Thursday 5 August 2021

Merry Go Round by Sarah Toll Blog Tour

 I've always liked a good romance. 

Not necessarily the typical boy meets girl, they fall in love and everything's all happy. More those ones that are all consuming, when the emotion of it all really takes over.

And this is what I felt with Sarah Toll's novel Merry Go Round. What I'd describe as a psychological romance, this is a novel that is dark in its nature, one that I felt utterly compelled to read.


Lily Montrose has endured a white-knuckle ride during her on-off affair with Nathaniel Deighton. She is sitting alone in a coffee shop when a brief but devastating call brings the whole thing to a crashing halt.

Fleeing her job and flat in London, she retreats to a farmstead on the shores of the north Devon coast to repair her broken spirit and regain her sense of self. Here she finds an unlikely soulmate in Adam, a somewhat homespun but handsome local with unexpected qualities.

As the months pass by, Lily begins to put her troubled past behind her and – despite harbouring the most intimate of secrets – her relationship with Adam deepens. But when Nat suddenly resurfaces, the malevolent merry go round begins to revolve once again, revealing the ugly truths that lie deep within Lily and unleashing a chain of events that will threaten not only her sanity, but everything she holds dear . . .

This story begins and ends with Lily and is appropriately told from a first person perspective.

Our protagonist is a thirty five year old woman who has in all honesty had quite a tough life. She has endured so much but still has the capacity to carry on regardless. I'll be honest, at the beginning I thought that she was much younger than she actually was. I think this might be down to her attitude, as previous tragedies that her perhaps made her nervous hadn't actually dampened her outlook.

What stuck out for me almost instantly was how the author allowed us to really get into Lily's mind and this for me made the story all the more tense.

Right from the beginning it is clear that Lily is mentally drained and she is forever trying to come up with coping mechanisms to help her get through each day.

When she leaves London (and her current toxic relationship) behind, her determination for a better life is clear. Could a move to the coast really make everything better?

Merry Go Round is no ordinary romance; set between 2017 & 2019 it is a piece of contemporary literary fiction which explores the complexities of the human condition, which -when combined with toxic relationships- forms an addictive and destructive lifestyle.

Dark and destructive. Obsessive.

That for me was the theme for a lot of the story.

I really felt for Lily, I was on an emotional rollercoaster right along with her. The title is entirely appropriate, a vicious cycle going round and round again and again. I wonder if the plot or the title came first?

The contents of Lily's mind were at times terrifying. Her own thoughts poisonous.

Merry Go Round delves deep into the idea of love and all of the complexities that go along with it. Is it healthy? Is it necessary? And just how many chances at love should one person get?

Love should not define us.

Merry Go Round is Sarah's first novel.

For a debut novel I was thoroughly impressed.

There is a real depth to this book, the descriptions really painted a vivid picture in my mind and without wanting to spoil anything for others, I was surprised at how well reality and imaginary were combined. A fine line between the two.

And although Lily manages to escape the confines of one destructive contact, she can't out run what's in her own head.

Merry Go Round is not your average romance novel, it is something so much more. And although brutal at times, it's a great read because it is so sincere in its delivery.

For more thoughts and insights into this gripping novel please make sure you follow the rest of the tour outlined below:


And if you like what you've heard, Sarah Toll has also written a poetry book called Built From Life if you'd like to have a peek at that too.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this fab review and for taking part in the tour. I loved reading your thoughts! x


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