Authors Showcase: Torn by Gilli Allan

9781783756872_FC-640x1024

The Book: Torn

The Author: Gilli Allan

The Story: Jess has made a series of bad life choices and all have let her down.

Escaping London, she sets out to recreate herself in the idyllic countryside, and this time she wants to get it right!

She wants to lead a responsible, tranquil life with her young son Rory, but soon discovers stresses which pull her in opposing directions – conflict over a new bypass, between friends, and worst of all, between lovers.

Educated, experienced, and pragmatic, James is a widowed farmer whose opinions differ from, and enrage, Jess. His young shepherd, Danny, is an uneducated and inexperienced idealist. Jess is attracted to them both, and realizes if she wants her idyllic countryside life to survive, she must choose her Mr Right.

The only problem is – which one is he?

About Gilli Allan:

Gilli Allan
Gilli Allan

Gilli Allan began writing novels in childhood – a hobby pursued throughout her teenage. Though she never finished anything, writing was only abandoned totally when she left home and real life took over from the fiction. Gilli did not go to Oxford or Cambridge, but instead went to Croydon Art College.

She did not work on any of the broadsheets or in television, but did a variety of jobs – shop assistant, beauty-consultant, barmaid, as well as a job which involved picking up American tourists in London in order to sell them real estate in Florida. Gilli worked longest and most happily as a commercial artist – specifically as an illustrator in advertising.

When Gilli stopped work to have her son she started writing again. Her first two completed novels – Just Before Dawn and Desires & Dreams – were immediately taken on by a publisher.

Gilli writes honestly about modern relationships. In TORN she does not shy away from the messiness of life, or underplay the difficulties to be faced by single parents who seek to rebuild their lives.

Review by Saved:

TORN pulled me into the story of Jess from the very first paragraph. The book is a wonderful piece of prose from a gifted author with a unique voice. It is a romance with a twist, a slice from the life of Jessica Avery. On the one hand, TORN is about a thirty-something single mom who escapes a violently abusive relationship and the hassles of a stressful job in London, yearning for peace and stability in the country.

But on a deeper level, TORN is about the effects of abuse, the lurching starts and stops, the choices of an abused woman who in many ways is broken as she searches for a new life and a proper home for her child, stumbling along the way.

Listen to the rhythm of Ms. Allan’s prose as Jess speaks: “‘Tonight marks a fresh start. A new life. And I’m determined to get it right this time.’ With the words-and all the underlying unspoken implications-she felt the up-swell of elation, the utter conviction that re-making her life would be easy.”

Jess’s quest is more than she bargained for, however, and she falls into the arms of one man, only to fall into the arms of another.
TORN
chronicles Jess’s coming of age, if you will, her growth as a person, and the novel’s scenes–those with her friends and with her child, Rory, who during the course of the narrative, has milestones of his own–include her romantic relationships with men in quite detailed and beautifully written prose. In fact, the sex scenes are masterfully written. A tightly-written novel, all the scenes, including those in the bedroom, have a purpose: they move the story along and illuminate the characters, especially Jess.

Review by Jenny Twist:

Jess and her young son, Rory, escape from their old life in search of something better. Jess’s choice could not be more extreme. She leaves the bustle of London for the quiet of the countryside, her demanding and stressful job for a life of leisure, her abusive boyfriend for a single life.

Not a celibate one, though, as it turns out. Jess’s desire to get away from it all, including romantic relationships, is thwarted by the appearance on the scene of not one, but two lovers. One is the suitable local land owner, the other is a dreamer, far younger than her, with no ambition – a hippie who hangs about with disreputable new age travellers. No contest? Well, that’s just the problem.

This is an impressive book. Gilli Allan is an accomplished and fluent writer. She uses language well and, so rare these days, correctly. Her characterisation is superb. I found myself getting furious with the shallow and selfish Jess who invariably puts her own desires first, but fell a little in love with both her lovers. The plot is quite different from anything I’ve ever read before. Most definitely NOT chick lit. But how would you characterise it? Often the best books fail to fall neatly into genres and this is one of them. Gilli pulls no punches and makes no attempt to prettify her characters.

An unpredictable story but an all round very good read.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Related Posts