Thursday 25 September 2014


Book review: One Step Closer to You by Alice Peterson

My edition: Paperback, to be published on 25 September 2014 by Quercus, 403 pages.

Description: After Polly ends her relationship with the father of her young son, Louis, she is determined to move on. All she wants is to focus on her job, her friends and to be a good mum. No more looking over her shoulder. No more complications…

Then Polly meets Ben.

Ben is guardian of his niece, Emily. They become close, with Polly teaching Ben how to plait Emily’s hair, and Ben playing football with Louis. Their friendship is unexpected. Polly’s never been happier.

But when Louis’s dad reappears in their life, all Polly’s mistakes come back to haunt her and her resolve weakens when he swears he has changed.

Will she give herself a second chance to love?


This is not the first novel I have read by British author Alice Peterson and it certainly won't be the last either. She has a knack for writing moving and thoughtful stories about strong women overcoming a big struggle in their lives. In this case that woman is Polly, a recovered alcoholic who sobered up after becoming pregnant.

After years of battling both herself and her family she has finally found happiness in her job and status of single-mum to five-year-old Louis, who increasingly starts asking questions about why he doesn't have two parents like most other children in his class. However, Polly is once more forced to face her past and all the problems she had to overcome when Louis' father makes a reappearance, demanding to become a part of his son's life once more.

To make matters even more complicated, Polly has recently become close to a fellow single parent by the name of Ben, who is the guardian of Emily, a little girl from Louis' class. They start out as just friends but as their relationship becomes more intense, both Polly and those around her start to question whether it is ever truly possible to be just friends with someone of the opposite sex.

Present day Polly was a joy to read about and I particularly loved her interactions with Emily and Ben, as the four of them made an non-traditional but very sweet almost-family unit. Ben was the male role model missing from Louis' life, and Polly knew her way with braids and other girly things that Ben was absolutely hopeless at.

Polly's journey that brought her to that point is immensely inspiring, because despite the troubles from her past (initially just alluded to and slowly unravelled in a series of flashbacks) and having to be a single parent to her son (which is not an easy feat in itself), she now works in a job she loves and is good at, and she has created a caring environment for Louis to grow up in.

All of this becomes even more admirable when it is revealed how much she struggled in the past and had to overcome to get to where she is now. And even though she has been sober for years, the desire for drink when things get tough never truly goes away, so Polly has to face her problems over and over again, while at the same time ensuring a safe and loving home for her son.

It isn't solely about Polly's complicated relationship to her son's father and Ben either, or even the fact that she used to be an alcoholic, there were quite a few shocking twists within the story as well, particularly surrounding Polly's family. As the reader only becomes acquainted with the difficult family dynamics through flashbacks, many of the revelations came as a real surprise to me and added an unexpected element of intrigue to the novel as a whole.

One Step Closer To You is a poignant book about addiction, romance and non-traditional families, but most of all it's an inspirational story of how one woman overcame her past to make a better life for herself and her child.

You can purchase the novel from Waterstones, or your own preferred retailer.

Would you like to know more about the author? You can connect with her online at:


Twitter: @AlicePeterson1


Many thanks to the publisher for an advance copy of the novel in exchange for an honest review.

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