Today dear readers I am honoured to be kicking off the blog tour for The Love Virus (Published 17th April 2020) By Eleni Cay. A big thank you to the author for my copy to review, always appreciated. The e-book can be downloaded for free from all major retailers. If you can afford to donate, please consider donating to Overcoming MS or a charity of your choice. Thank you.
Also thank you to Fly On The Wall Press for the invite to take part, always a pleasure to work with.
The Love Virus
When Katie finds out that her increasingly unresponsive legs and extreme fatigue is due to Multiple Sclerosis, she rides an emotional rollercoaster – anger, denial and fear – when faced with a wheelchair-bound existence. She puts her studies at Oxford on hold, and she splits up from her fiancé, Mark, even though she still loves him. While undergoing treatment, Katie is diagnosed with MS2 – a virus that paralyses the mind. In hospital, Katie has to cope with her irritating bedfellows who argue constantly, and where she is treated by Dr Andrews, a handsome psychologist. The closer she gets to him however, the worse her pain becomes. Compounding Katie’s struggle is Mark, who returns to her bedside day after day. Once Katie begins Dr Andrews’ new experimental MS2 treatment, Mark can’t recognise her anymore. He begins to wonder if Katie will ever be cured.
About The Author
Eleni Cay is a Slovakian-born poet living in Norway. Her award-winning first collection was published by Parthian Books and her second poetry collection ‘Love Algorithm’ is forthcoming by Eyewear Press. Eleni’s debut novel ‘The Love Virus’ was published in spring 2020.
Imagine waking up one day and no longer being able to feel anything below the waist. Your legs are deemed useless as you suddenly find yourself wheelchair-bound and your life is put on hold as you stare at your diagnosis. It would mess with anyone’s mind. We follow Katie as she is faced with this very predicament. Not only does she have Multiple Sclerosis but she also has MS2, a virus that paralyses the mind. As she prepares to undergo treatment she has to delay her studies at Oxford and breaks up with her fiancé, Mark. Dr Andrews charms and convinces Katie to try his new experimental MS2 treatment the Andratalia pill saying it is the only way to cure her illness. Katie agrees as she is desperate to escape the land of disability, the land ruled by the black Rooster. What she finds and discovers on the island of Andratalia changes her, forever.
This lyrical prose book was a different, enjoyable experience to read. The narrative switched from Katie’s point of view in the present and past to being inside her mind when she took the pill. At times it flowed before quickly shaking awake from Andratalia island or re-living a flashback to laying in a hospital bed. It was interesting and allows readers to fully immerse themselves into the mind of someone who is suffering with this illness.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Katie as a character. It was compelling to see through the eyes of someone who is suffering with Multiple Sclerosis and was a unique experience. Katie’s emotions explode all at once as she feels angry, afraid, confused and is in complete denial. Cay has captured this perfectly as the presence of a rooster can manifest at any given time which sets Katie on edge. It chases her constantly and she can never seem to escape its deadly pecks. Feathers surround you as the fear builds and builds until you are drowning in the blackness. Katie also constantly has everyone’s opinion forced upon her, but is unsure of her own. She wants to marry Mark yet pushes him away. She feels helpless as she needs the assistance of nurses or family on a day-to-day basis. She is a strong, independent character but is forced to now rely on the aid of others. She wants to take back control and sees her only way to do so is to take the Andratalia pill. It’s difficult to watch her fall down this spiral as she feels more and more detached but she is a fighter, a survivor and claws her way back to sanity.
Cay writes strong, bold, ruthless characters. During Katie’s stay in hospital she shares a room with Paul and Rosemary who do nothing but argue with each other. And boy do they love to disagree dear reader. They are quite a pair, ranting and raving their opinions at one another while Katie feels stuck in the middle. Paul is a big supporter of technology. He believes it gives us more options and sees it as a big part of life. Rosemary is the opposite and argues it is only destroying the planet. She believes in the healing power of her crystals and flowers, nature. The reader is treated to many of their arguments throughout the book. Cay shows the positives and the negatives and leaves it up to the reader to decide on finding the balance. It all points towards perspective and what matters most to you in life.
The island of Andratalia is one of simple pleasures. They are free of any technology and appreciate the small things. Katie is joined by Paul and Rosemary on the island who again do nothing but fight while Katie’s mind wanders to their guide, Kai, who they briefly met on arrival. In ways, being on the island made me feel like I was stuck in a groundhog day loop. The character’s opinions refusing to change as they argued constantly. It was a slow process but one that needed to happen, for all three characters are extremely stubborn. Only when they realised they could let go and to stop being in denial did they make steady progress. Breaking the habit and the endless loop.
I give The Love Virus By Eleni Cay a Four out of Five paw rating.
A detox for the mind, an escape for the body there is no better place then to disconnect and reconnect than that of the island of Andratalia.
This book is Extremely relatable given our times and this pandemic we are all facing.
You will be left with a new appreciation for life. Cay brings more awareness and understanding to what it means to have Multiple Sclerosis. An exquisite read.
Don’t forget to follow the rest of the blog tour, dates below, enjoy.
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