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Moving exploration of finding love and hope in friendship – the self help novel of the year

The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness by Laura Bambrey

Warmth, wisdom and wellbeing go hand-in-in hand in this enchanting debut novel from book blogger and women’s fiction reviewer Laura Bambrey.

Using her experience and knowledge, Bambrey has written a tale of our times starring a woman struggling with being alone and desperate to return to some sort of normality after a tragedy in her life.

Full of compassion, understanding, and a cast of characters that readers cannot help but fall for, The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness is both a moving exploration of finding love and hope in friendship, and an uplifting read for anyone in need of self-help inspiration.

Author Laura Bambrey

Tori Williamson is alone. After a tragic event left her isolated from her loved ones, she’s been struggling to find her way back to herself. That’s why she set up her blog, The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness, as a way of – anonymously – connecting with the outside world and reaching others who just need a little help sometimes.

When she’s offered a free spot at The Farm, a wellbeing retreat, in exchange for a review on her blog, Tori is anxious about opening herself up to new surroundings. But after her three closest friends – who she talks to online but has never actually met – convince her it will do her some good, she reluctantly agrees and heads off for three weeks in the wilds at a farm in Wales.

From the moment she arrives, Tori is sceptical and quickly finds herself attracted to fellow sceptic Than, the retreat’s dark and mysterious latecomer. But as the beauty of The Farm slowly comes to light she realises that opening herself up might not be the worst thing. And sharing a yurt with fellow retreater Bay definitely isn’t. 

Will the retreat be able to fix Tori? And will she finally learn that being lonely doesn’t mean she’s broken?

Bambrey proves to be an exciting new voice in women’s fiction as readers’ hearts and minds are drawn into the lives of a group of disparate people who confront their problems and their fears, and discover that friendship is one of life’s greatest healers.

Beautifully written and threaded through with fun, emotion and romance, this is the perfect read for long summer days.

(The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness by Laura Bambrey, Simon & Schuster, paperback, £7.99)

Pam Norfolk
Pam Norfolk has been writing book reviews for over ten years, including for the Wordsworth Trust. She has also worked as a reporter and sub-editor on regional and national newspapers.

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