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Thursday, 10 November 2016

Because of You by Helene Fermont - book review


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.

Amazon UK - buy your copy here


Born into a bilingual family (Swedish/English), Hélene Fermont enjoyed an idyllic childhood on the outskirts of Malmö, Sweden's third largest city and a major cultural hub.

Growing up in the early 1970s, she enjoyed a brief musical career on Swedish TV and radio before pursuing a rewarding career as a therapist specialising in children with learning difficulties.

Hélene has lived in London for over 20 years but still regularly returns to her native Sweden, where the unspoiled scenery and tranquility help aid the creative process. Hélene is currently hard at work on her second novel.


Was offered the chance to read a copy of this paperback from the lovely people at bookollective  and I have to thank them and the author for the opportunity!

This book has proved to be an absorbing read set over a span of 36 years in both London and Sweden. It's the story of Hannah Stein - her highs, her lows, her happiness, her despair and all that happens in between!

Hannah moves to London when she's 18 and this book allows you into her head for every new experience, whether good or bad, as she discovers the power of a first love, and how life experiences can change you and those around you, and teaches her to enjoy the little moments and listen to those giving her advice

There are a few characters that appear in her life who are pretty ghastly but this is only reflective of real life - not everybody is nice and has your best intentions at heart, and it is fascinating to see how Hannah deals with those around her and shows that the author is not afraid to sugar coat the realities of life. We also get to see that with some of the topics featured throughout - death of loved ones, rape, dementia and the loss of a baby - it isn't an easy read at time but all these topics are dealt with in a very sympathetic way.

I did find my interest did dip at a couple of points through the book, but think this was to be expected in a 500 plus page novel! But there was always something just around the corner to raise emotions again and regain your interest and concern.

This was a really detailed insight into Hannah as she progresses from an 18 year old teenager into a woman and all those experiences that those years bring your way. Was also fun to have to the little glimpses of the fashion and music around at the time of her stay in London and really helped give you a flavour of the time.

A fascinating debut and I can't wait to see what else Helene Fermont has in store for us with her next novel!

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