Today is my stop on the blog tour for Lyrebird, the latest novel by Cecelia Ahern which is published this week. I must confess that this is the first of Cecelia’s novels that I have read and I was very excited to do so as she is an author whose work I have been meaning to read for some time. In this, her thirteenth novel written for adults, she tells the story of a girl with a gift…
‘It is the moment his life splits; who he was before he met her and who he becomes after.’
The story begins with Solomon, a man whose skill lies with sound as he works as part of a documentary crew. Alongside his girlfriend Bo, the crew’s director, and Rachel who is responsible for the camera work, he returns to a familiar place under difficult circumstances. The scene is set deep into the woods in the South West of Ireland, beautiful lakes and mountains surrounded by farmland. This was a place they knew well having filmed a documentary a few years previously centred on the brothers who lived and worked there. Having produced an award-winning documentary they return to the farm in more sombre circumstances as they attend the funeral of one of the documentary’s subjects. But when Solomon ventures away from the group to take in the sights and sounds he soon senses he is not alone, and there is someone watching him from the trees. He is surprised to see it is a girl, a girl who has something of an ethereal quality to her. This raises many questions – who is this girl, and where has she come from?
‘You have the ability to take people somewhere else. Somewhere they can’t see, but somewhere they can feel.’
Before long the crew discover that this mysterious girl from the woods, named Laura, is far from ordinary. She possesses a remarkable talent, and is able to mimic sounds, recreating the world that surrounds her. She immediately becomes a source of fascination and intrigue, and for Bo in particular she provides an opportunity for more work, a new documentary and a chance to introduce this girl to the world. Her talent for mimicry results in her being nicknamed ‘Lyrebird’ and so begins her journey from obscurity to the public eye. From the start of the story I was immediately intrigued by Laura and how she came to be living alone in the woods, living such a solitary existence. Snippets of her early years and the reasons for her solitude are gradually revealed, as Laura begins to open up to the people who surround her. And as Laura’s profile increases we begin to see the impact that modern life and the pursuit of fame has on an individual. Laura seizes the chance for a new life, but finds herself in the midst of a growing media frenzy with more and more people keen to hear her voice, her extraordinary talent. But for a young woman who has spent so much of her life away from the noise of modern society, difficulties arise when the uglier side of fame emerges. This book explores some of these difficulties, and how people can be influenced, or exploited by others for their own gain. In addition to Laura adjusting to her hectic new life, decisions made about Laura’s future cause tension within existing relationships, particularly in the case of Bo and Solomon, who have different ideas about what is best for her. And then there is Laura’s allegiance with Solomon, and memories of a first meeting that can never fade…
‘You recognise the tiniest details in people, animals, objects, everything. You hear things that we don’t even notice or that we’ve long stopped hearing. You capture those things and you display them to the world. You remind us of what is beautiful.’
Lyrebird is an enjoyable story about an extraordinary young woman and her search for acceptance, to find her place in a world that is new to her. It is a story of love and loss, fame and obscurity and how we can find our voice within a sea of noise.
Lyrebird is to be published on 3rd November 2016 by Harper Collins. Many thanks to Harper Collins for providing a proof copy for review.
This review has been written as part of the Lyrebird blog tour. You can check out the rest of the tour on the dates and blogs below: