up the intrigue. I would like to read the sequel as to what Nessa and Finn make of their lives.Rambo
(reviewed 9 days after purchase)
on Aug. 22, 2013 :
With its fair share of underlying tensions, Theresa Smith’s debut novel, ‘Somebody I used to know’, certainly lives up to singer-songwriter Gotye’s angst-ridden smash hit of the same name.
But the author’s storyline is a lot more complex than the hit song’s ‘you done me wrong’ premise, dealing as it does with the tricky territory teenagers confront as they negotiate the highly-charged pitfalls of adolescence. None more so than the events leading up to a tragic incident that breaks up the close-knit ‘gang of four’, Nora, Luke, Nick and Jen, and changes their lives forever.
‘Somebody I used to know’ is a good read but it is not your average ‘happy families’ type love story. Instead the author subtly explores on several fronts how a dysfunctional upbringing not only shapes individuals but influences the relationships they are drawn to.
Subterfuge lies at the heart of this novel, as decisions made by young heads in the best interests of others come back to haunt their makers down the track.
The author skilfully explores a number of points of view, including those of her mid-30s heroine Nora, and her coming of age teenage daughter Ness. And we have a pretty good idea about Nick’s state of mind through the device of the letters he started to write after the disintegration of the foursome.
The novel is well paced and the characters believable, gaining dimension as the plot unfolds through the skilful use of back story. And the sexual scenes are equally credible, free of cliché and entirely age appropriate.
As to the book’s setting, it wasn’t until Byron Bay got a mention that I realised that it played out in NSW, Australia. While I would have liked more descriptions that undeniably anchored the book ‘down under’, perhaps the author chose a more ‘wide open’ setting to increase its appeal to international audiences.
What would the reader have done in similar circumstances, had they been walking in the shoes of the protagonists? In posing this question, ‘Somebody I used to know’ is a moral tale well worth reading.
(reviewed 11 days after purchase)