Reasons To Go Outside by Esme King #BookReview

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Pearl Winter hasn’t been outside in forty-three years.

Since she arrived on Dartmoor as a girl, an isolated family cottage has been her whole world. A place of safety. But now fifty-nine-year-old Pearl is utterly alone – except for the postman, the local crows, and memories of the summer of 1976.

Teenager Connor Matthews feels like a stranger in his own home.

Since his mother’s death he’s been adrift from his remaining family, troubled by the reality of moving on, and unable to see a future ahead. But when Connor begins a summer job as Pearl’s gardener, an unexpected friendship opens the door to a fresh start for them both. If only Pearl and Connor can take the first steps . . .

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I received an invitation to read this novel so that’s how it got on my radar but I was doing just fine reading my backlist so I declined the offer. It didn’t let me go however and I kept thinking about it because the main character’s agoraphobia intrigued me, so I ended up buying an ecopy anyway.

The novel starts in August 1976 with 16 year old Pearl, her mother Lana and stepfather Ray in a car, arriving at their new home Highview. Pearl then already struggles to get from the car to the front door, she knows she won’t step a foot outside after their arrival and unbelievably so, her resolution becomes true.

Jumping to the present, Pearl is 60 years old. She spends her days cleaning, reading, feeding the crows from a distance, and as for exercise she walks the stairs up and down. But her parents have passed away and now the garden really needs tending. 18 year-old Connor answers her ad because he loves the outdoors and gardening and soon enough he comes inside and she feeds him cake, they start talking and even with the major age gap a warm friendship starts to develop between them. Sometimes all you need is for someone not to judge right? In other chapters there’s Nate who was made redundant at the insurance company after 30 years of loyalty. He finds himself making new friends too at the Happy Tails Rescue Centre, with the four-legged ones and others.

I loved how Pearl and Nate’s characters grew and found happiness, they each have a set of wonderful side characters. Unfortunately it doesn’t change Pearl into going outside or Nate from wanting to be on his own. In flashbacks I learned how Pearl and Nate knew each other quite well when they were teenagers. It was a mystery why they hadn’t stayed in touch because they still think about each other after all this time and there’s a longing that is quite endearing. You have to imagine though that times were different when she left, the means to stay in touch were not the same as nowadays, there was no mobile phone or internet, and it’s not that her parents didn’t seek help for Pearl’s conditions but the professional help back then was not at all what it would be today, so she didn’t get the help she needed basically.

I believed Nate would be the one to get her to go outside again, if only they could find each other again. But I was surprised that it is someone else who for the very first time gives her an incentive to want to venture outside. I’m not telling more but there is definitely a nasty turn of events that ultimately has a positive effect too. I also finally received an answer to the question I had been asking myself from the start, which is what had happened that made her this way. It all made sense suddenly and it made me feel quite sad for Pearl so there’s definitely not only happy but also some sad moments to be found in this novel.

Summing this novel up I’d say it’s a heart-warming and uplifting novel of friendship and love!

I bought an ecopy of this novel. This is my honest opinion.


8 thoughts on “Reasons To Go Outside by Esme King #BookReview

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