Blog Tour – June 2022 – Tasting Sunlight – Ewald Arenz

Another wonderful Orenda tour! But this isn’t crime fiction, unusually for you…

No, but I loved the book’s premise, and that’s what drew me to participating in the blog tour. It’s a German translation (Karen Sullivan from Orenda has a knack for tracking down foreign gems for our delight) about a troubled teenager, Sally, who’s walked out of the clinic where she’s being treated for eating disorders, and leaves the city for the country, where she feels she’s less likely to be bothered. There she meets Liss, a quiet 40-something farmer who enjoys peace, quiet, and hard work on the farm.

Having grown up on a farm, which my father and sister still work, I was keen to read the descriptions of the countryside, and I wasn’t disappointed – Arenz has clearly spent a lot of his life working outside, and his writing about the outdoors is highly evocative, not to mention downright beautiful.

So what happens – does Sally stay on the farm?

She’s a naturally cynical girl, but she slowly comes to trust Liss and understand she wants nothing from her, although Sally does some work on the farm to gain her keep, which she begins, to her surprise, to enjoy. She’s used to people always wanting something, or pushing her to do things she’s reluctant to do, so that relationship, coupled with the fresh air, the natural tiredness (and hunger!) that comes from physical work, is a revelation to her.

Slowly the relationship between the two women allow them both to heal – but really it’s the countryside, and the satisfaction of working in the open air, seeing weather – and seasons – change, plants growing until they can be harvested…all that is really the catalyst for healing.

And you were surprised the writer was male, weren’t you?

I was – due to the name being new to me, it’s only when I saw the picture below of the author that I realised it was a man writing. At the danger of sounding sexist – apologies if I do! – it’s really unusual to meet a man who can write about women, and the relationship between two women, and make it sound so real.

His writing about the countryside is truly beautiful – I don’t read about the countryside a great deal; I think it’s because I was brought up there (and couldn’t wait to get out, although I do have wonderful memories of watching – and “helping” – my father work – and by God did he work, and still does at 80 years of age!) But some of the writing here is so wonderfully descriptive and, as I said earlier, evocative, I was reminded of my favourite poet, Seamus Heaney, who I started reading for Higher English, and who was from a farming background too – and given that he is a Nobel Laureate, I don’t think I can offer higher praise!

So who would you recommend this book to?

I’ll be honest – anyone who enjoys good writing! It’s a beautiful book – one to savour, and perhaps mark favourite passages of yours for future reference. I’m gutted I don’t yet have a hard copy to annotate – and that’s something I rarely do, unless it’s a book I know I’ll keep, and go back to. I wouldn’t be surprised if readers also feel healed by the gorgeous descriptive passages! Just a wonderful book…

Do not miss this massive German bestseller – it’s utterly fantastic!

I would like to thank Anne Cater at Random Things TTours for inviting me on this blog tour, and Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for the eARC. That has in no way influenced my opinion, and this is an honest review.

Author Ewald Arenz

Check out the other wonderful bloggers’ thoughts on the blog tour!

BLURB: Teenager Sally has just run away from a clinic where she to be treated for anorexia. She’s furious with everything and everyone, and wants to be left in peace.

Liss is in her forties, living alone on a large farm that she runs single-handedly. She has little contact with the outside world, and no need for other people.

From their first meeting, Sally realises that Liss isn’t like other adults; she expects nothing of Sally and simply accepts who she is, offering her a bed for the night with no questions asked.

That night becomes weeks and then months, as an unlikely friendship develops and these two damaged women slowly open up – connecting to each other, reconnecting with themselves, and facing the darkness in their pasts through their shared work on the land.

Achingly beautiful, profound, invigorating and uplifting, Tasting Sunlight is a story of friendship across generations, of love and acceptance, of the power of nature to heal and transform, and the goodness that surrounds us, if only we take time to see it…

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