Days of Wonder by Keith Stuart ** Blog Tour Review**

I am delighted to be participating in this blog tour for Keith Stuart's second novel, Days of Wonder, on Publication Day. It is being published in hardback by Sphere today on 7th June 2018.
 

In the beautiful, funny and moving second novel by the author of A Boy Made of Blocks, a father and his daughter discover that stories can save lives. 


Tom, single father to Hannah, is the manager of a tiny local theatre. On the same day each year, he and its colourful cast of part-time actors have staged a fantastical production just for his little girl, a moment of magic to make her childhood unforgettable. 


But there is another reason behind these annual shows: the very first production followed Hannah's diagnosis with a heart condition that both of them know will end her life early. And now, with Hannah a funny, tough girl of fifteen on the brink of adulthood, that time is coming.  


With the theatre under threat of closure, Hannah and Tom have more than one fight on their hands to stop the stories ending. But maybe, just maybe, one final day of magic might just save them both. 


‘Utterly enchanting . . . a truly beautiful story’  Ruth Hogan, author of The Keeper of Lost Things 


‘So powerful, yet incredibly gentle and poignant. Utterly and completely beautiful’  Joanna Cannon, author of The Trouble with Goats and Sheep

My Thoughts

Days of Wonder is a special sort of a book which makes you think about what is important. It looks at family life and the effect of living with life limiting illness and does so in an inspiring and uplifting way. I loved the eclectic range of characters who are all there in Hannah and her father's life, brought together through the theatre and forming an extended family around them. There is plenty of humour in the story despite Hannah's grim prognosis and especially in Hannah's case, it adds vitality to her character. She is a great creation- so feisty and at the same time so vulnerable.

    Keith Stuart has done a marvellous job of capturing the spirit of a young adolescent, in Hannah. She veers between childhood and young adulthood, at times showing insight beyond her years. In being given two points of view- Hannah and her father, Tom, you really feel that you are looking in on their lives. Theatre and escaping into a performance is a huge part of the story and there is a magical feel about it at times. Captivating, emotional, poignant are all words you want to use to describe this book. 

In short: A deeply affecting but understated story which gets to the heart of what it is to be alive. 



About the Author


c. Ashley Bird
Keith Stuart is an author and journalist. His heartwarming debut novel, A Boy Made of Blocks, was a Richard and Judy Book Club pick and a major bestseller, and was inspired by Keith's real-life relationship with his autistic son. Keith has written for publications including Empire, Red and Esquire magazine, and is the former games editor of the Guardian. He lives with his wife and two sons in Frome, Somerset.

You can follow Keith here:  Twitter  |  Goodreads

 Book links: Amazon UK

You can read my review of A Boy Made of Blocks  here.


                                                  Keith Stuart on Days of Wonder 



Days of Wonder is a story about love, life and magic, but I hope it deals with all three of these things in unusual ways. After finishing A Boy Made of Blocks, I knew I wanted to write another novel about families in crisis, but this time with a very different set of characters – and a very different crisis. As a Manchester City supporter, I was greatly affected by the death of midfield player Marc-Vivien FoĆ© from a rare form of cardiomyopathy. He was 28. Later, I noticed other news reports about the same heart condition, which often struck young people seemingly out of nowhere. I wondered how you would live your life as a teenager with such a serious condition. What would it take to get you through?

The obvious answer is a lot of love and support and belief and passion. As an ex-drama student who loved my time directing and acting in plays, I thought that a small local theatre would be an interesting, supportive place for my protagonist Hannah to grow up in. I loaded her life with quirky, eccentric characters and I brought in fairy tales and comic books to accentuate the value of stories and myths in our lives. I just wanted to write this big, warm, funny book about something potentially tragic. I think in a lot of ways this comes from my own experience of grief. When my dad died of cancer in 2003, my mum, my sisters and me sat around and told each other stories about his life; we swapped memories and it was almost like we created a narrative of his life - that's how we coped. Memories are the stories we tell about our lives, and I think we all – in a lot of ways - live through stories. It's love, laughter and imagination that gets you through. This is what Days of Wonder is about. 

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 Thanks to Keith Stuart and Clara Diaz of Little, Brown for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.
  


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