FIVE STEPS TO HAPPY by Ella Dove | Blog Tour Review | #FiveStepsToHappy

Published by Trapeze
Available in Ebook & Hardback (11 July 2019) | Paperback (26 December 2019)
336 pages
Source: Copy provided for review via Netgalley


Life can change in a heartbeat…

When struggling actress Heidi has a life-changing accident aged 32, her world falls apart. Stuck in hospital and unable to walk, her only companion is Maud, the elderly lady in the bed next to hers. Heidi misses her flatmate, her life, her freedom – surely 32 is too young to be an amputee?

But when Maud’s aloof but attractive grandson Jack pays a visit to the ward, Heidi realises that her life isn’t over just because it’s different. It might not look like the life she dreamed of, but it’s the one she’s got – and there’s a lot she still wants to tick off her bucket list. With Jack at her side, will Heidi take the first step back to happiness? Or is there one more surprise still in store…?

A feel-good read based on the inspiring true story of journalist Ella Dove. Sometimes all it takes is one small step…


My thanks to Tracy Fenton for the invitation to take part in the tour and to the publisher for the review copy via Netgalley.

Five Steps to Happy is inspired by real life events which happened to the author and what a wonderfully inspirational and uplifting story it is.

32 year old Heidi is doing her normal morning run when a freak accident results in life changing consequences.  It is hard to believe that a simple stumble can be so devastating.

After time spent in hospital, she is moved to a rehabilitation recovery unit.  This is where the hard work really begins both physically and mentally as she tries to come to terms with her injury, be fitted with a prosthetic leg and learn to walk again – and also to do the simplest of tasks that most of us take for granted, like being able to make a cup of tea and prepare a meal.

Her roommate is Maud, an elderly amputee and although they are decades apart in ages, they form a deep friendship which sustains them both through the early part of their recovery.  Maud was so much fun and a great character. Maud’s grandson Jack also plays a part, helping to create a ‘bucket list of 5 things’ for Heidi to focus on.

Heidi’s story is told in an honest ‘warts and all’ way, without mawkish sentimentality or overdone misery.  There is the agonising phantom pain of the lost limb, the guilt and anger she feels, the days of despair and then those times when she can see some light and hope and the realisation that she can do things. Will be able to do things.  It just might take a little more time.

It also focuses on the fact that it’s not only the patient who is affected – their loved ones and close friends are also suffering emotionally however it can be harder for them to put into words how they feel.

Five Steps to Happy made me smile and it also made me cry – especially at the reading of ‘that letter’ towards the end.  Ella Dove writes with such warmth and in such an engaging way, that you can’t fail to be moved and humbled by Heidi. It’s a wonderful story and one that I am so glad to have read.  Do put it on your reading list.  You won’t regret it.

If you want to read more about Ella’s story, here is a link to an article in Good Housekeeping.


Ella Rose Dove is Commissioning Editor at Good Housekeeping, Prima and Red magazines. Originally from Kent and now based in Stratford, East London, Ella studied English and French at the University of Southampton, where she did her dissertation in Creative Writing. In 2015, she completed the Curtis Brown Creative three-month novel writing course.

In 2016, Ella became an amputee following a freak running accident. She is now an ambassador for the Limbless Association, Barts Health charity and The London Prosthetic Centre, and regularly leads talks, takes part in events and speaks to patients and their loved ones about trauma.

In her spare time, Ella reads, swims and sings in her local choir – and writes, of course!

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