Cover Image: The Imperfect Art of Caring

The Imperfect Art of Caring

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Member Reviews

A lovely feel good book that helps you to realise how much joy caring for others can bring.  Whether as an official carer or as a friend or neighbour; people have so much to give to each other and this book shows how much that helps others.

Violet escaped from her home town 16 years ago as she thinks she was responsible for a tragedy that occurred and the the village hates her, her own mother included.  Now she has to return to look after her mother as her sister is moving to New Zealand.  She encounters new people as well as her old teenage flame Adam, who still sends her a text on New Year's Eve every year.

An easy read with lots of likeable characters.
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What a lovely read. Violet Strong is forced to return to the village of her childhood home after leaving at age 18, 14 years previously. There had been some traumatic event in the village that Violet feels responsible for when she was 14. Since then she has felt she brings bad luck to everyone she cares about. She hasn't seen or spoken to her mother since she left and she believes her mother hates her. Coming back to a much changed village, where the family home has been made into flats, Violet sets about getting to grips with life as a carer for her mum. The ups and downs, the new friendships that teach her about herself, delightful young neighbour Tammy, this really is a delightful and emotional read. #netgalley #theimperfectartofcaring
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Forgiveness and compassion. Reclusive Violet dreads going back to the village where she grew up, but is forced to when her mother becomes ill. A tragedy happened there years ago, for which she blames herself. As she renews acquaintances (including an old boyfriend), she begins to involve herself in village life and realises she has a lot to offer. Full of emotion, delightful characters and love lost and found. Have the tissues ready at the end!
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What a fantastic story!!. I was absorbed from the start and remained that way until the final page!. All the characters felt like old friends who I found myself routing for and wanting everything to be good for them. 
This was a pleasant, warm predictable plot but I loved it!. 
Violet, the main character, has left home years ago after a life changing incident. She's made her own life and is quite content. Until her sister turns up needing her to come back home and look after their ailing mother. So she arrives back in  her home village with all the memories and feelings coming roaring back into her head!. They have a house that has been converted into flats ,so she has the welfare of these people also to contend with. Oh, and there's the love interest ....Adam.
There were a few situations with characters which made it interesting so, all in all this book is a great read. I would highly recommend it!.   
Many thanks to Netgallley for the free ARC book for an honest review.
#HQ, #Jessica.ryn.7
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Feel-good, fresh and engaging, this is a lovely story of caring and getting involved. Although you know what the journey will be, it doesn’t make it any less enjoyable and there are plenty of surprises along the way. Violet is a good character who needed to face up to things that happened in the past and face her demons but by helping others and getting involved in local life, she achieves more than she knew she wanted.
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I loved this book and how it was told. 
Some brilliant characters emerge. The story holds so much in the art of healing and forgiveness and second chances. 
It really focuses on the role of a carer and how isolating and lonely it can be. 
It was heartwarming, sad  and funny in parts. All well balanced.
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When Violet is called home to look after her mother after a prolonged self inflicted absence when her sister moves to New Zealand she is understandably worried. She left home many years before thinking her mother hated her as well as the rest of the village.  Violet is completely new at being a carer and particularly with someone who is so obviously against her being their career. On her return she realises her childhood home has been turned into four flats and on meeting the occupants, strikes up a friendship with some of them.  Violet ends up asking for help with caring for her mother as she doesn’t know how to and in turn is the founder of The Helping Hands carers group. Through this group Violet re-establishes friendships and learns some truths along the way. 

The story has an underlying message that through helping others we can also help ourselves and has a dollop of romance thrown in. All in all it was a lovely feel good story.
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Violet lives a simple, but cluttered life in London, away from the family she left 14 years ago. All is well in her world until her sister descends on Violet's peace,  saying she must return home.to Malvern, to look after her mother until a place can be found in a residential home.  

To say Violet is reluctant to return to her hometown of Lowerstone, would be a massive understatement. She is haunted by the memories of things that took place years in the past, and is of the belief that the entire village, her schizophrenic mother included, hate her and hold her responsible. 

Violets sister Jodie has left the country, and left Violet in charge of selling the house, informing the current tennants that they have to leave their home, and getting her mother into residential care. Jodie has left Violet a folder of everything that needs to be taken care of, just a few loose ends to the up, and then Violet can return to her solitary life in Manchester.  

At the beginning, Violet is desperate to return to Manchester as she feels that everyone hates her, holds her responsible,  and she can't seem to make any headway with developing a comfortable relationship with her mother. 

Violet soon finds that she is not only wanted in the village, but also welcomed. She is making true  friends. 

This is such a heartwarming book to read,  and I'm not going to lie, towards the end there was a lump in my throat and a tear in my eye. I really enjoyed this book, especially as I could relate to the solitude felt by Violet and the other carers in the village, having been through the same thing myself. Definitely add this to your TBR pile,  you won't regret it!
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What an amazing book
The difficulty in being a carer and finding the right balance is a struggle and this book shares all that.
The story is fantastic and I love all the characters, especially the way Tammy developed.
Really looking forward to reading more by Jessica Ryn
Thank you NetGalley
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Quite an emotional book to read, as it probably contains so much truth.  Written from the heart, the author has captured what its like to be a carer.  I think most people will be able to identify with its characters.  As we age, having to look after elderly parents and sharing caring responsibilities with siblings.
This excellent book explores the plight of being a carer.  However there's a great mystery running throughout.  Violet Strong is an endearing , delightful woman but she is Bad News, so what is the terrible thing that she has done so that she had to leave the village?
A true to life read, one not to be missed.
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It’s been 14 years since Violet last saw her sister Jodie but she’s about to see her again. Memories of her past and the last time she was in her hometown flood her mind. She’s done so many bad things that she’s avoided thinking about for so long. 

Violet returns to the village she grew up in to look after her ill mum. Jodie is leaving the country to live with her husband and Violet’s the only one who can look after their mother until the sale of their childhood home goes through, unfortunately Glynis isn’t happy to have her daughter home after all the trouble she caused when she left. Violet feels so alone, caring for a woman who doesn’t want her there, she can’t wait to sell the house. She just needs to tell the other people who live in the building they need to find somewhere else to live, but when she meets them, it’s a surprise to realise it won’t be as easy to get back to her life as she first thought! 

I didn’t realise just how much it would affect me. The story revolves around Violet becoming her mothers full time carer and it’s a huge learning curve. The benefits, the assessments, the reality of living with someone with a long term illness. This story really resonates with me, being a person who lives with a long term illness as well as being a carer for my daughter with additional needs this book really hit me in the heart. The parts about Tammy were particularly heartbreaking, the thing constantly at the back of a parents mind when they have a child with additional needs is have I prepared them for a life without me?! As soon as I started reading Tammy’s parts I was in tears. This book is clearly written by someone who has experience with it all. Especially the many forms and having to prove to people who have literally no idea that you or the person you care for is really ill. 

This book will most definitely stay with me, I loved it and hope people read it and have a better understanding from reading it.
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Violet "Wrong" Strong is forced to move back home to look after her mother when her sister, who had been her carer, moves to New Zealand when her husband gets a job there. She has been away for 14 years after leaving in a cloud and really dreads moving back. There she finds that the large family home has been split into four flats, with her mother in one and tenants in the others. The idea is that Violet will sell the house to enable her mother to move into a care home, however this don't go smoothly.
This book is about carers and the stress that they live under whilst caring out this essential, but largely thankless, tall. Violet struggles with her mother, who she feels never liked her and hadn't forgiven her for occurred in the past. She does start finding her feet with help from others, and return starts helping them. Overall the story is positive, with a theme of hope , so whilst it isn't necessarily a "light" read it is ultimately a very satisfying one.
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One of the many wonderful things about being a voracious reader is the opportunity to ‘meet’ a wealth of different characters from across all walks of life. I’m more than happy to spend time in the company of (fictional!) serial killers, unreliable narrators, amateur sleuths, historical figures, romantic heroes and heroines but one of my favourite type of characters is the the misfit, the oddball or the eccentric, the sort of individual who prefers to keep themselves hidden away, afraid (for whatever reason) to engage with society and their fellow human beings. These characters fascinate and intrigue me, mostly because I’ve always considered myself to be an outsider looking in so their presence is a comfort and a joy, a reminder that I’m not alone in how I feel and view the world at large. I immediately want to know what has caused these characters to withdraw into their shells and relish the opportunity to discover who and what will entice them back into the land of the living. Don’t we all champion the underdog, willing them to succeed where previously they’ve failed? Well I do and invariably I lose my heart to these souls, and Violet Strong, the main character in Jessica Ryn’s second novel definitely falls into this category. Having delighted readers with her debut novel featuring the vibrant,hopeful and cheery Dawn Brightside the author has excelled again with a protagonist who is equally endearing. 

I always find these kind of storylines to be real pick me up tonics, nourishing the soul and restoring your faith in humanity. The Imperfect Art of Caring gives you the perfect excuse to stay in bed or curl up on the sofa so put the kettle on, grab some blankets and have the ‘do not disturb’ sign at the ready. Now the daylight hours are short and the dark evenings long this is just the book to banish the winter blues. If I could hibernate from November through to March with a stack of books similar to this one I’d feel as if I’d won the lottery!! Focusing on friendship and good old fashioned community spirit Jessica Ryn offers you a slice of sunshine  with characters who embody kindness, generosity, forgiveness and hope. 

Let me introduce you to Violet Strong whose sanctuary is her bedsit at 17b Harper’s Court. Violet is a cleaner at the Salford and Manchester Times offices but she’s also a book blogger and a keen writer, secretly harbouring a desire to become a journalist and she’s a long way from home. Home is the village of Lowerstone Sussex, a place she hasn’t visited for fourteen years. All that is about to change with the unexpected appearance of Violet’s sister Jodie who is set to embark on a new life in New Zealand with her husband Violet has never met. Jodie needs Violet to return to Malvern House to care for their mother Glenys until the property sells and she can take up residence in a local care home. Reluctantly Violet packs up her life, pootling back to Sussex in her beloved Fiat 500 named Pat, having no choice but to confront her past and the memories that she’s been running from for so long. This is when Violet’s story truly begins because Violet Strong is really Violet Wrong and she’s Bad News. But as one door closes another one opens and Violet just needs the courage to walk through that open door.

Jessica Ryn effortlessly draws you into Violet’s world that’s really rather empty, leaving you wondering why this woman has such a guilty conscience and why she still feels her presence in the village will be entirely unwelcome, even after such a long absence. Fearful of bumping into the locals who most certainly won’t have forgotten or forgiven her for her crimes, a strained relationship with a mother who seemingly despises her is just one problem to endure in a return that is full of surprises, some that are more pleasant than others! However in a storyline whose emphasis in on righting the wrongs of the past Violet’s return to Malvern House yields far more than positive outcomes than she could possibly have hoped for. The butterfly effect is in full swing here, with one good deed leading to another and another until it dawns on Violet that this is very much a community she wishes to remain part of. Giving something back to the community, letting go, moving on and being thankful for second chances are themes Jessica Ryn happily embraces. There may even be the chance to rekindle an old friendship if Violet plays her cards right! 

Violet’s transformation couldn’t happen without the love, friendship and support of the rest of this marvellous cast. You don’t have to look far to see that underneath her hardened exterior beats a big heart. She’s funny, she’s kind and she’s smart and the sooner she realises she’s Good News rather than Bad News the better! The community spirit shines through like a flaming torch in the dark and in the end it’s irrelevant and impossible to tell who is helping who because they all come together as one. Tammy is a character who for me on numerous occasions overshadows (in a good way!) Violet and it’s their pairing which is the most heartwarming, uplifting aspect of the whole novel. Jessica Ryn has hit the jackpot with these two! They both elicit a smile, a laugh and a tear or two along the way ably assisted by the likes of Violet’s former best friend and first love Adam, Chrissie her old English teacher, new friends Claire and Abbas and the grumpy Mrs Robson who lives in hope someone will turn up to her weekly neighbourhood watch meetings! All in all these characters are simply the best. 

The Imperfect Art Of Caring is a smashing novel which honours the sheer hard work, dedication, devotion, love and kindness that goes hand in hand with being a carer. It recognises the fact we all need a helping hand from time to time but none more so than these unsung heroes. By exploring issues of mental illness and learning disabilities Jessica Ryn acknowledges the difficulties associated with caring for someone suffering long term depression and the amount of effort required to enable people like Tammy to live full and independent lives. I’m not a carer but it reinforced my appreciation for the brilliant job my own mother does caring for my father with dementia, day in day out, with no complaint. Stories like these are humbling; they make you feel grateful for the live you have and prove how little acts of kindness can go a long way in improving or brightening someone’s day. Ultimately this is the kind of story that puts a smile on your face, joy in your heart and a spring in your step. Even though they only exist as figments of the author’s imagination by the end I felt incredibly proud of Violet and Tammy who’ve both come a long way. I hope that doesn’t make me sound too pathetic!! 

I’ve enjoyed and loved both of Jessica Ryn’s novels and highly recommend them to anyone searching for an uplifting, joyous read. Bring on book number three!

My thanks as always to the publisher HQ and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read in exchange for an honest review.
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Jessica Ryn has a wonderful way of writing poignant yet heart warming novels. 

The characters are so well written that I felt right in the middle of the village, surrounded by brilliant, realistic people. 

The drama builds as we wait to find out what terrible thing Violet did as a child. Along the way we meet some wonderful people who have all been struggling along alone for so long. 

Violet manages to bring the whole community together, find forgiveness and ultimately forgive herself. 

The story has a plethora of highs and lows and I adored it.
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In what feels like the eleventh hour of 2021 this book may have just sneaked its way into my top 5 of the year, and when I have read over 100 books thats no small feat!

The only tiny small thing is, I wish there wasnt a HP reference in this, but apart from that this book was pretty perfect.

Im a carer both in my personal life and my professional life and this book captured the highs and lows more perfectly than anything I have ever read before. The characters were so so real, and there growth throughout the book bought tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat many times. And yet, this book also was filled with huge amounts of hope. 

I will DEFINETELY be including this in a few videos on my channel, including my weekly reading vlog 2, November wrap up and 2021 favourites so thank you! I am also eagerly awaiting the paperback release as I need to own a copy!
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The Imperfect Art Of Caring by Jessica Ryn is the most delightful contemporary novel that warmed my heart and left me smiling.
The novel is set in a small community where the reader meets the various characters. We witness many experiencing the loneliness and isolation of living alone. Behind closed doors there are many needs.
As a huge hearted character enters the community, hearts, homes and lives expand. Community life is once more ignited and functions as it did in the past, with every one supporting each other.
Jessica Ryn explores the life of the carer and of those being cared for. We witness the difficulties, isolation and the paperwork minefields. As characters come together, those with experience help others behind them on life’s road.
Characters have pulled away from society either through choice or because others believed they were safer alone. As lives begin to bud, beautiful friendships blossom.
A nineteen year old with learning difficulties has been hidden away. As she is befriended, a brand new world opens up, full of possibilities which is beautiful to witness.
There are many kind hearts within the novel as Jessica Ryn has once more drawn realistic and wonderful characters. I am sure we would all have richer lives if we knew a Violet or a Tammy.
Everyone has dreams. Sometimes we hold back from participating in life and fulfilling our dreams because we believe that we are unworthy. We are listening to the wrong voices as characters are drowning in guilt and lack of self-worth. We all need someone to love us and to believe in us, so that we can pursue our dreams.
The Imperfect Art Of Caring is such a beautiful novel. I loved it. I always love a book by Jessica Ryn.
I received a free copy from Harper Collins via Net Galley. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own
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The Imperfect Art of Caring by Jessica Ryn

After 14 years away, Violet Strong returns to the village she was brought up in and where bad things happened, becoming a carer for her mum, Glenys.  She gets to know her neighbours and a group of carers in the village and together they support each other.

Oh wow, I absolutely LOVED this book!  One of my favourites of 2021 (and I'm currently on my 70th!). This is the book we all need right now - a wonderful story of overcoming loneliness, moving on from grief, supporting each other, friendship, community..... and a compelling storyline with fabulous characters.  VERY highly recommended!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book.
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Jessica has done it again.

This is such a heart-warming story.

Filled with loveable, quirky characters, The Imperfect Art of Caring is a tale that really makes you feel and care!

If you haven't read Jess's previous novel then you must and if you have then you will definitely enjoy this one.

Family, friends and frustrations arise and as truths are spoken, lives change for the better.

A novel to make you think, to make you want to help someone, anyone.

100% recommended.
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This book is very different from my usual read, and I wasn’t sure it was for me.  I’m glad I persevered with it as it was a lovely, gentle read, with  a meaningful message.

Violet is an independent woman, living an uneventful life in Manchester.  She gets a visit from her sister Jodie, whom she has not seen since she left her home village many years before.  Due to family circumstances, it’s up to Violet to step in and look after their mother, who needs a full time carer.

Needless to say there are trials and tribulations along the way before everything comes to fruition. The storyline is predictable, but enjoyable.

This book is a good feeling story, it’s only drawback being that it’s a bit meandering and to much is made of  Bad News!

Thank you NetGalley.
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I loved Jessica Ryn’s The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside, so was really looking forward to reading her follow up. And it was fantastic.

Violet is such a wonderfully complex and relatable character. She has built a life for herself that is small but secure. She has a job, a small place that she calls home and her beloved books.

Her world is turned upside down when her sister turns up and says Violet has to go back to her childhood home and look after her estranged mother. Their large home has been divided into apartments and she is also going to have to evict her tenants and sell the property.

Violet is caring and resilient, friendly and honest. As she starts to get know the residents and confronts the ghosts of her past, Violet begins to find a new community and fulfil long forgotten ambitions.

The relationships in this book are such a joy.

Tammy in particular is wonderful character, someone who is both vulnerable and courageous. As Violet gets to know Tammy and their friendship develops she starts to believe that maybe there is a place back her in the local community. She may find romance woth her childhood sweetheart, Adam, who finds himself in a similar position.

The book highlights the challenges and loneliness that carers can face when they do not have wider support systems. Just small actions and acts of kindness can make huge impact on people.

This book will make you laugh and cry and inspire and restore your faith in humankind.

Thank you to HQ and Netgalley for mybgifted copy of The Imperfect Art Of Caring
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