Review: Someone I Used to Know by Paige Toon

Someone I Used to Know, the latest novel by Paige Toon is a beautiful and heartbreaking but ultimately uplifting story of family, the importance of unconditional love and second chances. Leah hasn't had it easy. Following on from the sudden passing of her father--a warm and lovely man--she finds herself returning to her childhood home in Yorkshire with her small daughter, Emilie. Theo, Emilie's father and Leah's husband, isn't with them due to a tragic event that is alluded to in the first few pages. At her father's funeral, she finds herself face-to-face with George, one of the many troubled foster children that her parents took in, and the crush that Leah has never ever been able to properly forget. Soon, his presence begins to stir up all kinds of feelings, ones that Leah thought she had forgotten ...

Although a love triangle is central to the novel, this one is so much more than that. It's also a book about the importance of family, and second chances. The novel alternates between two timeline, the first featuring Leah as a fifteen-year-old teenager, who, although she knows deep down that her parents love her, often feels resentful that her parents devote so much time to taking in foster children. The second features Leah some years later, who, as she reconnects with her widowed mother and with George, begins to see things from a more mature perspective.

This is a heartbreaking read in many ways, and one that highlights the sheer importance of what people like Leah's parents do. Fostering isn't easy, and neither is being a foster kid, and author Paige Toon does not shy away from showing this to the reader. I also loved that the family home also just happened to be an alpaca farm and some of the mentions of the alpacas. Some of the family traditions, such as the tree, warmed my heart, while other things, like the bit about the wrist warmers most definitely made me giggle. 

I've read and enjoyed a couple of Paige Toon novels in the past, and this one definitely left me wanting to read more of her work in the future, so much so that I've already sourced copies of The Minute I Saw You, Johnny Be Good and Pictures of Lily. I look forward to reading them and possibly reviewing them here on the blog. As I said in the opening paragraph, Someone I Used to Know is beautiful and heartbreaking but, ultimately, uplifting story.

Highly recommended. 

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