Book review – Bright Burning Things by Lisa Harding

This was another NetGalley arc I was sent in exchange for an honest review.


Being Tommy’s mother is too much for Sonya.

Too much love, too much fear, too much longing for the cool wine she gulps from the bottle each night. Because Sonya is burning the fish fingers, and driving too fast, and swimming too far from the shore, and Tommy’s life is in her hands.

Once there was the thrill of a London stage, a glowing acting career, fast cars, handsome men. But now there are blackouts and bare cupboards, and her estranged father showing up uninvited. There is Mrs O’Malley spying from across the road. There is the risk of losing Tommy – forever.

Sonya was a very troubled, complex character. With a dark past of abusive relationships, unloving father, alcohol abuse and the constant inner turmoil and voices she faces makes for a dark, yet moving novel.

You will laugh, you will cry, you will feel sorry for Sonya, you will feel sorry to Tommy, you will scream at Sonya, you will root for her and you will wonder at times who Tommy is better off with. You will feel all the spectrum of emotions and feel emotionally exhausted at the end. By going through Sonya’s life you see every layer and what happens when you strip off some of the vices such as the alcohol. She is a damaged woman with a big heart and will do anything to keep her kid.

I really enjoyed this novel. I did feel it was too slow at times. It isn’t an action packed novel but I felt that some events could have happened at a faster pace.

However, I did feel a bit let down by the ending. I won’t give any spoilers but I felt that I would have liked a bit more of a resolution and it felt like it was left hanging to some extent. In particular I would have loved to found out more about Sonya’s childhood and mother. However, saying that, it was more realistic this way as life isn’t often about neatly tied up plots and we don’t always get the answers you want. So, from this perspective it did add to overall emotion and complexity of the novel.

On the whole, it was a good read, the character development was well executed. You see Sonya go through a whole variety of emotions and face events which will challenge her and push her to her limits. As events unfold she will need to evolve and change which as we all know isn’t the easiest thing to do.

⭐⭐⭐ – an emotional, hard hitting read which has all the feels but a bit too slow at times.

Bright Burning Things is out on 4th March.

Are you into your emotional books? What’s the last emotional read you picked up? Let me know in the comments below.

Much love 💜

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