Today I’m delighted to chat about the wonderful debut novel from Alyson Rudd, the First Time Lauren Pailing Died. AND there is a giveaway at the end so do keep reading. 🙂
I remember a time when if fate had allowed I could have died. It was many years ago now but the details are still as clear as if it happened only yesterday. It was Mother’s Day and I was cycling over to my parents house. I fell off my bike. I can still see myself falling and feel how I seemed to tumble in slow motion as I lost control of my bike and it toppled over. It was pretty busy that day and I fell to my right, straight into the path of the cars travelling alongside me. I still realise how lucky I was that the driver of the car was not distracted at that very moment or driving too fast. If he had been then Mothers Day could have ended very differently indeed and many things that now exist in this world, including my rather wonderful son, would not be here.
The possibility leaves me with a chill every now and then when I think of it. We all have those moments when life stands at a very obvious crossroads and can veer off into different directions. Of course we may not always notice them but they are often there. I found this a very interesting aspect of The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd. It’s something that has always fascinated me. Sliding Doors, a 1998 film staring Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah that looked at different choices or situations taking us on different paths leading to a very different or possibly ultimately the same outcome – questioning if our fate is set to be the same no matter what route we take. It is a question that has been explored many times on stage, screen and in the written form and always inspires pause for thought.
In The First Time Lauren Pailing Died Lauren Pailing is a girl with an ordinary childhood but there is also something quite unusual about her which we discover as we gradually get to know her. I loved the historical details weaved into the story as we watch her grow up as a much adored only child. It brought back memories from my own childhood.
Alyson explores the different realities of Lauren’s life and what happens after she dies as a thirteen year old girl. I found her technique fascinating and loved the way the story was built around the parallel timelines. She portrayed reactions to grief and loss in an incredibly touching and, at times, heartbreaking way. The only constant between each life was the disappearance of Peter Stanning and gradually as the story unfolds we begin to understand what happened to him. There are so many comparisons I could equate this story to but Alyson has created something wonderful and unique. Because although at times the story can be sad, dark and thought provoking, there is always a sense of hope and that resounding feeling that we leave our mark on this earth, no matter how short or long our stay here.
The First Time Lauren Pailing Died is published now by HQ and is available in Hardback, eBook and Audiobook, and would make a fantastic read this summer.
Now, I have a hardback copy of this beautiful book to giveaway. To be in with the chance to win please like AND comment on this post before Friday evening at 8pm UK time. Your comment could just be to say hi but you need to do both to have your name put in the hat. 🙂 I’m afraid this giveaway is just for residents in the UK.
The First Time Lauren failing Died by Alyson Rudd
Lauren Pailing is born in the sixties,
And a child of the seventies.
She is thirteen years old the first time she dies.
Lauren Pailing is a teenager in the eighties, becomes a Londoner in the nineties. And each time she dies, new lives begin for the people who loved her – while Lauren enters a brand new life, too.
But in each of Lauren’s lives, a man called Peter Stanning disappears. And, in each of her lives, Lauren sets out to find him.
And so it is that every ending is also a beginning. And so it is that, with each new beginning, Peter Stanning inches closer to being found…
Perfect for fans of Kate Atkinson and Maggie O’Farrell, The First Time Lauren Pailing Died is a book about loss, grief – and how, despite it not always feeling that way, every ending marks the start of something new.
About the author
Alyson Rudd was born in Liverpool, raised in West Lancashire and educated at the London School of Economics. She is a sports journalist at The Times and lives in South West London.
She has written two works of non-fiction. The First Time Lauren Pailing Died is her first novel.
Find out more by visiting the HQ Stories website here.
Thanks so much to the lovely HQ Stories team for my review copy and for inviting me to discover more about their amazing titles at Destination HQ.
Thanks so much for reading.