Author: Karly Lane
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher
Someone Like You is the latest release by Karly Lane, an author I have been following for a few years now. I haven’t read all of her books but I have tried to keep up with the ones which have been released since I discovered her.
I have always found Karly Lane novels to be a little quirky, contain more than a hint of humour and often draw inspiration from Australia’s history. In these respects, Someone Like You fits perfectly in the Karly Lane catalogue, but this one has something extra, something deeper and I was completely enthralled.
Hayley Stevens is a Sydney author who is recovering from the breakdown of her marriage and suffering writer’s block with her agent calling to chase the opening chapters of the new book. She decided that a fresh start was in order and ended up buying a house in a small country town basically on impulse. She had stayed in the town as part of a Writer’s Festival and fallen in love with it.
I really liked Hayley as a character but I think one of the things that really drew me to her was she’s an author who has just moved from the city to a small country town. She gave us an insight into the publishing industry and the writing process, and I couldn’t help but draw comparisons in the early chapters. I couldn’t help but wonder how much of Karly Lane found her way into Hayley Stevens, how much they had in common and how much of what frustrates or drives Stevens are issues Lane has. It certainly kept me thinking as I was sinking deeper and deeper into the narrative.
Karly Lane writes beautiful small towns and she loves a small town with history which can be woven into her contemporary storyline. Lochway is a tiny town with a huge history that is explored thoroughly. It is a town in close proximity to St Albans, which Lane discovered and was enchanted by, that was settled around the time of the first settlers.
What we know of history is only what has been recorded and what’s been passed down through the generations. There are no eyewitnesses left to attest to the truth so how do we truly know that recorded history is correct?
There was so much to love about Someone Like You and I really did. The characters are lovable and diverse, there’s some definite quirkiness happening here, and not all of her characters are people.
Hayley is a city girl through and through but she moves to the small town and starts collecting animals, even before she checks out whether she has anywhere secure to keep them. Quirky personalities aren’t limited to the human characters either, the menagerie that Hayley collects is filled with personality and she talks to them all.
The romantic storyline also contained its fair share of humour, and tragic near misses. The chemistry sizzled off the page but Lane reminds us that sometimes chemistry isn’t enough to ensure a happy ever after. Lane writes great steam without gratuitous details and a minimum of questionable language; which is something I wouldn’t usually even notice unless it was excessive but it was brought up as a discussion this week on Facebook.
I am struggling with this review because there is a whole element I don’t want to touch on so I am not quite sure what to say. An element that is a little out there but I really enjoyed and one that has always fascinated me. It was interesting to come across it and I really enjoyed the way that Karly Lane explored it.
Someone Like You has past and present colliding, an exploration of history, a tree change and an amusing and insightful look at the life of a work-at-home-full-time-author. Lane shines a light on small town gossip, PTSD in returned servicemen and reserving judgement to make up your own mind rather than being turned off by gossip.
I love this story, I love these characters and though we have an epilogue I would love to see this town and these people revisited so I could learn about the fallout and all the things that came about after the events of Someone Like You. I would recommend this one to anyone who loves some humour with their romance and doesn’t need a HEA Guarantee.
Someone Like You is book #20 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2018.