Because of You is the deeply moving debut novel by Scandinavian writer Helene Fermont. It’s a gripping work of modern women’s fiction with a distinct ‘Scandi’ feel and a psychological twist.
Because of You spans 36 years in the life of Hannah Stein, a Swedish teenager who arrives in London, at the tail end of the disco era, for a gap year before embarking on a teaching career. The people she meets change the course of her life irrevocably and the novel charts her changing personal and professional fortunes over the next three decades. Because of You is about love, coming of age, friendship, bereavement, stillbirth and rape. Its themes include redemption, acceptance, fidelity and family. Because of You is a story that every woman can relate to.
Scandinavian noir has firmly established itself as a bestselling genre in the UK. Because of You takes the elements that make this style of writing so compelling – the realism and dark, morally complex mood – and combines it with women’s fiction.
This is a dark, morally complex and cross-generational story of enduring love, fate and destiny and will appeal to readers who appreciate an emotive, uncompromising and fulfilling read driven by character and circumstance.
Published August 2016 by Fridhem Publishing
~ Review ~
This is the second novel by Helene Fermont which I’ve read ( You can read my interview with Helene about We Never Said Goodbye HERE ) and it’s fair to say she has a very distinctive voice. With a strong Scandi noir influence, what strikes me about her writing is her ability to truly capture shade in her characters, the flaws of human character fully exposed and examined in a realistic, yet matter of fact, way.
Because Of You tells the story of Hannah, a Swedish teenager about to embark on adulthood in the strange of exciting city of London. Following her life, the reader meets and experiences the people who influence her, love, loss and grief. Some difficult themes are tackled, such as still birth and rape and complex emotions of obsession, lust and jealousy explored. The author takes the reader on a journey alongside Hannah spanning decades and in such detail it almost feels that Hannah becomes someone you know.
It took me a little while to get into this book, as we are introduced to Hannah and many characters as she begins her new life in London. While there’s an obvious darkness about the book, it isn’t necessarily a fast paced page turner. For me it was a slow burner, one I could read at leisure and take my time with. There are some twists, I’d say this was more of a character study of a woman who is loved and manipulated, faces tragic personal challenges and deals with grief, loss and mistrust several times in her life.
Because of You is an interesting novel, one which draws the reader in fully to the life of it’s main character. Never afraid to reveal the darker side of human nature, the supporting cast are equally as interesting while not all being likable (and some of them are truly awful!). If you enjoy books that really study the characteristics of people then I would recommend you give this a go.
(Thanks to Sarah Hardy for supplying me with a free copy of the book as part of the blogtour)