June novel by Julie Hamill – Out October 31, 2023 (Saron Publishers)
June is the highly anticipated final novel and part III of the trilogy in Julie Hamill’s 3-generation Life and Soul series. Life: as in the everyday life and struggles of a working class family and group of friends; Soul: As in the people they have lost, and if or how they are still ‘present’.
The trilogy takes place in Airdrie, Scotland during the periods of 1985 (Frank) 1989 (Jackie) and 1993 (June). Each story in Frank, Jackie and June weaves between character narratives of the strength of grief, the power of imagination and spiritual visitation; all set within the context of a classic kitchen sink drama.
Part III – Life
June is now seven years old and living with her mum, granddad and her mum’s new boyfriend. At school she notices her family seems different to what’s ‘normal’ and begins asking complicated questions about her real father. Struggling with answers, her mum, Jackie finally tells her that he is in prison, leading June to wonder if she’s ‘bad’ too.
Part III – Soul
Everyone around him says he’s unwell, but beloved priest Father Cleary is convinced he’s being visited by Frank’s wife, the late June McNeill, and she has brought some former parishioners with her. Disturbed by her eerie presence, he tries to run from his gift of sight, further into a fog of confusion.
The books are based on what people say to bring comfort into grief: ‘I was visited by a robin today, I think it was him…’ ‘I walked into a shop and our song was playing…’ ‘I could have sworn I heard her laugh…’ ‘I had such a vivid dream about them last night, as if they were there…’ ‘I felt a shiver when you said his name…’ ‘A white feather fell onto my lap, it’s a sign…’ ‘I can hear her voice in my head…’ ‘I thought I just saw them together…’
The novels examine whether there might be any truth in the coincidences seen and felt after someone close has died. The theme of love and loss is paramount, however there is much laughter in what Hamill describes as ‘the beautiful mundane’.
‘I wrote the series to comfort those in grief, and the words poured out through tears and laughter. It often goes unnoticed that love is found in the smallest moments of everyday life. The McNeills and their friends are an ordinary family who, sometimes without even realising it, get to experience the extraordinary’ – Julie Hamill
The on-sale date of Halloween is significant. The Celts believed that it was the night that the barrier between this world and the Otherworld became permeable. It is thought to be the night that deceased loved ones visit the earth as spirits or ‘souls’. A soundtrack is used throughout as an emotive tool to recall the era in the book with music dating from the 60s to the 90s, allowing readers to position exactly where they were at the time.
The novels have received immense recognition:
David Quantick, writer, EMMY winner, Veep: ‘A brilliantly written and emotional book full of wit and memorable writing. Funny, moving and full of unexpected twists.’
Andrew McGibbon, BBC Radio 4: ‘If you have ever lost someone close – these novels will take your breath away.’
Coronation Street actor, Julie Hesmondhalgh: ‘These books are so full of heart and everyday beauty. I was completely immersed.’
Jimmy McGovern, Cracker, Hillsborough, The Street: ‘A great slice of working class life.’
The Scottish Daily Record: ‘A love letter to Airdrie.’
Louder than War: ‘An emotional rollercoaster.’
5-star Amazon reviews:
‘A tour de force – poignant, funny and full of wonder, you’ll wish you were part of this Airdrie family.’
‘Scotland’s Roddy Doyle. The characters are so real they lift off the page.’
‘Cinematic kitchen sink drama.’
Listen to a playlist for June novel by Julie Hamill at Spotify
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