Review of 'Down To Earth', a novel by Melanie Rose.
I am reviewing the paperback edition of the book. ISBN 978-1847561077.
Publisher- Avon a division of the Harper Collins Group. Publishing date 15th October 2010.
388 pages, cover price £6.99. Genre:- Modern fiction.
The novel is available from various book stores and online from www.amazon.co.uk for £4.49 new, or from £1.75 used.
When Michaela Anderson signs up with work colleagues to do a charity parachute jump, little does she realise that the 25th of April 2002 will be a turning point in her life.
As the date of the jump draws closer, several colleagues drop out, leaving just Michaela, Ingrid, Kevin and Graham to raise money for charity. The foursome undergo a training session with instructor Matt. As they board the aircraft for the jump, Matt slips Michaela a piece of paper with his phone number and asks her if she'd care to go for a drink with him. Michaela has a partner Calum, and a step daughter, Abbey, at home, so isn't really interested in Matt's offer.
Once airborne, nerves kick in and Michaela has second thoughts, she lets her colleagues jump first and then although it takes all her courage, she makes her own leap from the aircraft. As she drifts downwards, a huge gale blows up from nowhere.
Michaela enjoys the jump and when she returns to the ground, she finds the airfield deserted, her car gone and the season inexplicably changed. At first, she is terrified that her colleagues have pulled a bizarre practical joke on her, but very soon realises that this is not the case and she is alone on an abandoned airfield. She makes her way to a pub where she tries to ring her boyfriend and her parents with no success. She is getting frantic when she remembers that she has Matt's number in her pocket and in a desperate attempt to get a lift home, calls him.
Matt is astonished to hear from Michaela and agrees to fetch her. As she is waiting for her lift, Michaela picks up a newspaper from the bar and sees the date, 20th October 2008.
From this moment on everything in her life is different. Michaela is determined to find out the truth. Where has she been for the past six and a half years? Was she kidnapped? Is she now suffering amnesia - or has something more extraordinary happened?
If you would like to know more, I'm afraid you'll have to read the novel!
**About The Author**
Melanie Rose has been writing since she was a teenager. She has written a host of short stories and several non-fiction articles which have been published in magazines and newspapers. Melanie trained as a Nursery Nurse and has since worked with children in care and as a play therapist on the children's ward at the Royal Marsden Hospital.
After leaving work to start a family, she and her husband brought up four sons, all of whom provided much inspiration for her books. The family live in Surrey.
Down to Earth is the third novel by Melanie Rose.
My source for the above information was the authors own web site www.melanierose.co.uk
**My Thoughts and Conclusion**
This was the first novel I had encountered from this author so I read it with no preconceived thoughts or expectations. I chose this book, because in my usual cheapskate fashion, I was browsing through the 'damaged goods' section of my local Sainsburys supermarket and spotted the book at the knock-down price of £1. The front cover was slightly battered, which did not matter to me. I'm always on the lookout for reading matter and it looked an interesting novel, so into my shopping trolley it went.
I woke in the early hours one morning between Christmas and New Year and unable to go back to sleep, decided to read a few chapters of my new novel. Several hours later my family were up and around and I was still reading, I actually read this in one sitting!
The novel is fast paced and completely absorbing thanks to the remarkably well crafted plot and excellent characters. Ms Rose has produced a novel which I have to say is the best I have read in this genre for a very long time.
The plot is fairly complex and throws up some unexpected twists as the story of Michaela's missing 6 ½ years unfolds. The characters are believable and the storyline is a very strong one which is thought provoking and unusual. To find yourself missing an large chunk of your life would be bad enough, but the confusion and subsequent hounding by the press as Michaela had to cope with, would be awful.
I felt totally connected with the central character, Michaela as she struggled to pick up the pieces of her life. Her fear when she finds herself alone on a deserted and derelict airstrip was very realistically described and I found myself feeling almost scared as I was reading!
The trauma of meeting up with her step-daughter, Abbey, was beautifully depicted. Of course to Michaela, the parachute jump had happened only days before and to meet an angry, angst ridden, much pierced and tattooed, obnoxious teenager, instead of a ten and a half year old child was very bitter sweet. Abbey had spent a long time feeling abandoned and deserted as her natural mother had died when she was a little girl and then Michaela had vanished from her life only to turn up years later as if nothing had happened.
Michaela also had to try to pick up the pieces of her relationship with her partner Calum, for whom life had been far from easy since her disappearance. Again, I felt this was very well handled within the story line.
Michaela's biggest shock was to find that family members had died in her absence and nothing was the same. Her friends and family had virtually written her off as dead, she had only the clothes she stood up in, no documents or even I.D. to prove who she was, her bank accounts had been frozen and the police were insistent that she must remember something about her missing years. To be in this position would be so frightening and surreal, the author has produced a masterpiece in 'Down To Earth' and I intend to seek out her other novels as this one has made such a good impression on me.
I would recommend this novel to those who like an easy read but with strong characters and an unusual plot. I wish I could award the book 10*!
Thank you for reading.
©Brittle1906 January 2011
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