As Good As Gold is also available as e-book, paperback and Large Print, a dyslexia friendly edition: Amazon UK, Amazon US
I chose the name Haiku-San as it derives from Haiku, meaning unusual verse in Japanese (hai=unusual, ku=verse, strophe) and San, the honorific Japanese title when speaking about people. San is also the phonetic transcription of the first syllable of the English word Sunday, Sun-day hence Haiku-San, a Sunday feature on Alluring Creations involving Haiku I write.
It gives me great pleasure to share with you the chat I had with lovely Jessie Cahalin best known as the original, highly creative and ever so supportive of all authors @BooksInHandbag. Jessie just released her debut novel You Can’t Go It Alone, a book focusing on life through IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), love and the importance of music and friendship.
Here are my thoughts on You Can’t Go It Alone by Jessie Cahalin
Sophie and Jack are the main characters of this novel and the story opens as they just moved in Vine Cottage in the village of Delfryn. We soon discover that life for this young couple is not a “picture postcard” as Sophie dreams of, as they undergo a treatment of IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). The emotional roller-coaster they both go through and the pressure it puts on their relationship are presented with feeling and in-depth knowledge.
Jack’s parents, Jeanie and Max and their camper nicknamed Molly, bring humor and, surprisingly, a lot of action into the story. They, too, have their own struggles. I enjoyed the positive shift in relationship between Sophie and her mother-in-law Jeanie.
Next door, in Dove Cottage, lives Ruby with her daughter Daisy and partner Dan. Ruby has to deal with her own personal struggles. We discover that, sometimes, by opening up to others, unexpected help comes when we most need it. Nearby is Rose Cottage where widower Jim Evans lives alone with his dog, Lassie. There are a few secrets here that burden his last days, but also unexpected, happy news.
The main setting for this novel is, however, The Olive Tree Café run by Italian descendants Rosa, her jealous husband Matteo and their talented daughter Olivia. Why is Matteo so suspicious of his wife and daughter? Is it only his Italian blood to blame? And what keeps Rosa’s spirits up?
As one character says: “Maybe all the secrets hide in each branch and they fall away with the leaves.”
My favorite character was Rosa. I liked her creativity, all the effort she put in her small yet chic cafe while making time for everyone, her dedication towards her husband (even since the times they were just engaged) and how she knew how to support her young daughter Olivia. I liked how she kept her heart young.
You Can’t Go It Alone is a novel that appeals to all the senses.
The nature comes alive through Cahalin’s picturesque descriptions: you feel the April breeze through your hair, the rain washing over your face only to be dried up by warm sunshine.
“As they neared Delfryn, the light vanished from between the lush green trees, and the grey sky absorbed the colour.”
You hear the sounds, thunder and laughter, billowing voices and a little girl’s giggles, soulful chitchat and women singing, happy clinking of cups and saucers mingled with guitar music, tires screeching, laughter and sobs. An innocent girl laughs as she skips along the pathway to her “Magic Garden” and you hear the pebbles under her shoes.
It is a book filled with fragrances too; rosemary and lavender, freshly grinded coffee and cocoa dust, the earthly scent of olive oil and sweet tomatoes on bruschetta; the scent of wet ground and leaves and the sterile, impersonal smells of hospital.
It is a book of memories and secrets, of what it could have been, of what it really happened but most of all of what the future holds for all the characters: hope. The importance of communication and of speaking the truth is intertwined with each character’s journey.
Just as in the opening line of You Can’t Go It Alone,
“As Sophie looked up at the sky, its vast blueness held endless possibilities.”
this novel is alive and filled with love, for each other and for life, and a zest for life. It is the perfect pick-me-up read, with warm, engaging characters, a gorgeous setting and unexpected situations, both sad and humorous.
For such an amazing novel setting I headed over to Jessie’s Blogger Cafe to discus her thoughts and dreams for this book.
Patricia: Jessie, we have been communicating for a year now and working together on my book launches. You seem happy and positive about life and we have developed such a special, supportive relationship. Can you capture your life in two sentences?
Jessie: I’m the proud author of You Can’t Go It Alone and creator of Books in my Handbag Blog. Life is great, and my only regret is not connecting with the bookish world earlier.
Patricia: How would you describe You Can’t Go It Alone and the central themes?
Jessie: You Can’t Go It Alone explores the impact secrets can have on relationships and pursuit of happiness. The themes of the novel are: love, infertility, bereavement, loneliness and literacy.
The reader is invited to the fictional Welsh village of Delfyn where you can gain a little taste of Italy while listening to the music.
Patricia: Identify one of the key emotional journeys in the novel.
Jessie: Through Sophie and Jack, I show how a couple struggles to deal with IVF while getting on with life. Surrounding the characters with other people meant I could integrate emotions, comments and situations faced by couples like Jack and Sophie. Moreover, I decided it was important to give the husband a voice and this is conveyed via a blog.
Patricia: You introduce women from different decades, explore differences in their opportunities, and move in and out of their lives. Can you explain this?
Rosa, the leading lady of the Olive Tree Café, must face issues in her marriage. Sophie, a teacher, helps others to communicate but struggles to communicate with her husband, Jack, about their IVF journey. Married in the seventies, Pearl struggles to pursue her dream.
Patricia: In your book you approach the medical and emotional struggles of a couple going through IVF proving that a lot of research went into it. Can you share how you went about researching for your book?
Jessie: The IVF journey is from personal experience. When writing the book, I did research fertility websites and records of our treatment. Over the years, I have also spoken with many women about the experience and have realised I was not alone. And, I am always happy to support others who are going through the treatment. In You Can’t Go It Alone, I wanted to covey the experience through characters placed in real situations; hopefully it will connect with the readers.
Patricia: Gosh, Jessie, I had no idea you went through IVF. Having just read Sophie’s story I do admire you so, your determination and strength… *hugs*
Which character was the closest to your heart?
Sophie’s struggle is close to my heart. I can connect with the frustration and anger she experiences. Sophie has worked through the anger at her situation and is learning how to count her blessings. I had to nudge her to think of her husband’s perspective as she had become a little self-involved, but she is a kind person who can’t stop helping others. Although Pearl has an absent presence, I also feel connected to her through Jim and may tell her story, in more detail, in the future.
Patricia: I would love to read a follow-up to You Can’t Go It Alone! Who would you like to read your book?
I hope the story will resonate with everyone and should appeal to anyone who likes a good story and real, flawed characters. Despite the heavier themes, it is a feel- good book and conveys my commitment to the simple things in life.
I hope the book would support to anyone who is going through IVF or is about to embark on the process. The novel has light-hearted moments and presents hope. As C. S. Lewis said, ‘We read to know we are not alone.’
Patricia: What do you do when you are not writing?
Jessie: When I am not writing, I adore walking, cooking and procrastinating. Walking helps me to sort out tangles in my narratives or blog posts. We live in an area where there are some impressive mountain treks and costal walks, and we also have beautiful castles on the doorstep.
Jessie Cahalin’s Biography:
Jessie is a word warrior, bookish and intrepid virtual explorer. She loves to entertain with stories, and is never seen without: her camera, phone, notebook and handbag. Having overcome her fear of self-publishing, Jessie is now living the dream of introducing the characters who have been hassling her for decades. Her debut novel, ‘You Can’t Go It Alone’, is a heart-warming tale about the challenges women still face in society. The novel has light-hearted moments and presents hope.
Jessie hails from Yorkshire, North England, but she loves to travel the world and collect cultural gems, like a magpie. She searches for happy endings, where possible, and needs great coffee, food and music to give me inspiration.
Connecting with authors via her Books in her Handbag Blog is a blast. She showcases authors’ books in the popular Handbag Gallery and has fun meeting authors in the virtual world. Fellow authors have deemed her ‘creative and quirky’ and she wears these words like a blogging badge of honour. The challenge is to get out there and meet the authors face to face. She has already set up a few interviews for June and have travel adventures planned.
Her debut novel showcased on the virtual red carpet and was supported by the wonderful bookish community. One day, she would dearly love to roll out the red carpet and host a huge book launch for indie authors.
About You Can’t Go It Alone
Love, music and secrets are woven together in this poignant, heart-warming narrative.
Set in a Welsh village, the story explores the contrast in attitudes and opportunities between different generations of women. As the characters confront their secrets and fears, they discover truths about themselves and their relationships.
The reader is invited to laugh and cry, with the characters, and find joy in the simple things in life. Listen to the music and enjoy the food, as you peek inside the world of the inhabitants of Delfryn.
Let Sophie show you that no one can go it alone. Who knows, you may find some friends with big hearts…
‘Jessie creates soulful connections between her characters and the reader. These relationships crescendo and blend until the reader is into the full depths of human nature. It’s not every day one finds a book they can’t put down. This is reserved for the undeniably human writer.’
If you’re a bibliophile or a film buff, 2018 is sure to put a spring in your step, as a large array of popular novels will come to theaters and televisions.
Between June and August, expect to be entertained by movies adapted from books hot off the bestseller list. From family and musicals to drama, comedy and horror, there is something for everyone — and still enough time to read one or two of the books on which these movies are based.
1. “On Chesil Beach” (based on the novel of the same name by Ian McEwan) – June 2018
What’s it about? In 1962 England, a young couple dates and marries in quick succession, but immediately runs into trouble on their honeymoon night.
Who’s in it? Saoirse Ronan, Emily Watson, Anne-Marie Duff
What’s it about? As Scott Lang balances being a superhero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past.
Genre: Superhero, adventure, sci-fi
Who’s in it? Evangeline Lilly, Hannah John-Kamen, Paul Rudd
What’s it about? Seven years ago, and seven miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, Dr Jonas Taylor encountered something that changed the course of his life. Now he must confront his fears and return to the crushing depths to save those trapped in a sunken submersible.
Genre: Suspense, thriller, sea adventure
Who’s in it? Ruby Rose, Jason Statham, Rainn Wilson
5. “Asinamali” (based on the play of the same title by Mbongeni Ngema) – August 2018
What’s it about? Adapted from Mbongeni Ngema’s Broadway production of “Asinamali”. In the prison yard on Robben Island, a man named Nelson Mandela told Msizi Dube: “Go and do it for all of us, for all our people. So one day we may join you in a free South Africa.”
Who’s in it? Kevin White
6. “The Darkest Minds” (based on the novel of the same title by Alexandra Bracken) – August 2018
What’s it about? Imprisoned by an adult world that now fears everyone under 18, a group of teens form a resistance group to fight back and reclaim control over their future. For fans of “Divergent” and “The Hunger Games”.
Genre: Young adult, sci-fi, thriller
Who’s in it? Mandy Moore, Amandla Stenberg, Gwendoline Christie
7. “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” (based on the novel of the same name by Mary Ann Schaffer) – August 2018
What’s it about? A writer forms an unexpected bond with the residents of Guernsey Island in the aftermath of World War II, when she decides to write a book about their experiences during the war.
Genre: Drama, historical, romance
Who’s in it? Lily James, Matthew Goode, Michiel Huisman
8. “Crazy Rich Asians” (based on the novel of the same title by Kevin Kwan) – August 2018
What’s it about? Three wealthy Chinese families prepare for the wedding of the year. When Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.
Genre: Comedy, romance
Who’s in it? Constance Wu, Michelle Yeoh, Henry Golding
9. “The Wife” (based on the novel of the same title by Meg Wolitzer) – August 2018
What’s it about? A wife questions her life choices as she travels to Stockholm with her husband, where he is slated to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. But behind the compromises, the disappointment and disillusionment, there lies a secret…
Who’s in it? Christian Slater, Elizabeth McGovern, Glenn Close
What’s it about? Ron Stallworth, an African-American police officer from Colorado, successfully managed to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan and became the head of the local chapter.
Genre: Comedy, biopic, thriller, drama, crime
Who’s in it? Adam Driver, Topher Grace, Laura Harrier
11. “Submergence” (based on the novel of the same title by JM Ledgard) – September 2018
What’s it about? In a room with no windows on the east coast of Africa, a Scotsman, James More, is held captive by jihadist fighters. Thousands of miles away in the Greenland Sea, Danielle Flinders prepares to dive in a submersible to the ocean floor. In their confines they are drawn back to the Christmas of the previous year, where a chance encounter on a beach in France led to an intense and enduring romance.
Genre: Thriller, romance, drama
Who’s in it? Alicia Vikander, James McAvoy, Alexander Siddig
12. “A Simple Favor” (based on the novel of the same title by Darcey Bell) – September 2018
What’s it about? Stephanie, a mommy vlogger, seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily’s sudden disappearance from their small town.
Genre: Crime, mystery, thriller
Who’s in it? Blake Lively, Linda Cardellini, Anna Kendrick
13. “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” (based on the novel of the same title by John Bellairs) – October 2018
What’s it about? A young orphan named Lewis Barnavelt aids his magical uncle in locating a clock with the power to bring about the end of the world.
Genre: Adventure, fantasy, horror, thriller
Who’s in it? Cate Blanchett, Jack Black, Sunny Suljic
14. “Venom” (based on the Marvel comics by Todd McFarlane and David Michelinie) – October 2018
What’s it about? When Eddie Brock acquires the powers of a symbiote, he has to release his alter-ego, Venom, to save his life.
Genre: Horror, sci-fi, thriller, superhero
Who’s in it? Tom Hardy, Michelle Williams, Woody Harrelson
What’s it about? Melissa McCarthy stars in the adaptation of the memoir “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”, the true story of bestselling celebrity biographer Lee Israel. When Israel falls out of step with current tastes, she turns her art form to deception.
Genre: Biopic, comedy, drama
Who’s in it? Melissa McCarthy, Julie Ann Emery, Richard E Grant
16. “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” (based on the classic story of The Nutcracker by ETA Hoffmann) – November 2018
What’s it about? A young girl is transported into a magical world of gingerbread soldiers and an army of mice.
Genre: Adventure, ballet, family, fantasy
Who’s in it? Keira Knightley, Eugenio Derbez, Mackenzie Foy
17. “The Girl in the Spider’s Web” (based on the novel of the same title by David Lagercrantz) – November 2018
What’s it about? Young computer hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist find themselves caught in a web of spies, cybercriminals and corrupt government officials.
Genre: Crime, thriller
Who’s in it? Claire Foy, Lakeith Stanfield, Sylvia Hoeks
18. “Hunter Killer” (based on the novel “Firing Point“ by George Wallace) – November 2018
What’s it about? An untested American submarine captain teams up with U.S. Navy Seals to rescue the Russian president, who has been kidnapped by a rogue general.
Genre: Action, thriller
Who’s in it? Gerard Butler, Gary Oldman, Ryan McPartlin
What’s it about? A war-hardened crusader and his Moorish commander mount an audacious revolt against the corrupt English crown in a thrilling action-adventure packed with gritty battlefield exploits, mind-blowing fight choreography and a timeless romance.
Who’s in it? Taron Egerton, Jamie Dornan, Eve Hewson
21. “Mortal Engines” (based on the book of the same title by Philip Reeve) – December 2018
What’s it about? Many years after the Sixty Minute War, cities survive on a now desolate Earth by moving around on giant wheels, attacking and devouring smaller towns to replenish their resources.
Genre: Fantasy, sci-fi, adventure
Who’s in it? Hugo Weaving, Frankie Adams, Stephen Lang
22. “Mary Poppins Returns” (based on the books by P.L. Travers) – December 2018
What’s it about? In Depression-era London, a now-grown Jane and Michael Banks, along with Michael’s three children, are visited by the enigmatic Mary Poppins. Through her unique magical skills, she helps the family rediscover the joy and wonder missing in their lives.
Genre: Family, musical
Who’s in it? Emily Blunt, Meryl Streep, Colin Firth
Here are nine of the book-to-movie attractions to look forward to in 2018 in South Africa between January and May.
What’s it about? – When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he’s not alone. He’s surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade – a walled encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible stone maze.
What’s it about? “12 Strong” tells the story of the first Special Forces team deployed to Afghanistan after 9/11; under the leadership of a new captain, the team must work with an Afghan warlord to take down the Taliban.
What’s it about? In 1962, Madeleine L’Engle debuted her novel “A Wrinkle in Time“, which would go on to win the 1963 Newbery Medal. Bridging science and fantasy, darkness and light, fear and friendship, the story became a classic of children’s literature and is beloved around the world. Now Disney is bringing it to the silver screen!
Genre: Teen, young adult, time travel, science fiction
What’s it about? Ballerina Dominika Egorova is recruited to “Sparrow School”, a Russian intelligence service, where she is forced to use her body as a weapon. But her first mission, targeting a CIA agent, threatens to unravel the security of both nations.
What’s it about? Peter is thrilled that Grandpa is coming to live with his family. That is, until Grandpa moves right into Peter’s room, forcing him upstairs. Peter decides to declare war in an attempt to get it back.
What’s it about? Dr Paul Kersey is a surgeon who only sees the aftermath of his city’s violence as victims are rushed into his ER – until his wife and college-age daughter are viciously attacked in their suburban home.
What’s it about? From the genius of David Levithan, co-author of “Will Grayson, Will Grayson“, and “Nick and Nora’s Infinite Playlist“, comes a love story like none you’ve read before. A shy teenager falls for someone who transforms into another person every day.
Genre: Teen, young adult, science fiction, dystopian
These two articles combined have been initially published on Huffington Post SA in 2018.