Today I’m delighted to be on the blog tour for Only Human by Diane Chandler. The book is published by Blackbird Books on the 8th September and there is a special 99p preorder price at the moment over on Amazon UK.
The Bonds are, seemingly, a tight family unit, until one fateful summer when the temptations of lust and love come for them all
Tiger mum Anna, who gave up her career to build the perfect home life in London’s leafy Chiswick, is shocked to the core when she discovers that her husband of 20 years is having an affair.
Her daughter meanwhile is transforming into a tricky teen chopping at the apron strings.
Then Jack walks into their lives. Sophie’s first boyfriend is a breath of fresh air for the whole family, and Anna gradually discovers new purpose for herself.
But when more deceit creeps in, tensions soar, and Anna is propelled through a tangled web of secrets and lies towards a devastating climax.
This tale of love & betrayal, by the winner of the 2016 People’s Book Prize for Fiction and longlisted for The Guardian Not The Booker Prize 2020, is the perfect novel for you if you enjoy intelligent, elegantly-written, novels by authors like Jodi Picoult and Louise Doughty.
There’s probably nothing I can say about Only Human by Diane Chandler that the lovely Anne Williams at Being Anne hasn’t already said! Her review was just perfect and captured everything I wanted to say about this book and more! So make sure you check it out here…
I’ve read Moondance by Diane Chandler and it’s one of my favourite books. Her writing is just so wonderfully engaging that I knew I would enjoy Only Human but I have to say that it totally knocked my socks off! Diane Chandler seems to be able to bring her characters to life so vividly that I felt as though I were reading about a friend, someone I already knew quite well, with only having read a few pages. The storyline centres on and around Anna, wife and “tiger mom”, during the summer her teenage daughter sits her GCSEs and turns 16. And I related to Anna immediately! As a wife and mother of girls myself I understood EXACTLY how she was feeling! Diane Chandler was able to show how a woman heading into middle age can start to wonder where she goes next in her life. When your daughter becomes more sexually attractive than you, her mother, and starts pulling away from her as she becomes an independent woman herself, it can leave women feeling useless and unloved as they try to work out their new “role” in life. This should really then become another honeymoon period for parents as they rediscover each other as individuals and not just “mum and dad” but what if your husband has got his second wind for passion with another woman? That’s the dilemma facing Anna when she discovers her husband is having an affair-what should she do now? She has no job (having given up her career to bring up her daughter and be there for her family) so when her daughter brings home her new boyfriend Jack, he starts off a chain of events that will bring to the surface shocking family secrets and lead Anna to make some rather questionable choices! But I couldn’t judge the direction she went in as she searched for meaning and desire in her life-even though it surprised me that the direction she took wasn’t quite the one I had been expecting!
Only Human has a perfectly balanced storyline as Anna also finds purpose in her life when he befriends an old man called Fred. Their encounters were full of humour and a bittersweet emotion that came to a head with his diagnosis of vascular dementia and a heartbreaking and powerfully emotional plotline. Even Freds dog Dougal was portrayed so realistically that when he went for his “haircut” I went completely nuts on behalf of Anna and Fred! I just hope his coat has grown back now! But seriously, the relationship between Fred and Anna was so emotionally gripping that I didn’t want to read it at times due to the direction I knew it had to take.
I can’t recommend Only Human highly enough. I loved every single page, every ( often thoroughly unlikeable!) character and I didn’t want it to ever end. As with other books I’ve loved, the story will keep going in my head with Anna continuing on with her life-just in a parallel world to this one! Definitely one of my favourite books of 2020!
Diane Chandler was a political lobbyist in Brussels and then worked at the European Commission for several years, where she managed overseas aid programmes in Ukraine just after the fall of communism. Back in London, she joined the Department for International Development (DFID) on the Ukraine and then Africa desks. Her first novel, The Road to Donetsk, draws on her experience of managing overseas aid programmes, and won the People’s Book Prize. Her second, Moondance, tackles the emotional impact of IVF fertility treatment on a loving couple. Only Human, her third novel, is about a woman struggling to find meaning in life after her husband cheats on her and her only daughter is about to fly the nest. Published 8th September 2020. Diane co-runs Creative Writing Workshops London with Stephanie Zia of Blackbird Digital Books, and also coaches aspiring writers. She is the host of chiswickbuzz TV Book Club, Words with Wine in W4