The Things I Should Have Told You by Carmel Harrington – Review and Q&A (Blog Tour)


I’m over the moon to welcome you to my spot on the blog tour for Carmel Harrington’s new novel, The Things I Should Have Told You. Along with my review today I have a Q&A with Carmel!!


The Things I Should Have Told You


Carmel Harrington

Every family has a story…

But for the Guinness family a happy ending looks out of reach. Olly and Mae’s marriage is crumbling, their teenage daughter Evie is on a mission to self-destruct and their beloved Pops is dying of cancer. Their once strong family unit is slowly falling apart.

But Pops has one final gift to offer his beloved family – a ray of hope to cling to. As his life’s journey draws to a close, he sends his family on an adventure across Europe in a camper van, guided by his letters, his wisdom and his love.

Because Pops knows that all his family need is time to be together, to find their love for each other and to find their way back home…

Q&A with Carmel

What was the inspiration behind The Things I Should Have Told You?

I travelled a lot in my 20’s and early 30’s, Europe, Asia, Australia and the Americas. These travels have given me some of the best adventures of my life. And there’s no doubt that these experiences have helped to shape me into the woman I am today.Using all of these experiences, The Guinness Family came to life – a family who travel and how seeing the world from a new vantage point, can change them.

Do you have any writing rituals?

I write every morning once the children go to school. I have a desk in a room that doubles as a family den and my writing room. My desk looks out into our garden and it’s incredibly peaceful. My only ritual is that I must have quiet and a pot of tea beside me when I open the laptop!

Have you traveled Europe in a camper van? If so, which is your favourite place?

I have visited most of the countries mentioned in the story, but not in a campervan. However, as a child, my family spent many happy holidays caravanning and once, for a weekend, we even had a campervan at our disposal! I can still remember the excitement of seeing daddy pull into our driveway, telling us were heading off for the weekend. My siblings and I sat at the dinette table, charmed as we played sevens and snap, while daddy drove us to a camping site in Wicklow, with mammy navigating!

I always find it hard to pick a favourite place that I’ve visited, but Barcelona and Berlin both have a special place in my heart. I spent time there with my husband.

When I visited Normandy, France, like the Guinness family, I was deeply moved by the experience.

Are you in the process of writing a new novel?

Right now I’m just completing copy edits on 72 Derry Lane, which goes on sale in Ireland in Trade Paperback 1st June and then in the UK on 21st September. Once they are completed, I start Book 6. Exciting times ahead!

Do you listen to music while you write?

Not normally, but I do have a playlist compiled on Spotify, that I stick on every now and then, when I need inspiration or a quick break from words.

If you could have written any other book, what would it be?

Frank Baum’s The Wizard of Oz.

Do you have any advice/tips for new authors?

Yes, read every day, or at least a few times a week. I truly believe you can’t write if you don’t read and learn from other authors. Also, reach out to other writers for support. It can be a solitary profession if you let it. But writers are so friendly and accessible now – find your favourite ones on social media and start a conversation. I love to meet new readers on twitter and facebook.

Thank you so much Carmel for answering my questions!! I wish you lots and lots of luck with The Things I Should Have Told You!!

My Review:

This is a book with a great sense of adventure and a wealth of charm. it’s funny and has a warm will-make-you-smile quality to it. The characters are lovable and are a joy to follow. And, if you are traveller at heart, this book is will give you snippets of the beauty to be found within Europe. And what’s more, you get to experience these snippets with the Guinness family. This isn’t only a book about family and adventure. It’s a book about a journey to find something that was lost.

When Pops passes away, he leaves behind a troubled, splintered family: Husband and wife, Ollie and Mae, at each other’s throats. Their children, Ellie and Jamie, unhappy. Ellie hell-bent on pressing the self-destruct button and Jamie, grief-stricken over losing not only his grandfather but his friend too. Actually, Pops was a friend too all of them – listener, shoulder to cry on, comforter, head of the family. Pops’s family was once a strong, happy unit but now the edges of their unity has frayed. Cancer eating up his last few weeks, he buys a campervan and plans an adventure that he believes will give the connection between his family one last chance to pull itself back from the brink. Eight weeks travelling Europe. Eight weeks to get to know one another again. Eight weeks to recover what they lost.
The Guinness family set off on their adventure. What follows is 4805 miles travelled in their campervan ‘Nomad’ and numerous letters from Pops to guide them on their way.

I have to say my favourite character is Pops! How lovely that in his last few weeks, he is planning something to procure a happier future for his family and to have the foresight of knowing that an adventure will be the thing to do just that. So wise and selfless. What an amazing person!

This book not only makes us smile and laugh, it reminds us of the true meaning of what it is to have a family! It is a mighty fine novel!

With this book, you feel like you are going on the Guinness family’s adventure with them. This book touches on loss and bullying but maintains its, at times, very funny and overall up-lifting theme. I really enjoyed The Things I Should Have Told You. And the ending! Just wait – it’s brilliant!

Poignant. Tender. Up-lifting.

If you would like to buy The Things I Should Have Told You, here is the link

Follow Carmel Harrington on Twitter

Massive thanks to Jaime Frost for my review copy and for including me on this blog tour!


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