The World at my Feet by Catherine Isaac

The World at My Feet is a dual-timeline story split between the present day, and the late 1980s and early 1990s. Harriet, a foreign correspondent in the mould of Kate Adie, had travelled the world and reported on conflict and suffering, but was deeply affected on a personal level by the conditions inside the orphanages in Romania.

Ellie, an instagram influencer, posting about her garden as @EnglishCountryGardenista, is living in the granny annexe of her parent’s house, but suffers from agoraphobia and has not been outside the gate for a couple of years. Her parents are very supportive, but also worried about her mental health and her future. A new relationship makes her want to try again to overcome her fears.

Told from the alternating viewpoints of Harriet and Ellie, the past is gradually revealed, and we learn why Ellie is so troubled. The mental health issues and emotional problems are handled with great sensitivity and thoughtfulness. Ellie comes to understand that, with professional help and the love of her friends and family, she can move forward and try to lead a normal life.

I have read and enjoyed lots of other books by Catherine Isaac, and in my opinion The World at My Feet is her best yet. It is well researched, beautifully written and the characters are completely believable. I particularly liked her relationship with five-year-old Oscar, and how they were really helping each other.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for a digital copy to review.