The dazzling new novel from Richard & Judy book club author Catherine Isaac, The World at my Feet is a story about the transforming power of love, as one woman journeys to uncover the past and reshape her future.
The secrets that bind us can also tear us apart…
1990. Harriet is a journalist. Her job takes her to dangerous places, where she asks questions and tries to make a difference. But when she is sent to Romania, to the state orphanages the world is only just learning about, she is forced to rethink her most important rule.
2018. Ellie is a gardener. Her garden is her sanctuary, her pride and joy. But, though she spends long days outdoors, she hasn’t set foot beyond her gate for far too long. Now someone enters her life who could finally be the reason she needs to overcome her fears.
From post-revolution Romania to the idyllic English countryside, The World at My Feet is the story of two women, two worlds, and a journey of self-discovery that spans a lifetime.
The World at my Feet is the story of Ellie and Harriet Heathcote. Harriet is a former journalist who has travelled the world reporting on important and heart-breaking stories. Daughter Ellie is a gardener and Instagram ‘influencer’, a real home body. She revels in producing glorious photographs of her garden for her numerous follows, never letting on that behind her carefully curated lifestyle her ‘real’ life is much darker and more tormented than anyone realises. This story serves as a warning that what we see on those social media platforms is only part of the story.
The characters of Ellie and Harriet make for very interesting reading. Their differences set them apart and yet there is so much love between those two women. Ellie’s journey of self-discovery is a see-saw of emotion. Every two steps forward comes with one step back. Each small piece of progress is celebrated and yet remains so precarious.
It is a compelling story covering a number of emotive topics, including adoption, abuse and mental health issues, in an intelligent and sensitive manner. The author does not seek to ‘cure’ Ellie but rather explains to the reader that her fears and anxieties will always remain a part of her but that she has the strength of character to face those struggles and hopefully overcome the worst of them. We each have the ability to choose our own path and determine our own future, but the more fortunate of us have the support of family and friends to help us along our way.
Catherine has a wonderfully descriptive writing style which really brings to life the scenes set around Harriet’s visits to a Romanian orphanage back in the 1980s. This is a plot line that I struggles to get out of my mind once the book had finished. The author successfully shows how our present can’t help but be influenced by our past.
Ultimately, this is a touching, empathetic and uplifting novel of family, friendship, hope and strength. Whilst the book deals with some dark subject matters, there is warmth and humour throughout. It is well-researched, intelligently written and thought-provoking. A really wonderful book from Catherine Isaac and one which I would be happy to recommend.
A big thanks to Sara-Jade from Simon & Schuster UK for providing an advanced copy of the book for review.
Catherine Isaac is the author of 12 best-selling novels, nine of which were written under the pseudonym Jane Costello.
Catherine was born in Liverpool and began her career as a trainee reporter at the Liverpool Echo, where she worked until she became Editor of the Liverpool Daily Post. She wrote her first book, Bridesmaids, while on maternity leave.
‘You Me Everything’ was her first book writing as Catherine Isaac and was published in 2018. It was selected by the Richard & Judy Book Club, has been translated into 25 languages and a movie adaptation is in development by Lionsgate and Temple Hill. Her next novel, ‘Messy, Wonderful Us’ will be followed by ‘The World At My Feet’, which is scheduled for UK publication in March 2021.
Catherine lives in Liverpool with her husband Mark and three sons. She enjoys running, playing tennis, spending time in the Lake District and reading a lot of books.