Monday, 25 April 2016

** BLOG TOUR ** The People We Were Before by Annabelle Thorpe




I am delighted to be kicking of the blog tour today for this book. I have my review and I asked Annabelle some questions. The book was published by Quercus on 21st April 2016 and is available in paperback and e book. My thanks to the publisher for the review copy and inviting me onto the blog tour.

If war is madness, how can love survive?
Yugoslavia, summer 1979. A new village. A new life. But eight-year-old Miro knows the real reason why his family moved from the inland city of Knin to the sunkissed village of Ljeta on the Dalmatian Coast, a tragedy he tries desperately to forget.
The Ljeta years are happy ones, though, and when he marries his childhood sweetheart, and they have a baby daughter, it seems as though life is perfect. However, storm clouds are gathering above Yugoslavia.
War breaks out, and one split-second decision destroys the life Miro has managed to build. Driven by anger and grief, he flees to Dubrovnik, plunging himself into the hard-bitten world of international war reporters.
There begins a journey that will take him ever deeper into danger: from Dubrovnik, to Sarajevo, to the worst atrocities of war-torn Bosnia, Miro realises that even if he survives, there can be no way back to his earlier life. The war will change him, and everyone he loves, forever.


This is a superb book, it is stunning in the way that it is described, envisaged and written. It contains some beautiful storytelling. I can't really fault it!

This book covers a span of more than 20 years and covers the period of the wars that were happening in the 1990's. It follows the main character Miro through his story, growing up, and getting married and described when war begins how conflict changes people and those around them. 

This book is a brutal and realistic portrayal of the savages of war on lives and also those that are left to continue afterwards. War changes everybody. I felt incredibly emotional reading this book, the author did such a fantastic job of describing Croatia, and then also did am accurate job of describing how whole villages were destroyed when the fighting starting.

The author has managed to create a host of flawed but likeable characters, characters for whom I felt a warmth and an empathy. Characters that I was rooting for at all costs. The author writes with beauty and style and clearly shows a passion for the region. There is emotional depth within the characters and their individual stories, whilst still keeping a reality over the things that happen to people. 

Overall I would say that this is a story about the brutalities of war, of friendships and families, of overcoming obstacles. Right within the heart of it though is a story of love in all its many guises. 

I wholeheartedly recommend this book and eagerly await what this author comes up with next. She is one to watch!



Annabelle Thorpe has been a travel and features journalist for fifteen years, writing for national print and online media. She currently works as a freelance for the Times, Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Express, and works as a consultant for the National Trust. Annabelle completed an MA in Contemporary History in September 2012 and is an alumni of Curtis Brown Creative. She lives in London and Sussex.

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I am absolutely delighted that Annabelle was able to join me today and answer a few questions. Thank you very much, I wish you every success with the book.


1)      Where is your favourite place to write and is there any particular time that works better for you?

Under the duvet!  My best/most creative time is first thing in the morning, so I often tend to get up, make a cup of tea and just start writing.  There's something about feeling slightly cocooned that suits me as a writing space.

2)      Where did the idea for your book come from?

I've been going to Croatia, or Yugoslavia, as it was then, since the early 1980's.  Seeing places where I'd holidayed suddenly become embroiled in a vicious, horrible war seemed really shocking.  People I'd met - everyone from the waiters to the men who run the boat trips - would have been involved.  That seemed a fascinating story to me.

3)      Are there any Characters that you would like to develop further in future, or a particular theme you would like to write about?

I don't want to give away any spoilers, but there is a relationship that is integral to the book that I'd like to possibly revisit.  Life's a long road and once you really love someone, you tend to stay entwined with them on some level.  I'd like to see where they both were twenty years down the road; if they were still in touch, or something more...

4)      Are you currently writing anything else?

I'm working on my second novel, Night Falls on the Kasbah, which is set in Marrakech.  It's quite different, more of a thriller and great fun to write.

5)      Which Writers inspire you?

They're a diverse bunch; from Jane Austen, who achieved such incredible things at a time when it was so hard for women to get published, to Khaled Hosseini.  His writing is so beautiful and he writes about the most harrowing circumstances with such lyricism and empathy...I dream of being able to write like him.

6)      Which book would you most likely give as a gift or recommend to other people?

I've recently recommended The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker to almost everyone I know.  It's a story about the world gradually spinning slower on its axis.  It's a complex idea, simply told, and it's a fantastic read.

7)      Could you share with us something that other people don’t necessarily know about you?

I'm pretty good at pool.  Rather too much of my university career was spent playing pool, and my sister has a table for her sons, so I've kept up my skills on that. 

8)      If you could have written any book from the past, which would it be?

I know its a cliche, but it would have to be The Great Gatsby.  It's spare, clever, and oh-so-glamorous.  And somehow it just stays relevant as a story, however much time passes since it was written.

9)      What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love being outdoors, so whenever I get away from my laptop, I'm either in my garden or on the beach.  And I'm a big theatre-goer; I'm in awe of people who write plays.  It's such high-stakes writing; unlike films, there's nothing to detract from the script. 

10)   Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven’t included?

Just thanks for having me on your blog!  It's been a pleasure.



       Thank you!

Please do keep up with the other stops on the tour, tomorrow is the turn of Sophie over at www.reviewedthebook.co.uk




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