A Strange Companion is the story of a girl struggling with loss, pain and how to move forward with life.
Written by Lisa Manterfield, this book was only recently released; published on April 4th, 2017. Our heroine is Kat Richardson. Kate is a university student who has already had to cope with more pain and loss than most. Her firefighter father was killed on duty when she was a child, leaving the first hole is her life, then one year, nine months and twenty-seven days before our story began, she lost her first love in a climbing accident she can’t help but take the guilt for. She ran off to university to escape the grief, only going home for brief visits. And at university she has met someone, someone who she can potentially move on with. But when her brother and his husband adopt a little girl from China, Kat has to return home for several weeks to get to know her niece. This is when things take an unexpected turn. Kat feels an immediate and strange connection to her niece, Mai. This sends Kat spiraling on a journey through her own grief, the past, and the possibility of reincarnation.
Kat is an interesting character. At university, we see she is a science major and a very logical person but when faced with the possibility of the extraordinary she cannot help but delve deeper, for only in the unexplainable can the possibility of her love come back to her exist. This is a constant internal battle for Kat. Throughout the course of the book Kat tries to make these two sides coexist but in the end, either head or heart must win.
When it comes down to it this book is about grief and love. Kat constantly finds that everyone around her has an opinion on the correct and best way for her to heal. But Kat must find her own journey and being home will finally make her face the pain she ran away from, but with the extraordinary circumstances Kat finds herself in, her process of finding a way to live on takes unexpected turns that sometimes scare her family. This is an interesting love story because most of the love is remnants of loved ones that stay after death. Lisa has written an interesting psychological experience of this loss and love.
Lisa is herself a resident of Sheffield England, like her character Kat, and when she is not writing, she enjoys spending her time traveling and going on adventures. Over the past several years Lisa has published nonfiction books about different places and several books about herself and her life’s journey. This book is her first fiction novel.
This book was a quick and enjoyable read. In general, it was a fun read but of course, with subject matter like this, there were dark moments of pain and emotional breakdowns. The story was interesting a great read for those looking for romance, particularly when paired with supernatural or extraordinary circumstances. I look forward to seeing if Lisa delves more into the realm of fiction in the future.
By Lisa Manterfield
Kat Richardson isn’t running away from grief; she’s just hiding out in a gloomy Welsh university town until she’s sure it’s gone. Now, one year, nine months, and 27 days after the climbing death of her first love, Gabe, she thinks she’s ready to venture out into the relationship world again. And Owen–a cake-baking, Super Ball-making chemistry student–appears to be a kind, funny, and very attractive option.
But the arrival of Kat’s newly adopted niece, Mai, forces her home to northern England, where she runs headfirst into all the memories of Gabe she’s tried to leave behind–and discovers that Mai stirs up an unnerving feeling of déjà vu. Before long, Kat’s logical, scientific beliefs about life after death are in battle with what she feels to be true–that reincarnation is real and Gabe has come back to her through Mai. The question now, is why?
Taking on the topics of love, loss, and how we deal with grief, A Strange Companion is a twisted love triangle among the living, the dead, and the reincarnated.