Welcome to my stop on the book tour for Maker Of Footprints by Sheila Turner Johnston!
‘Meeting him was easy. It was knowing him that burned bone.
Paul Shepherd is dangerous. He crashes into Jenna’s life like an asteroid into an ocean. Willful and exhausting, he stirs feelings that make her confront all that has kept her safe – and bored. Relentless and determined, he needs Jenna with a desperation that she does not understand. Jenna discovers that, although she can try to hide from Paul, there is nowhere to hide from herself. But he is married…
What do you do when you discover you are not the person you thought you were?
Jenna is perfectly content with her life. At 23, she is a student, close to her family, with a great boyfriend in Adam. Or so she thinks. When Adam introduces her to his brother, talented photographer, Paul, he makes her look at things differently, and despite herself, she realises that maybe she’s not so perfectly content.
On his part, Paul begins to face the fact that maybe his London socialite wife, Dianne, isn’t the woman for him after all. He thought he alone would be enough for her, but now that they’ve moved back to his Northern Irish hometown, they both begin to realise that he was wrong. As things between himself and Dianne turn sour, he can’t help but think about innocent, straight forward Jenna. Jenna, who seems to understand him.
But Jenna is a decent, moral and honest person, and she refuses to let herself fall for a married man.
It’s hard to find sufficient words to describe my feelings for this book. It floored me, completely unexpectedly. It’s not just your average boy-meets-girl romance novel, it has depth, warmth, and scenes that would pull at even the hardest heartstrings. It really is a beautiful book.
When I first received an invitation to join the book tour, it was the mention of the settings, particularly Donegal, that drew me to it. I have a lot of family from there, and spent some time there in my childhood, so it immediately caught my attention. I love to read books that are set in Ireland because they’re so much more familiar. The author describes the places so well that I was instantly brought back to when I visited them as a child. It really helped to immerse me in the story.
I also loved the characters, particularly Jenna. She’s a really relatable protagonist – trying to make her relationship with Adam work, while also finding time to study and do well in college, and fit in visits to her family. She tries to see the best in everyone, and sometimes pays the price for that. She feels betrayals deeply. I loved how she struggled with her feelings for Paul – she was so attracted to him, but refused to give into it because he was married – it was refreshing to read about and encounter such an honest character – and it was a true reflection of her personality that she would deny herself for the sake of someone else.
Paul is such a tragic character to me – coming from an unhappy childhood, all he wants is a family of his own, and to be enough for them, but he never seems to reach that goal. Dianne has an expectation of him to be the perfect husband, the man she quickly fell in love with and married, but when she realises that he’s not that person, it’s not enough for her. When he initially meets Jenna, he doesn’t think very much of her, but the more he gets to know her, the more he sees her true personality, and the more he becomes attracted to her. She accepts him for who he is, and he can open up to her in ways that he couldn’t with anyone else. His backstory was heartbreaking, and I was really rooting for him, especially towards the end, I really hoped that he and Jenna would get their happy ending.
Unfortunately, I can’t really go into too much more detail, for fear of giving away too much of the story. I would love nothing more than to say ‘Oh I loved this part’ and ‘I was so shocked when such and such happened’ but this is a book that deserves to be experienced first hand!
I will advise anyone who reads it to keep a pack of tissues to hand though, I was more than a little teary eyed by the time I closed the last page.
About The Author
Sheila Turner Johnston was born in west Cork, Ireland, and spent her childhood in different counties the length and breadth of the country, as the family moved wherever her father’s job took him. She attended Queen’s University, Belfast, and apart from managing to graduate against all her expectations, one of her best experiences was reading her poetry to an audience that included Seamus Heaney.
Sheila has won prizes for both fiction and non-fiction, and has written many articles for both local and national publications. She and her husband Norman founded the publishing house Colourpoint Creative Ltd, which is now owned by their two sons.
Thanks to Anne Cater, Sheila Turner Johnston and Colourpoint Creative Ltd for inviting me to take part in the blog tour for Maker Of Footprints, and for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.