Popsugar Reading Challenge 2021 – Book 36

Prompt: The book on you TBR list with the prettiest cover

Some many books have beautiful and striking cover art that there were quite a few contenders for this prompt. Then I received a copy of The Beginners Guide to Loneliness by Laura Bambrey as part of my My Book Moment subscription and I absolutely loved the cover so decision made. The colours are just gorgeous and I really like the font of the title too.

What it’s about?

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, well – 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 on 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’ll do her some good, she reluctantly agrees and heads off for three weeks in the wild (well, a farm in Wales).
From the moment she arrives, Tori is sceptical and quickly finds herself drawn to fellow sceptic Than, the retreat’s dark and mysterious latecomer. But as the beauty of The Farm slowly comes to light she realizes 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? Or will she finally learn that being lonely doesn’t mean she’s broken . . .
Welcome to The Beginner’s Guide to Loneliness! Where you can learn to move mountains by picking up the smallest of stones…

What I think:

This was such an enjoyable read.

I think everyone has times in their life when they have felt lonely. Making new, and meaningful friendship can become harder as you get older so some of Tori’s experiences will really hit home for some readers, especially in the aftermath of Lockdowns and working from home.

Having lost her mother and ended her relationship, Tori has found herself increasingly isolated and lonely. She reaches out to the world through an online chat group who become her closest friends even though they have never met in real life.

She also starts a blog called The Beginners Guide to Loneliness where she explores her feelings. Despite being anonymous, her writing resonates with readers and her following is growing.

When she is offered the chance to stay at a residential retreat in Wales in return for a review on her blog she takes her chance. At first she is skeptical and reluctant to fully commit to the retreats programme, but within a few days Tori’s is embracing that the chance to face her fears and connect with other people.

This may all sound a bit serious but I can assure you it is warm hearted and funny. The participants begin to bond and build friendships as they get to know each other. Tori initially finds herself drawn to Than, who is charming and shares her sense of humour, but as the retreat progresses the sparks between her and Bay are becoming hard to ignore.

Tori finds herself having to deal with some unexpected and devastating revelations. But with the help of her new friends she is able to regain her confidence and learn from her experiences.

I love the supporting characters who are guaranteed to make you smile. Tori’s journey is uplifting and full of hope making this the perfect read to snuggle up with as winter evenings draw in.

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