It gives me great pleasure to share my thoughts today on tour for The Rise and Fall of Sadie McQueen by Juliet Ashton.
It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but Cherry Blossom Mews is a miraculous place. It’s somewhere that finds you, rather than the other way around.
Sadie McQueen has leased a double fronted space in this small cul de sac in a culturally diverse corner of central London. The cobbles muffle the noise of double-deckers roaring past the arched gates. Turn right and you are in a futuristic maze of corporate glass monoliths. Turn left and you see a wide street with many different houses. Towering above the mews are the degenerating tower blocks of an infamous estate. The old folks home and the nearby school are both in need of TLC; the private members’ club that set up shop in a listed Georgian building has been discreetly refurbished at huge expense.
Into this confusion comes Sadie. She fell in love with the street the moment she first twisted her ankle on its cobbles. Her double-fronted unit is now a spa. She has sunk all her money into the lease and refurbishment. She’s sunk all her hope into the carefully designed treatment rooms, the calm white reception space, the bijou flat carved out of the floor above.
Sadie has a mission to connect. To heal herself from tragedy. Sadie has wrapped the mews around her like a warm blanket, after unimaginable loss and unimaginable guilt. Her hard-won peace is threatened, not only by the prospect of the mews going under but by a man aptly named Hero who wakes up her comatose heart.
Sadie has a lot to give, and a lot to learn, not least that some ghosts aren’t ghosts at all.
The Fall and Rise of Sadie McQueen is published by Simon & Schuster and is available to purchase in digital, paperback and audiobook formats.
Sadie intrigued me from the beginning. I wanted to know more about her guilt from three years ago and what motivated her. The clues are really well timed and by the time we know the whole story, I had so much love for her (I must admit I made some assumptions in the beginning which were way out). Although she’s vulnerable I thought she had so much strength.
The characters’ idiosyncrasies come into play at the weekly Residents’ Association meetings and through Sadie, we get to know more about them throughout the week. The timing of new characters is perfect and add even more colour to their lives.
I really enjoyed Juliet Ashton’s writing style. For instance:
“ <snip> the family ties so slack they trailed on the floor.”
“You must be super fit by now, all the jumping to conclusions you do.”
I enjoyed the dry wit and humour which balances out the heartbreak of the theme.
When I found myself getting comfortable with the story and thinking I had it sussed, WHAM, another shock is thrown into their lives. I didn’t see any of these things coming and loved the new path the story followed. It certainly kept me alert and engaged. 🙂
The Cherry Blossom Mews community drew me into their everyday lives, so much so, I continued to think about the characters long after the story ended.
The Fall and Rise of Sadie McQueen is a must read. I urge you to add to your wishlist.
Juliet Ashton was born in Fulham and still lives in London. She writes under a variety of names, including her real name, Bernadette Strachan, and as Claire Sandy. Juliet is a former voiceover agent to stars including Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry. She is married and has one daughter. Find out more at www.berniestrachan.com