Behind the Olive Trees is the sequel to Francesca Catlow’s poignant novel, The Little Blue Door. The follows Melodie on her continuing journey with Anton and Gaia. Francesca Catlow has created her characters with an insight and perception that is unique to her. These characters are complex and multi-dimensional, reflecting the reality and truth of the human condition.

Melodie is a likeable and engaging character yet she is flawed and imperfect, qualities which enhance her warmth and relatability. Catlow juxtaposes darkness and light, creating a sense of unpredictability and, at times, a feeling of danger. Melodie’s path is not linear. We share in her joy but we also share in her fear, her pain and her uncertainty. Behind the Olive Trees is a novel with depth. Catlow allows us to become immersed in these characters and view them as friends, yet she also presents us with new and unexpected aspects to the characters which prevents the reader from becoming complacent, keeping us on edge right to the end.

Catlow’s characters give the feeling that they are an extension of ourselves. They mirror our inner journey and remind us that life is not straightforward, simple or perfect; that we are transient and continually evolving.

Behind the Olive Trees is a masterpiece in its understanding of self-discovery and the path to finding who we are. Francesca Catlow is an intelligent writer and a genius in her ability to reach out to the reader through her characters. As demonstrated in The Little Blue Door, she is a writer who clearly has a deep insight and understanding of human nature, writing with compassion and depth about a range of human experiences.

Thanks to Alex Shewan for the FAB review

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