Round and Round by Terry Tyler is a novella with a hint of paranormal but its roots are firmly fixed in real life. Tyler raises the question of self-determination versus fate and in so doing reminds us that life is to be cherished as it comes with no guarantees.
Tyler’s protagonist, Sophie Heron is staring down the barrel of forty and faced with the realisation that her life hasn’t turned out the way she expected it to. Not all writers enjoy both skill and popularity but Terry Tyler manages to secure a foot resolutely in both camps. One of the reasons why her books are so appealing is the way in which she creates characters who we can all relate to. Sophie Heron is every woman, she’s dealing with authentic issues such as insecurity and uncertainty that we all, at some point in our lives, experience. Tyler has a real knack of being able to describe the everyday in a way that allows us to connect with it and live it along with her characters.
Round and Round is the third Terry Tyler book that I have read and each one has been infused with her warm, gritty humour. There is a light-heartedness to them which belies the series issues that are simmering beneath the surface. Round and Round is no different and readers are invited to reflect on the way, for most women, confidence is directly linked to appearance, especially weight. There’s also the loneliness and sense of loss that is inevitable as we get older and friends disperse. Most of all though Tyler asks us to contemplate what it is that makes a relationship healthy and enduring?
Tyler’s power as a writer lies in her ability to make it seem so effortless. In Round and Round, she adopts a conversational tone that draws the reader directly into the story, we can almost hear her warm, husky voice narrating it to us. The sheer readability of Tyler’s novels, however, shouldn’t distract us from the expert control she wields over the novella’s form. Employing a Christmas Carol style technique, she allows us to see Sophie’s life in the past, present and future and, in less assured hands, the story might not have flowed as naturally as it does.
What I like most about Round and Round is that, at its heart, it is an uplifting but cautionary tale urging us not to take our lives for granted. Sophie does not have the confidence to go after what she wants and throws in her lot with four men, each of whom represent something different. Tyler uses the men to highlight how the characteristics we think are important aren’t always the ones that make us happy. Lust, excitement, money and stability will only get us so far and true happiness maybe comes from friendship, acceptance and understanding.
The brevity of Round and Round makes it the perfect introduction to Tyler’s style and I have no qualms in recommending this or any other of her novels. She is a safe pair of hands, who comes with a guarantee of an entertaining, thoughtful and relevant read.