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The Art of Letting Go

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To the inhabitants of Brackton, retired physicist Rosemary Blunt is nothing but a respectable recluse. But Rosemary has a secret, and he’s lying comatose in a hospital only a few miles away. Should she let him live, or let him go? Into the midst of Rosemary’s dilemma comes bohemian artist, Ben. His abstract pictures and fixation with painting God disturb Rosemary, and yet To the inhabitants of Brackton, retired physicist Rosemary Blunt is nothing but a respectable recluse. But Rosemary has a secret, and he’s lying comatose in a hospital only a few miles away. Should she let him live, or let him go? Into the midst of Rosemary’s dilemma comes bohemian artist, Ben. His abstract pictures and fixation with painting God disturb Rosemary, and yet she finds herself unable to keep away. As summer passes and an unlikely friendship develops, it becomes clear that Rosemary is not the only one with something to hide. Nor is she the only one battling the ghosts of the past. Rosemary and Ben must decide whether to trust each other, choosing between the madness of admitting the truth and the insanity of maintaining their lies. With their lives unravelling around them, can they help each other to confront the past, or are there some secrets too terrible to be told?


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To the inhabitants of Brackton, retired physicist Rosemary Blunt is nothing but a respectable recluse. But Rosemary has a secret, and he’s lying comatose in a hospital only a few miles away. Should she let him live, or let him go? Into the midst of Rosemary’s dilemma comes bohemian artist, Ben. His abstract pictures and fixation with painting God disturb Rosemary, and yet To the inhabitants of Brackton, retired physicist Rosemary Blunt is nothing but a respectable recluse. But Rosemary has a secret, and he’s lying comatose in a hospital only a few miles away. Should she let him live, or let him go? Into the midst of Rosemary’s dilemma comes bohemian artist, Ben. His abstract pictures and fixation with painting God disturb Rosemary, and yet she finds herself unable to keep away. As summer passes and an unlikely friendship develops, it becomes clear that Rosemary is not the only one with something to hide. Nor is she the only one battling the ghosts of the past. Rosemary and Ben must decide whether to trust each other, choosing between the madness of admitting the truth and the insanity of maintaining their lies. With their lives unravelling around them, can they help each other to confront the past, or are there some secrets too terrible to be told?

30 review for The Art of Letting Go

  1. 4 out of 5

    Claire Ogden

    I am not sure of the story behind how I happened to buy The Art of Letting Go but I am so glad I did. Within the beginnings of the first pages I was in love, the writing was so beautifully placed and words strung together that belonged. I became in awe of the sentences, the phrases and descriptives and hooked on how the scenes were set, the face of the weather, the colours of the paint and each minuate characteristic of each person playing their part amongst each page. The sea was the colour of m I am not sure of the story behind how I happened to buy The Art of Letting Go but I am so glad I did. Within the beginnings of the first pages I was in love, the writing was so beautifully placed and words strung together that belonged. I became in awe of the sentences, the phrases and descriptives and hooked on how the scenes were set, the face of the weather, the colours of the paint and each minuate characteristic of each person playing their part amongst each page. The sea was the colour of madness on the day I first met Ben. Not Slate or Ash, Gunmetal or Battleship, just grey. I fell in love with the words before they had landed onto the page. The descriptives were everything I ever craved within a novel....descriptive allowing my imagination to fill in the blanks, not that there were many to fill. The Art of Letting Go is a story about life and how it isnt really so simple but yet it should be. It is about adventure and longing and colours and bold attributes and allowing yourselves the what ifs... the characters are strong and formed and individual. Each with a history yet a purpose and a yearning for living, even if it has yet to be realised. It is about friendship and passion and creativity. It is about being free and letting go... It is amazing and I highly recommend it completely and wholeheartedly and it will stay with me forever and ever. Chloe Banks will join my list of favourite authors. I am unable to credit her enough. This is my best read of March.

  2. 5 out of 5

    F.J. Morris

    The Art of Letting Go is a brilliant novel with vivid characters. The author really seems to understand human beings, their motivations, dreams and fears. Great writing and storytelling. The most unlikely of people come together, and the only thing they have in common is the lies they’ve told themselves. But their time together brings them closer to who they really are, but events push them into drastic action, one that will make them chose whether to embrace who they really are, or to run from i The Art of Letting Go is a brilliant novel with vivid characters. The author really seems to understand human beings, their motivations, dreams and fears. Great writing and storytelling. The most unlikely of people come together, and the only thing they have in common is the lies they’ve told themselves. But their time together brings them closer to who they really are, but events push them into drastic action, one that will make them chose whether to embrace who they really are, or to run from it. There were some great moments I didn’t see coming! Some fantastic writing - I really felt the characters come alive in each voice. It’s insightful, meaningful, and cleverly comes together at the end, and although you see how it will all fall apart, you don’t quite know what is about to fall apart and why. Superb!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cali Souther

    This book made me laugh, so I kept reading! Eventually it got a bit more serious and I missed the initial wit - but overall I would say it was well written and enjoyable. The main character was quite loveable! It may not be one of those books you can't put down, but it was an interesting look at life and how people present themselves to others.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Mercedes Aspa

    I came to the book by a book exchange event at my previous company. The name did attract my attention and I am glad that I chose it. I enjoyed the story, the structure and also the thrill through the whole book. I truly like and share the idea of « secret garden » and beauty of each person in there. It is also important to mention that the book was very easy to read and very relatable. Cheers,

  5. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Very enjoyable read with an interesting plot twist!

  6. 4 out of 5

    gillian crause

    Very good A wonderful book very well written and kept me interested from the first page. Totally believable characters so true to type. I loved it!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jennie

    4.5 stars This contemporary novel manages to pack many things in. Off the top of my head: trust, faith, creativity, mental illness, friendship, love, ambition, success, shame, regret, the constraints imposed by money and its lack... It contains first-person narratives from Ben, Rosemary and the two women Cheryl and Jenny, and letters to and from Rosemary's sister. Middleaged artist Ben is a stranger in a small seaside town. He's obviously hiding something. Immediately two women fall under his spel 4.5 stars This contemporary novel manages to pack many things in. Off the top of my head: trust, faith, creativity, mental illness, friendship, love, ambition, success, shame, regret, the constraints imposed by money and its lack... It contains first-person narratives from Ben, Rosemary and the two women Cheryl and Jenny, and letters to and from Rosemary's sister. Middleaged artist Ben is a stranger in a small seaside town. He's obviously hiding something. Immediately two women fall under his spell, one manipulative and dangerous the other naïve and vulnerable, and this provides suspense as we wonder what might happen to them all as a result. Rosemary is not infatuated with Ben but she too is drawn to something in him and his slowly progressing painting of God sensing some common ground, perhaps. She's a 70ish retired and physicist who has not yet totally escaped an unhappy marriage, and has things in her past that she is afraid of bringing into the open. I enjoyed many things about the book - the interaction of the characters, the intrigue that grows between them and within the gossipy community, the sense of place and atmosphere, the mystery of who Ben really is and what he wants from this town. I loved the idea of Ben trying to paint God with the stubborn rectangle of white at its centre. Rosemary's crochety complexity as a character and her backstory is conveyed gradually in a way that entices the reader to learn more. Jenny's arc is done well and leads to an unexpected place. The ending didn't entirely work for me due to aspects relating to the changes in Rosemary, which felt a little abrupt. However this was a minor thing and overall I would definitely recommend the book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Tom Benson

    This is a well-developed book, from the clever title and front cover, to the ending. Characters come alive as you read each small detail unfolding. The imagery is vivid and enables you to sense the atmosphere of the various meeting places. The dialogue is so natural and well written, you can imagine the voices. The technique of creating each chapter from an individual character’s point of view is used throughout to great effect. I first saw the method used in, ‘The Clifton Chronicles’ series by J This is a well-developed book, from the clever title and front cover, to the ending. Characters come alive as you read each small detail unfolding. The imagery is vivid and enables you to sense the atmosphere of the various meeting places. The dialogue is so natural and well written, you can imagine the voices. The technique of creating each chapter from an individual character’s point of view is used throughout to great effect. I first saw the method used in, ‘The Clifton Chronicles’ series by Jeffrey Archer. I respect any writer who works at their craft by researching sufficiently, and that comes to the fore in this tale of intrigue and suspense. One minute you think you know the truth, but in the next character’s point of view, you start to doubt your own theories. Chloe has created within this story, a small world for her characters to inhabit. By the time you reach the end, you will believe it exists. Kudos, Mrs. Banks.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kay Bolton

    This book, the first I have read by Chloe Banks, was on the shortlist for the People's Book Prize in 2015, and when I first started reading for about a chapter I did wonder why. It was a slow-burn read told from the perspective of several chapters in alternating sections, there was also a nicely done epistolary element between one of the main characters and her long-time friend - I liked the imagination of the author in mixing up the delivery a bit. There were no major plot twists and turns, rath This book, the first I have read by Chloe Banks, was on the shortlist for the People's Book Prize in 2015, and when I first started reading for about a chapter I did wonder why. It was a slow-burn read told from the perspective of several chapters in alternating sections, there was also a nicely done epistolary element between one of the main characters and her long-time friend - I liked the imagination of the author in mixing up the delivery a bit. There were no major plot twists and turns, rather it meandered along at a nice clip. It wasn't seat of the pants reading, but it was enjoyable and highly recommended with somewhere between the lower end of 4 and 5 stars. The production value was really quite good, with only one mistake that I noticed (you can see details on my blog http://www.toodlesbookclub.blogspot.com).

  10. 5 out of 5

    Adam Hellier

    As an avid reader of crime and thriller this book was a little outside my comfort zone and I'm so glad I took the plunge. This book is a must-read for anybody. The book has a unique art of telling a story through 4 different characters as they first-person narrate their own lives. Each character has such a different personality and path through the story and yet the book is so easy to follow. You become easily attached to each character as the author takes you through a roller-coaster of emotions As an avid reader of crime and thriller this book was a little outside my comfort zone and I'm so glad I took the plunge. This book is a must-read for anybody. The book has a unique art of telling a story through 4 different characters as they first-person narrate their own lives. Each character has such a different personality and path through the story and yet the book is so easy to follow. You become easily attached to each character as the author takes you through a roller-coaster of emotions. You experience joy, heartbreak, hope and desperation as if you were the characters themselves. A wonderful book. I was hooked straight from the start. A must-read!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Diana Donnelly

    This was a Goodreads win which was hard to believe could be a first novel as the author expressed herself so vividly . The characters became real to me and I could picture them going about their days. It all takes place by the sea where a fellow arrives professing to be a painter. He's quite an extrovert who draws the interest of three female inhabitants of this seaside town. They are three totally different women both in age and multiple other ways whose relationships with the newly arrived mal This was a Goodreads win which was hard to believe could be a first novel as the author expressed herself so vividly . The characters became real to me and I could picture them going about their days. It all takes place by the sea where a fellow arrives professing to be a painter. He's quite an extrovert who draws the interest of three female inhabitants of this seaside town. They are three totally different women both in age and multiple other ways whose relationships with the newly arrived male make for a wonderful story that I loved.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Marie

    I found this little gem by pure chance and bought it for like 1 €. And what a great story you get for so little money. I loved the style, I loved the different povs and most of all I loved the secrets that you simply could not have seen coming. I loved how Chloe Banks left you wondering about almost everything although I did kind of guess the ending. A lovely book about a small town at the sea, their inhabitants and the strange artist who moved into the cottage at the beach.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Johnson

    I thought this would just be a bit of chick-lit but I was really pleasantly surprised by it. I loved the way it told the story from four different characters' point of view, showing us how wrong our perceptions and assumptions can be. I also loved the main character Rosemary - something in her brutal honesty with herself really warmed me to her. A good plot, mostly likeable but flawed characters, perhaps a bit sentimental but overall a pretty good read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Eleanor

    I would have given this book 5 stars, if the ending had been better. I found it to be an anticlimax, we know that some crime has been committed, and the crime was a let down for me!!! I also found the nurse to be a very unsympathetic character - who's motivation baffled me. That said, I really enjoyed the vast majority of this book - particularly the seaside location, which was drawn beautifully.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Eliza

    Very uneven and not at all credible. Are we meant to feel that Ben and Rosemary are unwittingly but unavoidably drawn together? That just didn't work for me, neither did the other characters in the novel who came across as stock. The epistolary format to fill in background blanks felt lazy, with the 'secrets' at the centre of the structure too cack-handed. However, I did finish this book as it did contain some elements that kept me reading - I'm just not sure what they were.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Donna Irwin

    An interesting read from another kindle bargain. I am not sure I liked any of the Central characters, Ben and the three women he becomes entangled with. Everyone has their own agenda and their own secrets which are gradually and cleverly revealed. Enjoyed the art background as I am also relatively new to wielding a paintbrush!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Eric Street

    Twists and turns of peoples lives Chloe slowly paints a picture for us. The character's lives are revealed bit by bit, told in their own words. We think we know these characters, recognise the village life and seaside parish settings, but as the picture nears completion, a different scene is revealed.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    This book really wasn't for me. I couldn't get my teeth into it and it was no page turner. I finished the book because I had started it, but I found it hard going. There have been plenty of good reviews for it, so it was probably just not my kind of book. #KindleUnlimited

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anne Cook

    Found it slow to begin with and not my normal kind of reading matter but for some reason compelled to read on. I did skip a few pages as was impatient to discover the next drama. Interesting topic and thought provoking.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    I can't give an honest review. I only got a quarter of the way in before I gave up because I had no interest in any of the characters and an active dislike of both leads. The writing is beautiful, mind.

  21. 4 out of 5

    stacy tuohy

    Slower starter but a beautiful ending I loved how the book flittered between characters. It felt like I really understood each character individually. I found the beginning of the book hard to be interested in, but I persevered and I'm glad I did.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Flint

    A worthwhile ending to a rather tedious book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth Blows

    A great book ,slow start but keep reading it gets good

  24. 5 out of 5

    Charlie Allison

    I liked it. It's a page turning yarn with some strong female characters. Easy holiday reading.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Lorraine Nelson

    loved the characters. food read

  26. 4 out of 5

    Clare Jenner

    I don't recognise the book from many of the other reviews. I found it dull and just wanted it to get to the reveal that was obviously coming, then when it did, it was a real anti climax.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Masha

    This was a really good book. I enjoyed the plot - and the surprise at the end. Enjoyed Julia's letters. Well structured.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nigel

    Not really that good to me. There are four people's stories, Rosemary's I quite enjoyed and I guess Ben's wasn't bad. The other two left me stone cold. Not quite "dnf" but it was close.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Claire Mitchell

    Fabulously artistic... A brilliantly written book perfect for those looking for an uplifting novel. Chloe Banks is a master at characterisation, rarely do I believe every character in a book but I did. My only issue was the ending. I was waiting for an explosion of action. But saying that , I did enjoy this book for what it was.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Moireach

    There are some books which will keep you reading until the wee hours of the night because you JUST HAVE TO KNOW what heppens next. "The Art of Letting Go" didn't do it for me. I struggled through the first 10% or so of it and finally decided to let it go (pun intended). I found it uninteresting and somewhat tiresome.

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