Cover Image: The Ends of the Earth

The Ends of the Earth

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Member Reviews

This started off well but I did start to lose patience with the character of Mary by the end. Seven years is a ling time to ignore a major truth, no matter how unpalatable and it all seemed a little silly. Alice and Kit were much more interesting than Mary and Jim, and I would have liked more about them both. It was well written and neatly packaged but not quite for me.
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Abbie Greaves gives us a book that touches on lots of emotional subjects.  It's a love story and so much more! Jim, the love of Mary's life, went missing 7 years ago and since then she's been at Ealing station every evening with her cardboard "Come Home Jim" sign.  Told in dual timelines this often heart-string tugging story deals with love, loss, grief, mental health issues and the value of friends and friendship.  I enjoyed this well written book and think it would make an excellent choice for a book club read giving rise to plenty of topics for discussion.  Having also read and enjoyed Abbie's first book "The Silent Treatment" I look forward to many more.
Thanks to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for an arc of this book.
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Mary holds a vigil at Ealing station every day, holding a sign 'Jim come home'. She has held the sign, without fail, for seven years. Jim was her partner, her soul-mate, and she was his 'Safe place'. Jim has disappeared, without trace, him Mary's life has been put on hold....What if someone finds him though? 'Without the crushing lows how can the soaring highs mean anything at all'..
A  tale about love and Mens mental health .
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I enjoyed this book - I like that it didn't go where I expected it to, and I thought that it was quite a realistic portrayal of not being able to let someone go. I think anyone who like The Silent Treatment will love this!
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A heartfelt story about love, loss, mental health and moving on. I think the characters were lovely and relatable and I enjoyed reading about them.
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Mary has been keeping a vigil every evening for seven years outside of Ealing Station, she stands in the same spot holding a sign which simply states “Come Home Jim”. The Ends of the Earth by Abbie Greaves follows Mary as she is finally forced to address what actually happened to Jim and finds the strength she needs to come to terms with his disappearance. The story is told through a dual timeline, one in the present day and the other from the beginning of Mary and Jim’s relationship, which was well managed and revealed the story steadily until its conclusion. At a first glance, their relationship was perfect, they were blissfully happy and there seems to be no reason as to why Jim disappeared years ago. But as with all relationships there can be a lot more complexity than first appears to an outsider and sometimes to those within as well which Mary begins to realise. 

Having yet to read Abbie Greaves debut novel, I fully expected this to be an entertaining, light-hearted romance novel, but I was surprised and pleased to discover that it has a lot of depth to the characters and their situations. Most importantly, this story addresses some sensitive issues as well the importance of raising awareness of men’s mental health which I’m sure will identify with many readers. Overall, I really enjoyed this book, but not for the reasons I had initially expected. It has been beautifully written and it carries a strong message of hope, acceptance and forgiveness in both ourselves and those we love.
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Blurb

Mary O’Connor has been keeping a vigil for her first love for the past seven years.

Every evening without fail, Mary arrives at Ealing Broadway station and sets herself up among the commuters. In her hands Mary holds a sign which bears the words: ‘Come Home Jim.’ 

Call her mad, call her a nuisance, call her a drain on society – Mary isn’t going anywhere. 

That is, until an unexpected call turns her world on its head. In spite of all her efforts, Mary can no longer find the strength to hold herself together. She must finally face what happened all those years ago, and answer the question – where on earth is Jim?

My Thoughts

Having not read Greaves’ debut novel, I went into her latest – The Ends of the Earth– pretty blind.

Greaves creates characters- particularly in Mary and Jim – who appear to be one thing one the outside but, when you truly get into their characters, you realise (as the characters themselves do) that there is so much more to them. Mary is beautiful, caring and ambitious but – in the present day – she is tortured the unknown fate of her first love, Jim, and lets the public know through a heart wrenching nightly vigil. Jim, similarly, is known as beautiful, loving and successful but he has feelings he just can’t shake.

I could easily have read the story of Mary or of Jim but the sickly sweet, slightly cliche first meeting and subsequent love story between them was a captivating read. I can read slow burn romances but I think nothing appeals to me more than a romance that is quick, allowing the reader to truly observe the romance without much time to digest other stuff. My heart soared when they shared their first meeting and I loved the softer, private moments between them. I also really appreciated how, through more serious topics like alcohol issues and loss, Greaves illustrated obstacles and changes in a relationship and this allows us to see a different side to characters we think we know.

As much as this book is about Mary, it’s also about the people that help her find Jim – from Alice, an aspiring journalist whose job is at stake, to her colleagues at Nightline. I initially assumed this story would only follow one character but – whilst I was more interested in Mary’s side of the narrative – The Ends of the Earth follows a community of people racing to help one woman, which isn’t something you read (or see) every day.

My only problem with this book was the fact that it felt a little bit anticlimactic, as you spend half of the book trying to answer the question where is Jim and why won’t he come home, then – when everything is pieced together – I don’t think you get the resolution you might expect, even though the ending was a lot more hopeful than I expected.

Regardless, The Ends of the Earth is a captivating contemporary novel about first love, male mental health and people coming together.
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Mary and Jim meet at a wedding and fall in love. 6 years later Jim goes missing and Mary spends every night at the tube station with a sign waiting for him to come home. 
The story follows Mary and the people she comes into contact with as they try to find Jim. 
Really brilliant book which I read in one day!
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Mary and Jim have been together for six years. they have had their ups and downs but when Mary returns from a night away with her Mam, Jim has disappeared. 
No-one knows where he has gone and for seven years Mary stands outside Ealing station with sign '" come home Jim" but he doesn't. 
By day Mary works at a supermarket and after her stint at the station she works taking calls from people who need to talk. Then she receives a call which will change her life.
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This is a tale of May and Jim who seem to be perfect for each other. It was a good storyline but at times sad. I enjoyed reading the book which was set in two different timelines and touches a great deal on friendships and difficulties therein. It some aspects the story was a little far fetched but it’s touching on mental health was a good idea. The ending- I leave you to decide. Thanks to NetGalley for ARC.
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This book was not what I expected when I started it and I am left with a sense of wonder! Whose story was this in the end? Mary, the abandoned girlfriend who has held a vigil every night for 7 years in the hope that her missing boyfriend, Jim, would return to her loving arms? Or was is Jim's story - a man missing for a good proportion of the book. He is a captivating character who seemed to live life in the moment - so why would he simply disappear? Would he ever be found alive? Would he return? Could he return? And then there was the unexpected story of Alice who is secretly investigating Jim's disappearance and the disarming character of Kit...

So many characters had a story to tell and troubles that they hid and avoided confronting. I'm not sure that even by the end I ever really knew any of them, really. But then in life do we ever really know each other? Even those closest to you may hide deep secrets and doubts. Mary is so many things to so many different people: her Ma, Jim, his parents, her co-workers at Nightline, even to herself she does not seem to be true!

I loved this book and will return to those characters and their hidden 'selves' time and time again. I do feel that Alice's arrival at Nightline and her subsequent investigations were a little forced and sudden - perhaps they needed a little more backstory or fleshing out, so as to not to make her new co-workers more suspicious of her motives. However, this is a minor gripe in a wonderful piece of story-telling.
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I was really looking forward to reading this book. It held my interest to begin with but then I found it rather slow going and just couldn't connect with the characters.
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4.5★s
The Ends of the Earth (also titled Anywhere For You) is the second novel by British author, Abbie Greaves. For nigh on seven years, Mary O’Connor has stood, with a cardboard sign, for hours, virtually every night, at the gates of Ealing Broadway Underground, watching for one man. Mary’s not begging, not some old bag lady: she works days at the SuperShop; she volunteers at NightLine, the crisis call-centre; she’s well-groomed; and she’s beautiful. Her sign pleads “COME HOME JIM”.

One day, though, she loses her composure. She’s had a call at NightLine, and she’s sure it’s Jim. In the crush of the crowd at the station the next evening, her vocal eruption (‘WILL YOU GIVE ME SOME FECKING SPACE TO BREATHE!’) is captured on a phone and trends on Twitter. Junior investigative journalist at The Ealing Bugle, Alice Keaton witnesses Mary’s distress and offers comfort.

Usually reticent about her personal life, Mary opens up a little to Alice, revealing her anguish about Jim’s unexplained departure, seven years earlier, and her pledge to be there when he decides to return. Alice wonders why anyone would leave this beautiful, caring woman? Without disclosing that she’s a reporter, Alice vows to do all she can to find Jim, both for Mary’s sake, and because a front-page story like this will quash her looming redundancy.

Alice volunteers at NightLine, meets the rest of the team, and sees Mary home in the aftermath of another call from Jim. It gives her the opportunity to glean more information about the mystery man who has inspired such dedication in Mary. Alice has her own experience with a missing person, but a trek across the country all the way to the north of Scotland with NightLine volunteer Kit, chasing sightings of Jim, is the last thing she expected to be doing.

The story is presented with a dual timeline: the present day (2018) follows the progress of Alice’s search for Jim; the past details the romantic start, in 2005, to a love affair that at first seems idyllic. Gradually, though, the edges fray and reveal “a picture of Jim’s life that was more complex and troubled than the image presented through the lens of Mary’s adoration.”

“Mary suddenly realised that she’d been so swept away by Jim, their chemistry and the brilliance of him, that she hadn’t had the chance to assess the pedestal she’d strapped him to, the nicks and notches that made him as flawed as everyone else.”

Greaves is skilled in her portrayal of those stuck in the denial stage of grief, when acceptance is too painful a next step to take. She also highlights the terrible stigma attached to mental illness and the psychological burden that the pressure from expectations of family, friends and colleagues can exert, particularly for men: “Why must the world make men so . . . guarded? It is to their detriment.”

Greaves gives the reader believable characters, appealing for their very human flaws, some delightful romance, and a mix of promising and bittersweet but realistic endings. A heart-warming and thought-provoking read.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Random House UK Cornerstone.
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Relationships . . . and the paths they may follow.

‘The Ends Of The Earth’ is a tale about relationships . . . and the paths they may follow. It is primarily about Mary and Jim, who certainly seem to be perfect for each other.

Nevertheless, Jim had been trying to deal with his hidden demons and, like some men was unable to discuss his feelings with Mary. One day Jim had had enough and just disappeared! Imagine Mary’s shock when she came home from work only to find that Jim had packed and left, not even leaving a note!

Mary was brought up in Ireland and for the past few years had given up everything to share her life with Jim in Ealing, West London. As Mary was dedicated and loyal to her relationship with Jim, she decided to go to Ealing Broadway station each day and held up a banner saying, “Come home, Jim.” This certainly attracted plenty of attention, especially from Alice, a budding young journalist.

The tale moves through different timelines. . . Then and now. Many other characters are involved in the quest to find Jim. Most of them work in a call centre, helping people with mental health issues. 

It is good that Abbie Greaves has written about the sensitive topic of mental health, but I did feel that it dragged in places and didn’t always hold my attention. I think that it may appeal to some readers, but not especially to me! I prefer something more upbeat.

Galadriel.

Elite Reviewing Group received a copy of this book to review.
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A great read, really heart-warming.  It had great characters that really resonated with me. The story was so lovely and left me with a smile on my face. I highly recommend this book.
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Beautiful, just absolutely beautiful!! I became so invested in these characters that I didn’t want the book to end. I want to know what they all did after the end of the novel. That is a high compliment from me.
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An interesting concept, but one that, for me, sadly failed to live up to it's potential. I was initially drawn in by Mary's story, and her daily vigil for the man she's searched for for seven years. However, it soon became rather monotonous, and sadly I struggled to engage with any of the characters. My overwhelming emotion was one of sadness that Mary had put her life on hold for so long, and I couldn't really understand why she did if I'm honest, as the sections depicting the early days of her romance with Jim were quite flat and lacking in terms of emotional connection. It's very much a character led book, and as such it became a bit of a drag given that I didn't really connect with Mary. I continued to read on because I wanted to know the truth about what happened to Jim, and I was rather underwhelmed at the grand reveal. While there were some lovely moments in this book, I personally struggled to connect with it, and as such it is not a book I can recommend. 

Disclaimer - I was fortunate enough to be provided with an advance reading copy of this book by NetGalley and the publisher. This has not affected my review in any way, and all opinions are my own.
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Wasn;t as good as i thought it would be, i dnfd this at around 23%. it did not grip me. I may try it at a later date though to see if my feelings change.
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To be honest it did take me a while to get into the storyline but once I did so it was a very sad but enjoyable read.  Great characters about love and friendship I felt as though I knew them and I found it to be a well written satisfying book.

Not my usual genre but I can thoroughly recommend this book.

Thank you to Netgalley and Random House (Cornerstone) Publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book.
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I’ll admit that I struggled with this book to begin with because the character of Jim annoyed me. I’m so glad I stuck with it though as it turned into a wonderful read with some lovely characters. The topic of male mental health has been sensitively dealt with in this book in my opinion and I would recommend this to a friend without hesitation.
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