The Rules of Seeing by Joe Heap
Winner of the Debut Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2019
When you make eye contact, when you hold someone’s gaze, it’s the closest thing to knowing you’re not alone in the world.
‘This year’s Eleanor Oliphant’ Claire Allan
After 32 years of living her life in the dark, Jillian Safinova – Nova to everyone, except her mother – is learning to see.
She can see that the sky is blue. And green. And grey. And a whole spectrum of colours, as changeable as her mood.
She can see that clouds are surprisingly solid.
And she can that Kate, a woman she’s only just met, is going to change her life forever.
Everyone is talking about The Rules of Seeing:
‘A tender, tense drama about love and the unexpected places you can find it’ Sunday Express
‘A quirky love story which promises to make you see the world in a completely new way’ Daily Mail
‘Joe Heap’s fascinating debut makes you think about the things most of us take for granted’ Good Housekeeping
‘An inspiring story of love, loss and friendship’ #1 bestselling author Catherine Alliott
‘It really made me re-evaluate how I see the world…outstanding’ Katy Regan, author of Big Little Man
‘A book that reveals the world in a different light and changes the way you see it…Extraordinary’ Sunday Times bestseller Miranda Dickinson
‘Startlingly, outstandingly good’ Benjamin Ludwig, author of Ginny Moon
When I was young I took my perfect eyesight for granted. Now, many years later I am a slave to my reading glasses. Without them, I literally can’t see much at all but could I ever really imagine what it is like to be totally blind? Not until I read this book. Don’t get me wrong I still have only a fraction of understanding, because, I have sight, but Joe Heap has taught me so much about this and other senses, and I am so grateful for that.
The main character in The Rules of Seeing is police interpreter Nova who was born blind. Her brother informs her of some new radical surgery which will restore her sight and she goes ahead with it. This is a scary and bewildering experience, as well as totally life-changing.
The other character Kate is dealing with a marriage that has turned abusive. She is sighted but strangely blind to how her life is changing. The two women meet in a hospital and form a friendship which leads to romance.
I loved Nova’s story it was fascinating to read about how a previously blind person suddenly sees life as a sighted one. Her character was bubbly, positive and incredibly intelligent. Unfortunately, I wanted more of this and was a little disappointed with the second part of the book, which lost its way at times.
I don’t want to give away too much of the plot but I will say that this was a completely thought-provoking and uniquely written debut novel. I will be very interested to see what we have in store from Joe Heap. One thing is for sure, he has a lot to live up to after writing this book.
Many thanks to the author, HarperCollins, and NetGalley for a copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly.