Paperback: 403 pages
Genre: Contemporary Humorous Fiction
Publisher: Pan Macmillan 2018
Source: Tywyn Library
First Sentences: The cracks. If I don't step on the cracks in this pavement then all will be well, all will go according to plan.
Review Quote: 'Laugh out loud' Marian Keyes - Author.
Main Characters: Rachel Taylor and Shirley Burke
My Opinion: An agreeable and easy read with plenty of twists in the story, although I did guess the eventual outcome before the end. Humorous yet with a serious theme, I can recommend this novel to those that enjoy contemporary fiction.
Précis Courtesy of Goodreads:
Pregnant Rachel Taylor is enjoying a holiday in Morocco when she gets the phone call to say her mother hasn’t got much time left to live. With a head of mixed emotions she returns to the village where she grew up to say her last goodbyes. It’s true to say their relationship had often been strained and Rachel had never quite understood why. When clearing out her mother’s things she thinks she finds an answer, and her world is changed forever.
Shirley Burke is on a family holiday at Butlin’s when she first sets eyes on Doug, a man considerably older than herself. When his daughter goes missing one night, Shirley’s the one who finds her and returns her to him. When his gratitude turns into something else, Shirley realizes this is her time to shine. But Doug is married, and her young life is about to get very complicated.
Rachel and Shirley. Two women from different decades in Jonathan Harvey's The Years She Stole. Somehow their lives are entwined and neither can know the impact one woman will have on the other until it’s way too late . . .
Harvey was born in Liverpool on June 13th 1968. He has a brother, Timothy Harvey who is a music teacher in Chester. His first serious attempt as a playwright was in 1987. Fuelled by the attraction of a £1,000 first prize to young writers from the Liverpool Playhouse, the result was The Cherry Blossom Tree, a garish blend of suicide, murder and nuns. This effort won him the National Girobank Young Writer of the Year Award.
Feeling very encouraged, he went on to write Mohair (1988), Wildfire (1992) and Babies (1993), the latter winning him the 'George Devine Award' for that year and The Evening Standard's 'Most Promising Playwright Award' for 1994. In 1993, Harvey, premiered Beautiful Thing, a gay-themed play-turned-movie for which he won the prestigious 'John Whiting Award' the following year.
1995 saw the premiere of Boom Bang-a-Bang, at the Bush Theatre, London, originally directed by Kathy Burke. Harvey cites it as "my most comic play ever, but with some dark bits". Centred on a group of friends gathering to watch the Eurovision Song Contest, the play was a sell-out. That same year, he also premiered Rupert Street Lonely Hearts Club. Guiding Star (1998), is a portrayal of one man's struggle to come to terms with the Hillsborough FA Cup Semi-Final disaster, while Hushabye Mountain (1999) deals with a world that has learned to live with HIV/AIDS. Television and film works include: West End Girls (Carlton); Love Junkie (BBC); Beautiful Thing (Channel Four/Island World Productions); the 1999-2001 hit/cult comedy series starring Kathy Burke and James Dreyfus, Gimme Gimme Gimme (Tiger Aspect); Murder Most Horrid (BBC); and Coronation Street (ITV).
He also wrote the book for Closer to Heaven, a stage musical with songs and music written by Pet Shop Boys. Closer to Heaven ran for nine months at the Arts Theatre in London during 2001 and in Australia in 2005. In 2003 Harvey heard the singer-actress Abi Roberts perform and was so enchanted he offered to write a solo show especially for her. Taking Charlie was the outcome, staged at the 2004 Edinburgh Festival with Roberts starring, under the direction of Susan Tully. The piece was darkly comic and focused on the destructive nature of an insecure, 30-year-old addict.
Harvey is a patron of London-based HIV charity The Food Chain and a patron of the London Festival of Contemporary Church Music. His first novel All She Wants was published in 2012 by Pan Books
Photographs, Trailer and Biographical Information courtesy of the following sites.
Goodreads - Author Profile Jo Harvey @Twitter Jonathan Harvey - LoveReading
panmacmillan - jonathan harvey