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Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Elizabeth Just 16 Blog Tour

If you read my Favourite Books of 2015, you might have an idea of the sorts of novels I usually read. Obviously, being an English Literature student, I have read a relatively wide-range of fiction, but as a general rule I tend to stick to chick-lit, beachy reads.When the email introducing Elizabeth Just 16 by Cecelia Paul dropped into my inbox, my interest was piqued, and I quickly signed up to the blog tour. Literature is a powerful tool, and used correctly it can help raise awareness for important, difficult situations. Cecelia Paul has done just that.

Elizabeth Appleton is a sweet and easy-going adolescent. But as she turns sixteen, she discovers something so devastating about herself that her whole world is turned upside down. Elizabeth has been born without a womb or a vagina and is diagnosed with MRKH, an unusual congenital disorder that affects the female reproductive tract. Frightened and confused, Elizabeth must struggle to understand how she can still be a girl but no longer a 'normal' one. As she questions everyone and everything around her - her burgeoning sexuality, her gender, her hopes for the future - Elizabeth must fight against the shame and betrayal she feels if she is ever to become the woman she has always hoped to be. In her first novel, Cecelia Paul, now a retired expert in MRKH, sensitively explores and illuminates this complex and often emotionally fraught medical condition, in order to raise public awareness of MRKH and to support those affected by it.


Written by Cecelia Paul, who spent over twenty years working in the NHS, within a specialist team, specialising in congenital disorders like MRKH. Now retired, and with a wealth of knowledge, Cecelia has been inspired to write her first novel dealing with this little-known syndrome, hoping to bring awareness and understanding into the public sphere, encouraging affected women to seek the appropriate support and treatment. Written in a sensitive manner, this novel highlights a delicate topic, that isn't well known. It's nice to see literature being used to portray an important message like this, and I think it was really nicely done. For me, it was the opening few pages that captured my attention, and I'm lucky enough to share it with you today.

"No, I'm not a fre..." She shot up in bed, woken by her own interrupted vehement cry of denial, and breaking out in a cold sweat and tremor. As she sat up, she could not stop shaking. She had been tossing and turning in bed all night, trying to sleep, trying to forget everything. It seemed in vain, until the exhaustion took over and she finally fell asleep in the early hours of the morning. She had not had a good night's sleep since she'd discovered the devastating revelation about herself. Her life, once stable and calm, had been turned upside down the last few months, and was in deep turmoil, It was even appearing in her dreams so naturally she thought it was just a bad dream. It had to be - at least that was what she wanted to believe, so she kept telling herself that "this is only a nightmare, it has to be". She'd never really had nightmares before, not ones that were so vivid in any case. And this was the worst nightmare she could remember. She fought really hard to forget it, but, however much she tried, she kept reliving the same nightmare. She was an intelligent girl, so she knew it was just not possible to have the same nightmare, night after night. Yet she could not stop nor control it. She felt totally shattered from it all, but even more worrying was that she was on the brink of an emotional breakdown from the overwhelming grief and sadness she was feeling. She felt weighed down by this heavy heart she was carrying, which further exacerbated her situation and the way she was feeling. She wished that her nightmares would stop but, of course, they would not, because they were not nightmares. They were real. Everything was real. Deep down, she knew it too, but she would not admit it. She just could not accept what was happening to her.

Intriguing right? I found I instantly sympathised with Elizabeth and wanted to hear more about her struggles. Learning about something so personal, and so unheard of. It was really wonderfully and sensitively done by Cecelia Paul.

You can find Elizabeth Just 16 on Amazon here.

Love Lexie

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