A deeply affecting love story set in the gritty yet magnificent theatre world of 1970s London by the award-winning, bestselling Sadie Jones, author of The Uninvited Guests and The Outcase

Luke Kanowski is a young playwright: intense, magnetic, fleeing a disastrous upbringing in the North East. Arriving in London, he meets Paul Driscoll, an aspiring producer, and beautiful, fiery Leigh Radley, the girl Paul loves. Luke, Paul and Leigh set up a radical theatre company, living and working together, forging a connection in the smoky late nights of Chelsea’s run-down flats and damp rehearsal rooms above pubs, candlelit during power cuts, where a new generation of writers and directors is fighting for its place.

Nina Jacobs is a fragile actress, bullied by her mother and in thrall to a controlling producer. When Luke meets Nina he recognizes a soul in danger, and loyalty, friendship, everything he has fought for, is drawn into the heat of their collision. As Luke ricochets between honesty and deceit, the promise of the future and his own painful past, suddenly the fallout threatens to be immense.

Fallout is an elegantly crafted novel that brings us firmly into the psyche of romantic love, its sickness and its ecstasy. Goodreads


The first thing that needs to be said about this book is that it’s beautifully written. I picked it up intending to just read a couple of pages to see what it was about, and next thing I knew, I was halfway through it.

The book is told primarily from two perspectives. The first is Luke, the son of a Polish father, who is an alcoholic, and French mother who has been in an asylum since Luke was five. His father is largely absent (physically and otherwise), leaving Luke to find what company he can in books. It’s not long before he starts writing – scribbling furiously in notebook after notebook that he keeps hidden under his bed.

The second perspective is that of Nina, a fragile girl who was left by her father and her mother and raised by an aunt while pining for any small scrap of attention her flighty, fickle mother drops. So when her mother calls, beckoning Nina to come live with her, Nina immediately packs her bags and leaves behind her aunt and guardian – the much more stable and honestly loving parental figure. Her mother pushes her to fulfill her own dreams of being a successful starlet, while simultaneously tearing down every bit of self esteem Nina has.

Both broken in their own unique ways, these two characters nonetheless possess an innocence and  bright-eyed view of their futures that disarms and draws the reader in. I was enraptured for about 3/4 of the book, not wanting to put it down or do pretty  much anything other than read. I don’t want to spoil anything, so all I can really say about the ending is that it wasn’t what I expected.

This book will appeal to those who enjoy a character-driven plot, and explorations of the damaged psyches born of inconsistent familial backgrounds. The relationships are complex as are the individual characters, and the mistakes they make are at once realistic and heartbreaking.


Book Title: Fallout
Author: Sadie Jones
Series: No
Edition: Paperback
Published By: HarperCollins Canada
Released: April 29, 2014
Genre: Fiction, Drama, Coming of Age
Pages: 416

Date Read: August 10-14, 2014
Rating: 7/10 //<![CDATA[ var sc_project=10144299; var sc_invisible=1; var sc_security="82f610c9"; var scJsHost = (("https:" == document.location.protocol) ? "https://secure." : "http://www."); document.write("”); //]]>

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  1. M.

    This one is definitely all about the characters! I absolutely loved the first half or two thirds of the book. No spoilers, so I won't say any more – just don't want to oversell it. It wasn't perfect, but I found that the first bit was worth it!


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