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A Strange Companion by [Manterfield, Lisa]
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Length: 296 pages Word Wise: Enabled Language: English

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Product description

Product Description

Kat Richardson isn’t running away from grief; she’s just hiding out in a gloomy Welsh university town until she’s sure it’s gone. Now, one year, nine months, and 27 days after the climbing death of her first love, Gabe, she thinks she’s ready to venture out into the relationship world again. And Owen—a cake-baking, Super Ball-making chemistry student—appears to be a kind, funny, and very attractive option.

But the arrival of Kat’s newly adopted niece, Mai, forces her home to northern England, where she runs headfirst into all the memories of Gabe she’s tried to leave behind—and discovers that Mai stirs up an unnerving feeling of déjà vu. Before long, Kat’s logical, scientific beliefs about life after death are in battle with what she feels to be true—that reincarnation is real and Gabe has come back to her through Mai. The question now, is why?

Taking on the topics of love, loss, and how we deal with grief, A Strange Companion is a twisted love triangle among the living, the dead, and the reincarnated.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2342 KB
  • Print Length: 296 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Steel Rose Press (4 April 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B06XB85BD8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
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Amazon.com: 4.9 out of 5 stars 22 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful, Evocative Story of Love, Grief, and Redemption - A Fantastic Read! 28 March 2017
By mvandraren - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Lisa Manterfield has written a beautiful, evocative story of love and grief and the unknowable paths we each must walk to find our way back to life. A Strange Companion is like tubing down the Anduin through Lothlórien in June: quirky, delightful mysteries and surprises appear around every bend.

I’ve been fortunate to not experience firsthand the harrowing grief of the loss of a loved one, but Lisa Manterfield’s debut novel, A Strange Companion, took me inside the grieving heart of nineteen-year-old university student Kat Richardson as she navigates the sorrow of losing her first love. Ms. Manterfield tells Kat’s story from extreme close-up, letting her reader experience Kat’s shock, pain, denial, hope, defeat, and confusion through her heroine’s eyes and soul.

Written in an effortless, fluid style, A Strange Companion is a charming love story riddled with guilt and shame, as well as a quest for forgiveness, compassion, and redemption. Considering Kat’s struggle with love, loss, and saying goodbye to the ghosts of her past, A Strange Companion is remarkably down to earth and often delightfully quirky. There’s a lot to love about Kat Richardson, and I found myself rooting for her from page one.

So what is the gist of the story? Well, rather than retell Kat’s story (without spoilers!), it makes sense to let Ms. Manterfield do it:

"Kat Richardson isn’t running away from grief; she’s just hiding out in a gloomy Welsh university town until she’s sure it’s gone. Now, one year, nine months, and 27 days after the climbing death of her first love, Gabe, she thinks she’s ready to venture out into the relationship world again. And Owen—a cake-baking, Super Ball-making chemistry student—appears to be a kind, funny, and very attractive option.

But the arrival of Kat’s newly adopted niece, Mai, forces her home to northern England, where she runs headfirst into all the memories of Gabe she’s tried to leave behind—and discovers that Mai stirs up an unnerving feeling of déjà vu. Before long, Kat’s logical, scientific beliefs about life after death are in battle with what she feels to be true—that reincarnation is real and Gabe has come back to her through Mai. The question now, is why?"

In addition to Kat’s internal struggles with grief, the family relationships explored throughout A Strange Companion resonate with frank, psychological truth, contrasting the ebb and flow of familial tension and missed opportunities against the small victories of finding common ground. These connections, powerful reminders of our own shared experiences in our day-to-day lives, resonate no less authentically in Kat’s.

Lisa Manterfield is a terrific storyteller and writer, and A Strange Companion is a wonderful success. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars LOVED IT! Nuanced, Layered, Poetic - this book will stay with me for a long time 11 April 2017
By Melissa Dinwiddie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read a lot of novels. Many authors can write page turners. Many can make me laugh or cry. Fewer can weave prose that makes my heart sing. Fewer still can craft a story so layered and nuanced that it taps me right to the core, and leaves me buzzing. In A Strange Companion, Lisa Manterfield has managed to do all of the above.

Kat Richardson has lost two loved ones in the past five years—first her father, then her boyfriend, Gabe, in a climbing accident for which Kat still carries guilt.

Two years after Gabe's death, Kat finds herself unprepared for a possible blossoming new relationship when she's called home to meet the adopted daughter of her brother and his husband, newly arriving from China.

Coming home after a year and a half away at University immerses Kat squarely in the painful memories she's staunchly tried to avoid all this time. But it also presents her with an opportunity to deal with Gabe's death... or perhaps to reunite with his spirit?

The book's themes – love and loss, death, relationships, even whether or not reincarnation is real – are not for the faint of heart. Heavy stuff for anyone, let alone a 19-year-old university student. Yet Manterfield's humor and poetic prose keep what could be a bleak story from getting too dark. Not only did I find myself laughing out loud more than once, but I hated to put the book down and couldn't wait to pick it up again each time I did.

Kat is a messy, imperfect person, who makes messy, imperfect choices. She wants nothing more than to have complete clarity, then comes to a conclusion, only to have new information throw off her conclusion. This is part of why I found her so relatable and so likable–aren't we all like this? LIFE is messy! Kat learns as she goes, and her character arc, though painful, is one of redemption in the end.

My only complaint is that the book did end! I wanted to keep following Kat forever! Here's to chocolate hazelnut marble cake!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Beach Read - Crisp writing, lovable characters and fast-moving plot. A love story that reads like a thriller! 1 May 2017
By Peyton Vandiver - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
This book is the perfect beach read! The chapters are short. The writing is crisp. It's a love story that reads like a thriller. I finished it in one day. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from a debut author, but Manterfield writes like a seasoned pro. The voice is distinct and interesting. The plot moves along, and the conflicts and twists and turns are unexpected but not forced. The book looks at the issues of finding love and then losing love in a tragic way. It challenges the reader with its perspective on reincarnation, but the whole time, I wasn't sure whether this was real or whether it was the character's wanting it to be real. The writer had me guessing and questioning. I wanted it to be true as much as the main character, but the writer kept giving me enough doubt to keep up the suspense.

The writer unfolds the backstory of the characters in a manner that most advanced novelists could only wish for.

I loved getting a view into Welsh living. I wanted to share a "cuppa" with the characters. The language is fresh and interesting. A slice of life into the Welsh lifestyle.

I loved this book and can't wait to read more from this author!!!!

I was perplexed by the title until about ⅔ of the way through, I realized what it meant. I won't spoil it, but the title makes perfect sense, and the way is was revealed was so clever!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A MUST READ!!! 5 April 2017
By Tracey Cleantis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As a therapist I am more inclined to recommend self-help or psychology books, than I am fiction, however this book is most definitely going on my 'Must Read" List. With the same intelligence, wit and insight readers know her for in her non-fiction work, Lisa created a beauty of a novel. This book transcends worlds/genres and even lifetimes; this funny, feisty, and beautiful book manages to simultaneously break your heart (yes, I cried out loud) and it also make you laugh out loud---- it also, miraculously, manages to offer hope and sunshine as it explores loss. The only downside with this book is that it ends. The good news is that I can read it again!
5.0 out of 5 stars Seriously Strange, but Entertaining 5 April 2017
By Theresa - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I don’t believe in reincarnation, so I began reading this story holding my Kindle in one hand while nervously fingering the cross of my necklace with the other. The only reason I picked up a book like this is because I have read Lisa’s nonfiction work and know for certain that she can tell an engaging story. I was not disappointed.

A Strange Companion surprised me in so many ways! I didn’t expect a writer who is so relatively new to published fiction to expertly craft such rich descriptions of South Wales and Sheffield, or create charming English characters like Kat, with her funny bits of dialogue. (“No one but me has seen my smalls in years!”) And yes, in this fictional world the main character spends time pursuing the idea that her dead boyfriend has been reincarnated, but the author deftly uses this and other brow-raising situations (gay men adopting a baby) to create surprising plot twists throughout the story. (Get ready to learn some Mandarin Chinese. It’s important!)

With each new scene, I found myself shaking my head for poor Kat; I forgot what all that insecurity was like in my late teens and early twenties, and strangely it made me feel young again as I began to identify with her. When Kat gets back home to Sheffield there are so many laugh-out-loud moments that this crazy girl finds herself in, as she grapples with loss while trying to process her family’s changing dynamics. I couldn’t wait to turn the page!

I hope you enjoy the story. It’s an adventure.

By the way, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. You can see that I liked it so much, I purchased a copy to support the author in her work!