Book Review – Where Rainbows End by Cecelia Ahern

Where Rainbows End review - Pinterest Graphic

Where Rainbows End, or Love, Rosie, as it is more popularly known is one of the sweetest, most heart-warming books that I have ever read. Upon finishing it last night, well into the early hours of the morning with the heavy weight of sleepiness settling over me, I found myself turning the final page with a warm feeling in my chest and a smile on my face. If the aim of this story is to encompass the feeling of falling in love, then I think it succeeded.

Back in January, I watched the film Love, Rosie, on one of those rare quiet nights in at university when I felt like I needed a good rom-com in my life. I loved it immediately. The characters, the story, the soundtrack, the imagery, and the general feeling of the film was me all over. And when I found out that it was based on a book, I knew that I had to read it. I bought it the next day.

Where Rainbows End is, however, very different from the film. Although the characters, concept and heart of the story remain the same, there are several big differences. Personally, I found that this did not detract from either of them, but instead gave me more to look forward to as I was reading the book without knowing exactly what was going to happen next.

The book is about best friends, Rosie and Alex, who grow-up together but circumstances cause them to suddenly live on different sides of the world. The book follows them through their lives as they remain in contact, struggling to both fight off and come to terms with their feelings for each other. But life is never as simple as that and sometimes reaching a happily ever after takes a fair bit of time and effort.

The most unique thing about this book is that it is written in the form of lots of different documents – letters, emails, chat-room messages, newspaper clippings, and even a couple of obituaries. By writing in this unconventional prose, Cecelia Ahern has perfectly encapsulated a sense of life that many books fail to do. As we read from the points of view of different characters, their believability is so strong that I almost feel like I really know them.

I also feel like this form lends itself perfectly to the romance genre. There is a romanticism to letters that is often forgotten nowadays, and if this book had failed at everything else, the one thing that it has definitely done for me is give me a new goal of writing more letters. As we rifle through Rosie’s assortment of lifelong documents, we explore the journey of the characters’ lives in a new and revealing way.

So many themes are explored in this book, but some of the ones that stood out to me were love in every form – family, friendship and romantic – following your dreams, and the circle of life. All of the characters strive to achieve their personal goals in life, and I feel that this adds a whole other dimension to the story, making it more than just your typical romance novel.

One of my favourite concepts of the book is the use of mirroring between the generations. Rosie is best friends with Alex, and her daughter, Katie, is best friends with Toby. Alex dreams of becoming a doctor and Toby dreams of becoming a dentist. And both pairs struggle to realise their true feelings for each other. I thought that this was a very clever way of encouraging Rosie to act on her feelings, as she did not want her daughter to make the same mistakes that she did.

I also found that the timeline of the story was important. Unlike in the film where Rosie and Alex reach their mid-thirties, in the book they go all the way to fifty without recognising their feelings for each other. There is something so poignant about the thought of going half a lifetime without finding your soulmate. This may be just because I am used to reading stories where the characters are much younger at the point of their happily ever after. However, I believe that the concept of finding love at fifty is important. It reflects reality in that sometimes it does take a long time, but the end isn’t what is important; it’s the getting there that matters. All of the characters lead full lives and their years do not go to waste.

But their romance is pretty important too.

I’m so pleased that I found this book. It is bursting with all of the happiness and heartbreak of life, stitched together in a unique way that tells a beautiful, poignant story of true love. I highly recommend it to everyone who loves a good rom-com or chick flick, or who just needs a little bit of love in their lives. Where Rainbows End is practically the definition of the word ‘love’.

And if you don’t feel like reading, then at least watch the film. For Sam Claflin, if nothing else.

Star Rating: 4/5

Author: Cecelia Ahern
Publisher: Harper Collins
Year of First Publication: 2004

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Rediscovering Old Stories

I started this story about three years ago, and have just rediscovered it. Beware, this hasn’t been edited since I found it. Fortunately, I wasn’t a completely illiterate fool so it’s still readable and hopefully interesting.


 

Promise

Chapter One.

Winter. I hate winter. It is just cold, dark and wet. It is when the sun hides behind the clouds, and the stars have trouble shining. It is when the moon seems spookier and gloomier. It is when it is too cold to rain, and instead the sky decides to fall on you. And then people decide to throw bits of fluffy, but deadly freezing cloud at you so hard (possibly with a stone or compacted into ice) that it gives you a black eye and concussion. I hate winter.

It was Monday 29th November. I woke up in my room which is pretty much the whole third floor. It was so cold in there that I could see my breath, and my teeth were chattering, even though I was snuggled up in three blankets, a duvet and two sheets. Very reluctantly, I dragged myself out of bed and forced myself into the luxuriously steamy shower, where I warmed myself up for half an hour.

After that, I dressed for the weather: three pairs of thick tights, two pairs of socks, skinny jeans, a vest, a top and a hooded jacket. After applying a bit of make-up and French plaiting my long, strawberry blonde hair, I tugged on my Ugg boots and leather jacket and headed downstairs.

“Morning, Lydia,” my overly cheerful mum greeted me as I plodded tiredly through the living room. She was curled up in her dressing gown on the armchair, sipping a coffee and reading the newspaper. I envied her so much.

“Morning, mum,” I replied, my voice an obvious contrast from hers. I sounded like there was a thunder storm pouring down on my head. I felt like it too.

“Did you know it’s snowed overnight? I think it still is,” she said, oblivious to my mood.

“I guessed from the frost that lay over me when I woke up,” I replied. She ignored me, and suddenly became engrossed in the article headlined ‘DEATH BY ICE!’ Oh, this was going to be a fun day. Note the sarcasm.

I ate half a banana, and gulped down a glass of juice as my breakfast. I was on a diet. All the girls in my new school were skinny. I wasn’t. But I wasn’t fat. I was curvy. I just felt like I could lose a few pounds, and then I wouldn’t stand out so obviously.

My dad came down the stairs, all ready for work.

“Are you sure your school’s still open?” he asked me. I looked to mum.

“Yes it is. I’ve already rang them and asked,” she said. Dad and I sighed simultaneously. Poor dad had to drive in it without slipping all over the place and creating a domino affect of accidents. I had to put up with huge snowball wars and frost bite. Yes, my school was tiny, but there were quite a few good throwers. And they hurt. A lot.

Dad dropped me off in the school car park, and then drove away as slow as a snail. Almost as soon as I turned the corner to the playground, I got hit with a snowball. Grumbling, I trudged through the thick blanket and made my way to the porch outside the main entrance, where I could shelter almost safely from flying white candy floss. I sank to the dry ground, and wrapped my arms around my knees.

I heard several fast approaching crunching footsteps, and slowly looked up. Stood around me in a semi circle were Ash Jackson, Charlie Opal, Rio Densall, Luke Stuart, and Jayden Skye. In there hands they all held two balls of snow, and on their faces they each held a smirk and a playful glint in their eye. That could only mean one thing.

“Oh crap,” I muttered, before swiftly covering my head with my hands. Instantly, ten snowballs flew in my direction, each bursting into a soft powder as it exploded on me. They were in fits of laughter.

“You freaks, this is my best coat!” I yelled at them, although I knew they were only messing around.

“Why did you wear it today then, you idiot?” Luke laughed. I just frowned.

“Stuff you,” I grumbled. I heard gravelling footsteps getting closer and edged away into the wall. Someone sat next to me. Carefully, I glanced slightly through my hair towards them. It was Jayden. My heart skipped a beat.

“You really hate snow don’t you,” he said. It was more of an observation than a question.

“Is it that obvious?” I rolled my eyes, although he couldn’t see because I was still hiding my face. He chuckled. The sound of his laugh made my legs turn to jelly. Thank god I was sitting down.

“Well, you look cold.” I felt his arm wrap around my shoulders and pull me closer into him. I couldn’t believe what was happening. Jayden Skye – the hottest guy in the whole school – was cuddling me. But then the realisation hit me. It hit me in the form of an icy cold snowball being crushed on the top of my head. I jumped up, shrieking and pulling bits of the white stuff out of my hair. Jay was clutching his sides, choking on his laughter.

That did it. Within a heartbeat, I had two handfuls of snow. I threw them right in Jay’s face, without giving him a chance to be warned. He looked up, surprised and then vengeful. Uh oh. Revenge is bad on anyone, but when Jay got it, it was sure to be painful and much, much worse. I backed away, my hands up in surrender. He took a handful of snow, moulding it into a ball. He walked towards me at my pace, the revenge glinting in his eyes.

“Um, Jay… I wasn’t aiming at you,” I lied. “It slipped out of my hands…” I backed into something behind me, but resisted the urge to turn around. Never turn your back on the enemy. However, this prevented me from backing away any further. And Jay was gaining. A smirk was playing on his beautiful red lips. The snow made his hollow cheeks and pale skin gleam. His shaggy brown hair hung over his right eye. He looked gorgeous. And right now, deadly. This is it, I thought, he’s going to bury me alive in this stuff.

And then the bell went. It only distracted him for a second, but that second that he was off guard was all I needed. I took off as fast as my legs would carry me for the main entrance, and got in to safety. Snow was banned indoors. He couldn’t get me. He would have to wait until break time.

Just as I got through the doors, a snowball exploded on the door frame. Woah, that was close. I turned around and laughed at Jay’s playful-angry face. He followed me inside and we walked up the stairs to our classroom together.

“I’ll get you at break,” he smiled.

“Not if you can’t find me,” I smiled back. He laughed as we entered the classroom and hung our coats up. The other guys, and Ruby and Lily, walked in behind us. They were all covered in snow from head to toe, laughing and messing around. How could they stand to be that smothered in frozen rain?

We had double history first. Our topic was world war two. All through Mrs Kingston’s lecture about evacuation, I kept finding my gaze fixed on the back of Jay’s head. He sat in front of me. His brown hair hung just above his shoulders, curly from the melted snow. His shoulder blades stood out giving the impression of the smooth muscles beneath his black tee-shirt. He was hunched over, resting his chin on his hands, with his elbows on the table.

The lesson dragged on slowly. But when it was over, I found myself wishing it would go on for even longer. Break meant outside. Outside meant snow. Snow meant snowballs. And snowballs meant Jay. Which meant revenge. Sure enough, as soon as the lesson finished, he turned to me with a grin.

“See you out there,” he said before running outside, barely remembering his coat on the way. I sighed, taking my time over putting on my leather jacket and gloves.

I walked slowly towards the main entrance. Luckily, Ruby and Lily were in there, waiting for me.

“So, what was that going on with Jay?” Ruby asked, a cheeky twinkle in her eye.

“Nothing, he just plans to get revenge on me for throwing snow in his face,” I replied.

“Mhm,” she said, knowing that it was actually flirting. But she can’t say anything about flirting. She never stops flirting with Ash, her long term boyfriend. They hardly ever leave each other’s arms. It is rare to find them apart for longer than five minutes.

“I can’t blame you, Lydia, he is so fit,” Lily said dreamily. I looked at her surprised. She was not the type of person to go all dreamy about a boy. She shot an innocent ‘what?’ look at us. We hastily shut our mouths and turned away. She had a good arm on her when it came to throwing stuff. Particularly snow.

“Would you like to explain why you’re hiding in here?” the snobby science teacher, Mrs Garland, asked snootily from the doorway.

“It’s cold…” Ruby moaned.

“It’s wet…” I moaned.

“It’s dangerous…” Lily moaned. Mrs Garland scowled.

“Out,” she pointed a long claw – I mean nail – at the door. Defeated, we went towards the door. And were greeted by a flurry of snowballs. They all missed me luckily, so without a second to spare, I legged it away, knowing that Jay and his mates were following me with flying ice.

I didn’t know where my legs were taking me. I was just trying to get away. However, when I found myself skidding to a halt around the corner, I knew I should have paid closer attention to where I was going. I had hit a dead end. And Jay, Luke and Rio were hot on my trail. Uh oh. I turned to face whatever was coming. Sure enough, around the corner came the three, with Jay in the middle giving me a cheeky smile. They had at least ten snowballs between them. There were three of them and ten snowballs, against one of me with no snowballs. This could not end well. I held up my hands. They didn’t stop walking to me. I stood still.

“Oh god, Jay… what did I ever do to deserve this?” I asked with exaggerated drama.

“Nothing,” he shrugged. We stared each other down for about a minute.

Come on then-

“Now!” Jay yelled and before I could do anything to protect myself ten snowballs exploded in a puff of powder all over me. They didn’t stop there. Somehow they had got closer to me while I was busy choking on the snow, and blinking it out of my eyes. They started grabbing handfuls of it and throwing it at me. They kept doing this until I was drenched in it, like an abominable snowman. They stopped for a minute to laugh.

“Jay,” I said, my voice full of fake innocence, “Do you want a hug?” Before he could do anything, I jumped on him and wrapped my arms around his body. I was surprised he didn’t struggle. Instead, he put his arms around my waist and held me to him. I never wanted the moment to end. But it did. Because Luke had snuck up behind Jay, and pushed him. I found myself sprawled on my back in the snow with Jay on top of me. We stared into each other’s eyes (oh! his amazing bright green eyes), bewildered at what the hell had just happened.

Then people’s laughter snapped us out of it. I pushed Jay, not even realising that my hands had been on his chest. He got up without having to be told twice, and held a hand out for me. I could feel my cheeks were a flaming red, not just from the cold. Blushing even more, I took his hand. He expected to be helping me up, so he was caught off guard. With every inch of strength I could muster up, I pulled him over into the snow while I leapt gracefully to my feet. With a light twirl, and curtsey, I flashed a playful grin at the dazed Jay who was sat on the ground rubbing his bruised tail bone. I looked up to find a lot more people than I had expected, laughing. They were all covered in snow, laughing and clapping at my trick. What was not so great was that most of them had probably seen what had happened a minute ago.

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The bell rang. Everyone grudgingly turned to go, leaving just Jay and I alone. He was stood up now, looking as if he had something on his mind.

“Are you okay, Jay?” I asked him. He shook his head, as if clearing his thoughts, and turned to me with a genuine friendly smile.

“Yeah. You?”

“Yep, I’m fine.” I said, just as the cold hit me. I shivered and my teeth started chattering. Jay looked at me, worry across his beautiful features. He slipped off his big black coat and before I could protest, helped me into it.

“Thank you,” I smiled, a blush creeping onto my cheeks only just after it had gone. He began walking off, not showing any reaction to the coldness. I followed a few steps behind him, eager to get inside to the warmth.


If you like it, let me know and I might upload more chapters.

Which username should my character have?

Here’s a new poll for you guys. So, she’s got her name – now she needs a username. If anyone’s interested, the working title for my book is ‘Fish, Chips and the Internet’.

Thanks, guys!

The Ocean Takes Another. By me.

Sand pressed between her toes. The smell of salt hung in the air tantalisingly. Waves rushed in and out, drawing her closer, closer. Moonlight glistened against the black waves. Her hair flew out behind her as the wind picked up, swirling the thin material of her nightgown around her legs. She walked nearer, nearer to the ocean.

The water crept against her toes. Sand ran away with it, tickling her feet with its sweet goodbye kisses. Waves crashed around her, rolling in and out against her toes, her ankles, the backs of her legs, her knees. Droplets of water sprayed against her face, her dress. The water clung to her.

Slowly, she turned her face up to the moon. Her eyes closed. Her mouth tugged up into a smile. Slowly, she held out her arms as if to embrace the ocean, as if to embrace the sparkling night sky and the crashing of the waves and the serene calmness of the gazing, silver moon. And she spun. At first, slowly. But then faster, faster. Her nightgown, drenched and see-through in the darkness, whipped against her. She spun faster, faster and her smile grew. She lifted her chin more. Her soaking hair stuck to her face, her neck, her dress. Her sodden nightgown clung to her skin.

But she danced there, in the moonlight, amidst the waves and the ocean and the sparkling night sky where thousands of stars laughed with her, their voices drowned out by the roaring of the waves that rolled over her.

For the waves were hungry that night as she was empty. And the ocean was the only thing that wanted her anymore. So she spread her arms and she welcomed it into her being, into her hair and her eyes and her mouth and her lungs. And she fell asleep that night. She fell asleep with the moon watching and the stars laughing and a sweet smile on her wet, broken face.

Feel the Words, Become the Words.

Why is it that when I actually have time to write something, I can never get into it? I’ve got this idea for a story, but I just can’t get the words out in a way that is readable. I’m going back to college next week and I’ve got a 1305830 pieces of homework to do, but I swear to Merlin if I don’t get this done I’m going to go crawl in a hobbit hole somewhere, staring at a blank piece of paper and sobbing uncontrollably.

Planning things is so much easier than writing them up. Gah!