Heather Harris is a piano teacher and professional musician, whose quiet life revolves around music, whose memories centre on a single song that haunts her. A song she longs to perform again.
A song she wrote as a child, to drown out the violence in their home. A song she played with her little sister, Harriet. But Harriet is gone … she disappeared when their parents died, and Heather never saw her again.
#NothingElse @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks #RandomThingsTours @annecater @RandomTTours #blogtour
When Heather is offered an opportunity to play piano on a cruise ship, she leaps at the chance. She’ll read her recently released childhood care records by day – searching for clues to her sister’s disappearance – and play piano by night … coming to terms with the truth about a past she’s done everything to forget.
I cried. I admit it. In fact I probably cried for most of the last third of the book. But don’t be put off by silly old me. This book is wonderful, tender, beautiful and uplifting but it’s also very sad. It broke my heart at times.
Louise Beech is one of my favourite authors and this book is one of my favourite reads of the second half of 2022. It pulls at the heart strings as well as the piano strings – see what I did there – the characters are so well drawn. I loved Heather, but I probably loved her little sister Harriet even more if that’s possible.
As children the two sisters were inseparable, playing the piano to drown out the violence in their home. Heather was trying to protect Harriet from hearing what was going on – their father hitting their mother. That two such young children should have to witness such horror is unimaginable. It really did break my heart.
Now in their forties, Heather hasn’t seen Harriet since the day she disappeared from the children’s home where they were living after their parents were killed in an accident. She has no idea what happened to her or even if she is still alive.
When they were little, they composed a song which they called Nothing Else and it still haunts Heather today. How can she ever play it without her sister sitting on her left side – her secondo to Heather’s primo.
Scared to look for Harriet properly throughout her adult life, Heather finally decides to ask for her care records in case something written there might help her find her sister. She has been offered the opportunity to play piano on a cruise ship, so she can read through them in her cabin when she is not playing.
I just loved this book so much. I loved their piano teacher, who the girls visited in secret. I felt for their poor mum, who suffered so terribly throughout her married life. And of course I adored the sisters and hoped they would find peace and happiness at last.
Many thanks to @annecater for inviting me to be part of #RandomThingsTours.
About the Author
All six of Louise Beech’s books have been digital bestsellers. Her novels have been a Guardian Readers’ Choice, shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize, and shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull.
Follow her on Twitter @LouiseWriter