Review: Housing Elephants- Eleanor Lloyd-Jones


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syn“… And the greatest of these is love.”

Love is patient and kind… Its strength can build bridges and knock down walls. It can give people hope – a purpose. But there is a side to love that is unforgiving and cruel – a side to love that breaks hearts.

Love can suffocate, and love can turn to hate.

Billy Taylor meandered through life, only ever giving half. Ruled by his father’s grief, he gave up on his own dreams in a bid to keep life ticking along, desperately craving the unconditional love of his parents. It wasn’t until Eve Swallow fell into his life again, rousing his empty heart, that he dared to hope for a chance to live life on his terms.

Never quite good enough in the eyes of her overpowering mother, Eve kept herself locked away inside her own head, immersing herself in her passion for art and music, and doing anything in her power to avoid getting close to anyone. When she connected with Billy’s eyes, that still haunted her dreams after so long, fear kicked in, and all she could do was the one thing she was sure would protect her…

Run.

If two lost souls were to collide, and a love so deep was born, it would surely take a herd of elephants to tear them apart…

*Warning: Contains scenes that some readers may find upsetting*

review3/5 Stars

***I received this ebook as a gift in exchange for an honest review via the author.

+++Contains triggers: abuse and violence.

READ THIS BOOK IF:

  • You’re looking for a realistic romance with a hint of soulmates 😉
  • You want a book about heavy subjects without the graphics
  • You have a bulk supply of tissues on hand

Housing Elephants is about the terrible moments in life that we try to forget about, the very real and painful elephants in the room that can only be ignored for so long before they completely trample you. There’s plenty of heartache, agony, embarrassment, and disappointment but there’s also love-pure, honest love. 

PROS:

  • PTSD is accurately and potently depicted. Eve is intensely skittish and filled with social anxiety to the point that it hinders almost every aspect of her life, from going to university to expressing love for her best friend. She doesn’t know how to cope and in situations that are unpredictable she flips out and runs. The way she breaks down, trembles and flees are all the way her mind processes and protects itself from things that happened in the past that Eve has repressed. You feel every second of her confusion and fear; sometimes it’s hard to understand why she freaks out so badly but as the story develops, it starts to make sense. 
  • Heavy subjects like abuse, dementia, and addiction are all tackled without being especially abrasive or teaching a lesson. They are what they are and how they’re dealt with is the true issue. It’s what is unsaid and pushed aside that makes the greatest impact on our lives. Eleanor Lloyd-Jones does a fantastic job getting down to the harsh truths that each character has to face before they can grow up and move on from their pasts.
  • The way Billy and Eve see each other is beautiful. It’s like walking into a place you’ve never been and realizing that it’s your forever home. He’s her rock, her safe place, the kind and gentle savior she needs to bring her out of her shell and open her up to truly living. Eve awakens the passion that Billy had forgotten when his life went to hell. Between his father’s drinking and his mother’s dementia, he felt lost and sacrificed all of his dreams to make ends meet. Eve gives him hope for a better future, one full of sweet, no holds barred love. 

CONS:

  • The pacing is extremely slow and winded. Some of the activities, while realistic, are so mundane that the story drags. There are large expanses where nothing of note happens and most of the life-altering issues occur in the last 20% or so. 
  • I’m not sure that it was supposed to be a surprise or shocking reveal but there are so many clues that when the truth comes out it didn’t pack the emotional punch it should have. You wait the majority of the story for what you already believe to come out, to be spoken out loud and dealt with, and then a hazy cloud. What happened when Eve and her mother hashed it out? That’s a scene that would have added so much power and all we get it this smokey cloud of uncertainty and Billy wondering what’s going on. It’s a big, gaping, empty space that needed to be filled. 
  • The beginning of Eve and Billy’s relationship is amazing. The sheer attentiveness and patience he has trying to win her trust, how far they’ve come, and how much Eve has opened herself up are brilliantly written but by the end of the story, it feels like habit, not in the good way. Their romance gets a little lost.

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authRaised in a little village in North Wales, a fierce love of books and reading was instilled in her by her parents from a very early age, and she has vivid memories of reading secretly under the blankets with a torch for hours after lights out, often getting caught! She was blown away by The Borribles Trilogy – Michael De Larrabeiti at nine years old, and it was then that Eleanor Lloyd-Jones fell head over heels with the idea of imaginary worlds.

A persistent and professional daydreamer, something she still prides herself on being, she spent most of her early childhood inside her own head making up stories or scenarios, climbing trees, building dens or doing anything arts and crafty. Music also played a huge part of her young life. Growing up on The Beatles, U2 and Status Quo, her obsession with Top of the Pops and vinyl twelve inches grew into a love affair with music that has only grown and expanded over time: there is rarely a moment where music is not playing in her life, and in turn, rarely a time when she is not singing, even if it is in her head!

She had always thought she would write a book some day – it has been an ambition for as long as she can remember – and has always been told that she ‘has a way with words’. Over the years, she’s dabbled in the odd piece of prose, helped friends to write letters and résumés and prides herself on her hilarious lyrical genius when composing poems for friends’ birthdays! Life, however, got in the way and her dream was stored on the back burner as she put herself through university and started a family. It was only when she was nearing the ‘forty’ milestone that she decided it was time she got some of the ramblings and chatterings in her head down on paper.

A creative, guitar-playing mum of one boisterous, but pretty damn cool boy, she classes herself as a Yorkshire gal now after moving to Leeds when she was eleven. Eleanor works full time as a teacher, but grabs every spare minute she can to write; be it on the train, lunchtimes at work or foregoing sleep for an extra hour or two in the evenings. Her hope for the future is for people to fall in love with her characters as much as she does. Not a big ask really!

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