Review: For Holly by Tanya Byrne


Lola Durand hates her stepmother. It’s a cliché but it’s true.

Lola Durand can’t get through to her father. He never wants to talk about the things that matter: why they had to move to Paris, why he had to marry evil Agatha, and how they can get through the heartache of her mother’s death together.

If he won’t listen, she’ll show him. She’ll show him the truth about his new wife and then her life can go back to normal, just the way she likes it.

Lola Durand knows a secret about her stepmother. She’s going to share it.


I was given a duplicate copy of the book from another lovely blogger and I was so excited to finally have the complete set of Tanya’s books.  I love Tanya and her writing because she’s got a fantastic way of mixing honesty and heart-break without being unrealistic.  You completely invest in the characters and world’s she presents you with; no matter how different from your own they might be.  I’d been saving reading this book for ages and finally picked it off the shelf to dive into.

Lola is a broken girl who doesn’t really know how to fix herself.  Honestly; she doesn’t know if she can be fixed and is just going along with life as it’s thrown at her.  Her Mum dies suddenly and, within months of the funeral, her Dad has met and married another woman.  She can’t quite handle it but when she’s sent to Paris to spend the summer with her Dad and his new wife, she goes with it.  Agatha is a mega-famous fashion designer and her Dad is a super-skilled surgeon.  Lola can’t be anything but Lola and, right now, that means trouble.  Lola keeps causing problems for herself and those around her but, will one small act of cruelty lead to consequences that can’t be taken back or apologised out of?  Can Lola change things before it’s too late or before anyone gets seriously hurt?

This book is such a wonderful addition to Tanya’s other stories.  Told in a mixture of hindsight and diary-like form we follow Lola as she talks to a mystery character; trying to explain herself and what’s happened in the last few months of her life.  Lola is one of those frustrating characters who always do the wrong thing and leave you shouting at your book that she’s an idiot.  Then you naturally look like a right weirdo for shouting at book in public.  Stupid book.

The relationships and tension between all the characters are so uncomfortable but so true to life that you can’t help but read more and more of the story and, before you know it, you’ve missed your train stop or your dinner has burnt.  The other gorgeous part of this book was Paris itself.  Tanya’s clearly got a love for this city and you can taste it with every description of the humid summer heat and iconic locations that Lola roams around.

For Holly is a heart-wrenching tale about families that don’t know how to talk to each other and acceptance.  Life doesn’t always go the way we want it to but sometimes we have to find a way to deal with it rather than locking ourselves away in anger.  Another book from Tanya that will only leave you annoyed that there aren’t more Byrne books out there to purchase.  More please, Tanya?

Published by Headline and is available online and in bookshops now

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