LITTLE WORLD By Anita M Hall
When Isobel flees an abusive relationship, she is left traumatised and with nowhere to go, so she doesn't hestitate when her friend, Annalisa, offers her the use of her family's Tuscan holiday home, and books the next available flight to Italy.
There in the safety and solitude of the Villa Rosa in Florence, Isobel makes a startling discovery - she is pregnant. Telling nobody of her condition, and uncertain of what to do next, she begins to write a journal to her unborn child, in an attempt to work through her mixed emotions and determine a course of action.
Following her journey from England to Italy and - ultimately - back again, the story charts the physical progress of Isobel's pregnancy, alongside her emotional transition from abused girlfriend to potential single mother.
Illustrated with her own pencil sketches, Isobel's diary entries are interspersed with the writings of one other person - Annalisa's brother, Guido - who also seeks sanctuary at the vila, following a painful divorce.
Through the weeks, months and milestones of pregnancy, Isobel discovers that relationships are far more complicated than she ever imagined, and that there are many different forms of love, from the twisted fixation of the abuser, to the easy kindness of friends, and the overwhelming emotional bond between parent and child.
Set between dramatic Florence and the traditional seaside resort of Brighton (and written in both locations), Little World is a celebration of pregnancy, life and love.
Its message is one that is both positive and inspirational: just as pregnancy creates
new life, so we all have the power to create our own futures.