Published: 29 September 2022
Author: Ruth Jones
Published by: Transworld Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Length: 416 pages
Reading dates: 19-24 September 2022
Grace is about to turn ninety. She doesn’t want parties or presents or fuss. She just wants to heal the family rift that’s been breaking her heart for decades.
But to do that she must find her daughter Alys – the only person who can help to put things right.
And when she finds her – if she does – she risks betraying granddaughter Elin. Who is far less forgiving of the past, with its hurts and secrets and lies. Meanwhile Grace’s great-grand-daughter Beca is oblivious to all these worries, too busy navigating the highs and lows of teenage life and keeping secrets of her own.
All families have their problems. And most of them get resolved. But Grace’s problem is thirty years old. And she doesn’t have time on her side.
So is it too late for her to make peace? Or is reconciliation still within reach?
Love Untold tells the story of 4 generations of women from the same family. Grace is almost 90, is still very independent and active, swimming in the sea daily. Her granddaughter Elin is a head teacher and is permanently stressed out about everything, especially her daughters GCSE results and the surprise 90th birthday party she is organising for her grandmother. Beca is 16 and is sure she has failed her GCSE’s but is starting to think about a career in music, being a talented pianist.
The black sheep of the family is Alys. Elin has chosen to forget about her mother and Beca assumes she is dead. But Grace still wants to reconcile with her daughter and when she receives a postcard with a painting on by Alys, she is able to send a letter to her pleading to get in touch.
All the characters have their own stories and worries within Love Untold. Elin is going through marriage difficulties after her husband leaves her for a younger woman and Beca is starting a new relationship with Soozi, a talented singer. And Alys is still a mess. Living in the Brecon Beacons, she is a former alcoholic and has been sober for 30 years, regularly attending AA meetings. But she takes advantage of people, having no money or a home to call her own.
I loved this gentle story of the often-complex relationships between mothers and daughters. I loved Grace’s character – she is very wise and is able to offer advice and support to both Elin and Beca. I also loved how everyone supported Beca’s relationship with Soozi. The story also revisits the past. We see Grace’s unhappy marriage and how Alys went off the rails. We also see the unsettled childhood of Elin, living with Alys who as an alcoholic didn’t always make the best choices.
Love Untold left me with a warm feeling and was a joy to read. I loved the Welsh setting having visited South Wales for the first time this year. With a cast of wonderful characters, Love Untold is a hug in a book which tugs at the heart strings, and I loved it!
I was lucky enough to be sent a beautiful hardback proof copy along with Welsh cakes and a balloon from the lovely Alison Barrow.
About the author
Ruth Jones is best known for her outstanding and award-winning television writing, most notably BBC One’s Gavin and Stacey, which she co-wrote with James Corden and in which she played the incorrigible Nessa Jenkins. The 2019 Christmas Day special of Gavin and Stacey gained national critical acclaim, drawing an audience of over 18 million, winning a BAFTA for TV moment of the year and a National Television Award for Impact. Ruth also created and co-wrote Sky One’s Stella, which ran for six series. Ruth has starred in several other television comedies and dramas.
Her debut novel Never Greener was chosen as WHSmith Fiction Book of the Year 2018, was nominated for Debut of the Year at the British Book Awards, was a Zoe Ball Book Club pick, and was a Sunday Times bestseller for fifteen weeks, three weeks at number one. Ruth’s second novel, Us Three, was an instant Sunday Times bestseller in hardback and paperback and has sold almost a quarter of a million copies. Ruth was awarded a Comedy Women in Print Prize in 2020. Love Untold is her third novel.