Blurb: Tori Williamson is alone. After a tragic event left her isolated from her loved ones, she’s been struggling to find her way back to, well – herself. That’s why she set up her blog, The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness, as a way of – anonymously – connecting with the outside world and reaching others who just need a little help sometimes.
When she’s offered a free spot on a wellbeing retreat in exchange for a review on her blog, Tori is anxious about opening herself up to new surroundings. But after her three closest friends – who she talks to online but has never actually met – convince her it’ll do her some good, she reluctantly agrees and heads off for three weeks in the wild (well, a farm in Wales).
From the moment she arrives, Tori is sceptical and quickly finds herself drawn to fellow sceptic Than, the retreat’s dark and mysterious latecomer. But as the beauty of The Farm slowly comes to light she realizes that opening herself up might not be the worst thing. And sharing a yurt with fellow retreater Bay definitely isn’t. Will the retreat be able to fix Tori? Or will she finally learn that being lonely doesn’t mean she’s broken . . .
Review: Firstly, Happy Publication day Laura. I’m so chuffed to be able to share my thoughts on your special day. This is a debut that I’ve been excited to read since first hearing about it, I feel like it’s been on my kindle for a while and it’s come down to the wire in terms of me reading it.
I must admit in some aspects it’s a slow burn although once in Tori’s world I was completely swept up by her story. This year has been a weird one with more of us relying on social media and such whilst the outside world seems terrifying and this book is just the tonic.
Laura has created a story, a world that’s not only full of humour but full of heart. If you’re not completely taken with the retreat then who even are you? At first I was a little unsure of some of Lizzie and Ted’s methods but there was a reason behind the madness. Embracing their teachings will show all of us how heavily we rely on certain things and how opening up can be the best thing for us. Hiding our ‘real self’ means we’re lying to everyone including ourselves and sabotaging our own happiness. I can safely say I’ve been in that boat and this book has made me think of how I can always be truly me warts and all.
On this journey as well as slowly finding out what’s eating up Tori we are also introduced to a diverse bunch. Each and every one of them has an interesting story from start to finish and I truly loved seeing them develop and watching the friendships blossom. There was something about Than that unnerved me but I was not expecting the outcome and I honestly cannot say anymore than that.
Laura has covered a real and quite frankly scary topic and she’s done it with grace, emotion and humour. I truly believe that The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness is an extremely important read about the good and bad aspects of opening up, listening to our instincts and who we trust, as well as how we use the Internet.
I love being a bookworm and I truly love being able to champion authors especially from the very start of their career. I look forward to where Laura goes from here after reading her extremely compassionate and heartfelt debut focussing on more than just loneliness.