“Helen and the Grandbees” – ‘Engaging and Uplifting’ – the Daily Mail

Buy Helen and the Grandbees here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=Alex+morrall&ref=nb_sb_noss

A little diversion for the blog today as my my novel “Helen and the Grandbees” based in south east London has just hit publication date…

It’s a different type of wrtiting from the reviews you’ve been enjoying at blackheath.london. It’s still got the same humour, but it tackles some more serious issues: 

‘Breathtaking and moving, Helen and the Grandbees is a novel that bravely explores themes of familial discord, race and love in modern Britain. It is a book that immediately gripped me, compelling me to keep turning the pages well into the night. Morrall writes with confidence, poise, and a sense of humour to match. At times heartbreaking and heartwarming, this is a novel readers won’t soon forget. A riveting debut.’ Awais Khan, author of In the Company of Strangers

Buy Helen and the Grandbees here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=Alex+morrall&ref=nb_sb_noss

Forgetting your past is one thing, but living with your present is entirely different.

Twenty years ago, Helen is forced to give up her newborn baby, Lily. Now living alone in her small flat, there is a knock at the door and her bee, her Lily, is standing in front of her.

Reuniting means the world to them both, but Lily has questions. Lots of them. Questions that Helen is unwilling to answer. In turn Helen watches helplessly as her headstrong daughter launches from relationship to relationship, from kind Andrew, the father of her daughter, to violent Kingsley who fathers her son.

When it’s clear her grandbees are in danger, tangled up in her daughter’s damaging relationship, Helen must find the courage to step in, confronting the fears that haunt her the most.

Other Endorsements

‘Authentic and tender’ Carmel Harrington

I loved how one Goodreads Reviewer has put it: At its core, this is a sad, heart-wrencher of a story, made even more so as details of Helen’s past are slowly, carefully revealed to us — but what made it such a good read for me was the fact that, at the same time, amidst the ugliness and terror that rule Helen’s life, it’s filled with so much hope and love. Stories like Helen’s, Ingrid/Lily’s, Aisha’s, and Ryan’s often fly under the radar in everyday life, but Morrall gently reminds us of the importance of compassion to others and to oneself.

‘Alex can write; she has a way, a bit like playwright Mike Leigh, of zooming into the tiniest, seemingly mundane physical details of a situation, and in so doing, conveying the complexity, circularity and pattern of relationship and emotion. There is a humanity and a realism about her writing that Is far from commonplace despite the fact that when you read about the people and situations in her storytelling, they are instantly recognisable. Helen and the Grandbees is unbearably sad but because Alex manages the seemingly impossible feat of introducing hope right from the start it is possible to read and read on, with curiosity and enjoyment.’ Dr Kairen Cullen, Writer and Psychologist 

Helen and the Grandbees is a sensitively told exploration of race, mental illness, forgiveness, domestic violence, homelessness, and poverty in 20th/21st century England. Morrall writes from the quirky, stream-of-consciousness perspective of Helen, who I quickly grew to care about, and who must confront her past and her fears when her grandchildren need her most.