Cover Image: The Ends of the Earth

The Ends of the Earth

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Member Reviews

Mary O'Connor spent the happiest six years of her life with Jim Whitnell.  She'd never known a love like theirs, and Jim always vowed he would go to the ends of the earth for her.  Then, one day, James simply disappears and every day for the next 7 years, Mary performs a daily vigil at Ealing Station, holding up a sign bearing the words, 'Come Home Jim'.  Then, along comes Alice, who through her growing friendship with Mary feels compelled to find Jim and uncover the truth behind his disappearance.  This book will warm your heart as it did mine.  The characters are all fabulous and the story is beautifully written.  

My review is on Goodreads, and has been posted to Amazon, pending approval.
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I really enjoyed this book.  It tells the story of Mary and Jim who meet and fall in love very quickly.  Mary leave Ireland to live in London with Jim until one day after many years together Jim disappears.  Mary then takes it upon herself to stand in Ealing Broadway station every night with a sign asking Jim to come home.   After going viral on social media she is helped by Alice, an aspiring journalist and her friends at a smaritans style call centre to find out what really happened to Jim. 
Really enjoyed the story.  I felt commited to all the characters and I enjoyed that they were all flawed in their own way but was still rooting for them.  This is my seocnd Abbie Greaves I've read and another great read.
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I really enjoyed this book and became really invested in most of the characters, all of whom have their own flaws. 
I don't think I could call this a romance but what it does do very well is cover the topic of mental health and depression in a very sensitive way, and who these issues affect those around you. 
Mary I generally liked as a character though she is very blinkered. Alice I warmed to more and found myself rooting more for her than anyone else.
Although the ending isn't necessarily what you'd expect from the start, I think it is the right one. Thanks to the author and Netgalley for my arc
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I never got around to reading Abbie Greaves' debut novel The Silent Treatment despite buying a copy so I was intrigued when a copy of her latest book The Ends of the Earth dropped through my letterbox. Just reading the blurb alone I had so many questions running through my head, in particular what had made Jim disappear and why was Mary still keeping a vigil after all of these years? These and so many more are answered in this emotional read that really struck a chord with me due to the sensitive topics that are explored within this book.  

When we first meet Mary she has been swept off her feet by a handsome stranger and before too long she is leaving her family behind in Belfast to start a new life in Ealing with Jim. For many years they lived an idyllic life, or so it seemed, but little do people know what is going on behind closed doors and the struggles that people live with on a day-to-day basis. Jim like so many men hides his emotions, it's a tightrope for them both not knowing whether each new day is going to be a good day or bad one. And then one day Jim disappears without a trace leaving Mary behind to pick up the pieces. 

Fast forward seven years and Mary is living a shell of a life, living in a run-down flat, working at a supermarket by day, keeping vigil at Ealing train station every evening before heading to Nightline where she volunteers answering calls from those in need. It's through the helpline that we meet the supporting cast that feature in this novel who are there for Mary but also have their own stories to tell. Ted, the manager of Nightline, Kit, one of the call handlers, and Alice, a journalist who is initially looking for a story to save her job but soon finds herself wanting to help Mary in whatever way she can, whether Mary wants her help or not. 

The story alternates between the present day in 2018 and dates in the past which gives us an insight into Mary and Jim's relationship from the day they first met to the last day they saw each other. The love they shared is clear to see but also it shows the effects that depression can have on those both suffering with it and those around them. Mary in particular wishes that their last encounter could have been different and has struggled to come to terms with everything that happened and hasn't been able to move on with her life. It's as if she is in a constant state of denial and refusing to accept that Jim doesn't want to come back. 

The road trip that Alice and Kit set off on brought some humour and light relief to the story despite the seriousness of their quest.  And we soon discover there's a reason why Alice wants to help Mary get closure, she too has had to deal with the issue of being abandoned, although in different circumstances, but it has had a deep rooted effect on her and affected her relationships with others around her. So is her quest to get answers really for Mary or for herself? Kit was my favourite character even though initially he was just in the background. He was the type of friend we would all want around us but like the others he had his own secret he was hiding. 

The Ends of the Earth is a heart-breaking, yet heart-warming, read with self-discovery, mental health, abandonment, friendships and relationships at its core.
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What a book. Learnt about life and love. I really resonated with this book and it will stay with me for a long time. I will be reading more from this author
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This book was beautiful, and heart breaking, and emotional.

It covers the topic of mental health and depression in a very sensitive way, and it also highlights not only the effects of these mental health issues on the person suffering from them, but also the impact that these conditions have on the lives of all around them.

The characters are likeable and relatable and I found myself turning page after page to find out where Jim went and why he left.

This was a wonderful read.
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A heart-warming read.  I really enjoyed this book, it made me both laugh and cry.  This certainly is a thought provoking read and deals very sensitively with the issues of Mental Health.
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A thoughtful, romantic contemporary novel can often stir up a wealth of emotions and sometimes I’m just in the mood to feel something. 

Mary O’Connor has been keeping a vigil for her missing partner Jim every night for seven years at Ealing Broadway train station. Amongst the commuters, she silently sits and pleads for Jim to come home to her. Then a phone call arrives at the mental health helpline that she volunteers at and Mary is forced to confront what happened seven years ago and the answers to her questions.

Mary creates these beautiful maps and I loved how maps kept cropping up in the novel. Maps come in various forms but they all show us the possibilities of the world. As well as the physical maps that Mary makes, the book also alludes to the idea that our lives are also maps. They show us where we’ve been, where we could go and the possible ways to getting to where we need to be. Jim is somewhere on the map and I think it’s this that Mary holds on to.

The book also raises a lot of questions about the nature of viral videos. How often are the subjects of the hilarious or shocking videos OK with the way they’re portrayed? It’s perhaps not a question that is often asked but Mary’s deep shame and fear about being splashed all over the internet forced me to really think about it. I really hope that I remember to keep kindness and empathy at the forefront of anything I watch.

Alice is a journalist about to lose her job at a local news outlet unless she pulls something amazing out of the bag. She is incredibly tenacious and actually quite ruthless, which are excellent traits for a journalist, but it meant that I really didn’t like her! Alice becomes fascinated with Mary’s story after seeing the viral video and becomes convinced that finding Jim will be the big scoop that she needs. So, she befriends Mary and even starts volunteering at Nightline with her to find out more info. When Mary learns of Alice’s plans, she warns her off the search and yet… Alice ignores Mary’s pleas and proceeds with the search and piece anyway! She tries to convince herself that it’s in Mary’s best interests to get answers but I was constantly screaming at her to respect this vulnerable woman’s wishes. However, Alice isn’t painted as a villain, so I’m not sure that I was supposed to dislike her as much as I did!

There are chapters that detail the progression of Mary and Jim’s relationship. It’s wonderfully pure and romantic and they clearly adored each other. I really got the sense that they connected on a very deep level and that they would have done anything to be together. Their relationship is obviously mutually beneficial and there are a lot of healthy aspects to it. It was at these points that I desperately wanted there to be a beautiful reunion at the end of the book.

However, their relationship is blighted by the darkness of mental illness. As soon as I began to realise that Jim was ill, the possibiities of what could have happened started to materialise. Loving someone with depression can be really difficult. I say that as a depression sufferer myself. I know that on the bad days, there is very little to love about me and it takes a very strong, dedicated soul to see through it. Mary has a desire to ‘fix’ Jim simply by loving him and when she inevitably fails at that, her own self-esteem starts to crumble. This is such a heartbreaking and real phenomenon that I know so many people will relate to.

Of course, many people may have considered whether Mary pushed Jim away. The idea that when a grown man disappears, it’s by their own choice and that they’re always perfectly capable of coming back when they want to, is a common assumption. Naturally, reasons for them leaving nearly always come back to an unstable, unhealthy relationship, probably with a woman. The lack of urgency in looking for missing young, adult men is a frustration of Mary’s and it’s certainly an attitude that needs to change.

‘Some people see what they want to see.’

The Ends of the Earth is a devastating portrait of the realities of living and loving someone with a mental illness. It’s also an epic, relentless story of a love that just keeps going and going. The eventual reveal of the truth felt like a little bit of a betrayal to Mary and her resilience but at the same time, I could understand why certain choices were made. It’s an emotional read that manages to achieve a calm closure but with a few frustrations dotting the edges.
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A sad story told sensitively considering the very difficult issues involved. I found the whole thing rather too padded out though so it wouldn’t be on my favourite to recommend list I’m afraid.
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Abbie Greaves gives us the heart-breaking story of Mary, who for the past seven years has kept vigil at Ealing train station with the sign ‘Come Home Jim’. When Alice, a journalist also carrying the trauma of abandonment, meets Mary, she is determined to find her answers...and possibly even Jim. 
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Greaves jumps between Mary’s perspective of then (meeting Jim) and now  (meeting Alice), and Alice’s perspective of now. It is written in simple, and gentle writing in third person...nothing is heavy or complicated other than the themes.
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We are endeared to Mary, with her huge capacity to love, and bear the burden and responsibility for looking after Jim. I did feel that there were characters that needed more time, Ted and Olive felt like extras and needed a few extra dedicated pages to bring them to life.
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There are difficult subject matters covered in this novel, and I will include warnings for the following potential triggers: abandonment, mental health, and alcoholism.
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There is a particular focus on mental health, and those living and supporting others with mental health issues. I did think this was sensitively handled, and I also felt there were some beautiful messages in here.
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At times, I did think that there were some strong clichés and eye roll moments...and also felt that some of the fairly predictable elements took a little too long to play out. I think these elements were to soften the heavier, deeper elements, but I think it added a few too many pages and glossed over some of the themes that perhaps needed to be a little heavier.
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I would like to thank @Netgalley and Random House UK, Cornerstone for an eARC of this book. I did enjoy this book, and hope we see more of its kind that explores mental health within a wider plot. I think with the sensitivity of theme and trigger handling, the intriguing characters and plot, an ‘unlikely’ (so unlikely its completely obvious) romance, and the searching for Jim (and yourself with it) road-trip...I could quite easily visualise this as a Netflix series and hope somebody spots this potential.
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To the Ends of the Earth is a story that will capture the reader's heart, pound it into mush, then rebuild it.

It tells the story of Mary who has put her life on pause for almost seven years - since the day her beloved Jim disappeared from her life. Every day she stands at Ealing Station holding a sign 'Come Home Jim'. Their story is told as we move forward and back in time and it's heartbreaking to see how Jim's depression destroys something so good.

When local journalist Alice stumbles across Mary on a twitter post, she is determined to find Jim, and provide some answers to allow Mary to move on with her life. Alice herself knows what it is to be abandoned.

With plenty of twists and turns, this book will hold the reader's atrention from the beginning. I would have liked a little more detail of how Jim's depression affected him as I'm fascinated by the complexity of mental ill health, but overall this was a sensitively written examination of life, love, family and friendship.
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Abbie Greaves has done a wonderful job in ensuring I believed in the love story of these two and rooted for them completely.

Only to break my damn heart.

With a placard that reads ‘Come Home Jim’, Mary keeps vigil for Jim every night at Ealing Broadway station. And she has done for the past seven years. While she is invisible to most, Alice, a journalist at the Ealing Bugle, sees her. Over a drink, Mary shares the story of her and Jim and Alice takes it upon herself to find Jim and bring him home.

Mary’s hopefulness, dedication and resolution only makes this story that much more heartbreaking because she is absolutely convinced that their love will be strong enough to bring Jim back to her. But as their story pieces together, it is so clear that it won’t be as simple as that.

Greaves has done a great job in creating Mary because while all her characteristics make her a dedicated and loving partner, her little knowledge of mental health issues create a very realistic person. How many of us that don’t suffer from mental health issues can honestly say that we are equipped with tools to support our loved ones who are? 

My biggest take away from Greaves’ work is that male mental health continues to be a topic that needs to be discussed more. More deeply. More Often. More openly.
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Loved this book, it was so beautifully written and both up lifting and heartbreaking. Thank you so much for the arc
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Mary has been holding a vigil at Ealing Station since the love of her life Jim disappeared without trace. Her plea is Come Home Jim. Where is he and why did he disappear? Is she to blame. The story evolves, initially slowly, but goes on to hold you in its thrall with their relationship and Jim’s mental health issues. A warm story looking at a difficult subject and one much in vogue today regarding men’s mental health issues
Excellent portrayal of characters keeps this alive
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I loved Abbie Greaves first novel so was excited to read this. A great debut does however create pressure for the follow up to be even better. So did this one hit the mark?

Clearly I'm a bit of a romantic at heart as I loved the premise of this book - Mary loves Jim so much that every evening she stands at the tube station with a sign begging Jim to come home. As I got to know Mary, I had to wonder why would Jim leave her? What could cause someone to walk out on what appears to be a happy relationship with someone who will go to the ends of the earth - or Ealing! - for you.

The novel is written from the perspective of Mary, who is keeping vigil for Jim, and Alice, the journalist looking for a front page story to keep her from redundancy. It would be easy to view Alice as a vulture, just interested in the story but the author has created believable and likeable characters in both Mary and Alice, despite their flaws.

The author weaves a wonderful tale jumping between Mary's past and Mary and Alice's present. I desperately wanted to know if Jim would come back. Along with the theme of loss, the book touches on mental health too, a subject we need to be discussing more - and both themes are handled well.

I won't give the ending away but I will say that the ending rounded off the story well. I wasn't left feeling disappointed or feeling that the ending had been contrived just to tick a box. Another great book from Abbie Greaves - but I think The Silent Treatment remains my favourite ever so slightly!

Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.
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This was a sad read full of emotion and many tear jerking moments. The characters are so well described and it was easy to relate to them as real people. The descriptions of the scenery was vivid and as a reader I felt that I could picture each scene. Mary was such a lovable if not confusing woman and it was very easy to understand her behaviour. I especially loved the climax at the end.
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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?

I really enjoyed this book, it’s full of heart and covers some really important topics in a subtle but striking way.

I was rooting for all of the characters and willing them to open up and share with each other. A really good read!
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I loved this book and found it very emotional especially near the end.  Mary is from Belfast, and feels it is her duty to help support her family so she gets a job in a local hotel as an events organiser.  Jim, from London, is there on a work trip and they meet.  They experience a spark straight away and embark on a love affair for life......or is it?

Suddenly after 7 years Jim leaves without telling Mary where he is going.  Since then, she waits with a sign each evening outside Ealing station.  She wants him to know she is his safe haven.  She also volunteers at a night line for people who need to talk or who are feeling suicidal.  

Alice, a journalist hears of Mary through a youtube video of her taken at the station and reaches out to her wanting to hear her story.  

This is a well written book with great characters and good chemistry between them and it is definitely one to read.
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An emotionally charged, poignant and heartbreaking story that kept me reading.
I cried, I felt for the characters, I couldn't put it down.
It's highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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This is a novel which will swallow you up, heart and soul, and leave you feeling just a little bit wiser.

Mary O'Connor doesn't expect much from life but what she wants most of all is to find her first love who disappeared seven years ago. Each evening she heads to Ealing Broadway Station to stand among the day's travellers with a sign bearing the words 'Come Home Jim'. Her life is on hold. Will finding out the truth finally bring closure for Mary?

I read .. a LOT, but I'm not sure I've ever come across a novel quite like this before. It is a gentle, tender and touching tale which easily got under my skin. As the story unfolds, told both in the present and the past, I got pulled further into Mary's life and her pain was palpable. Getting to know about her daily routine, living situation and her friends felt like a privilege and a pleasure. The author has produced a beautifully planned, intriguing novel with a very different ending to the one most readers would expect and it is an impressive, heartwarming tale which made me really care about the outcome. It's been a real delight to read and, as such, scores a perfect five stars.

My thanks to the publisher for my copy via NetGalley; this is - as always - my honest, original and unbiased review.
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