Us & Everything Else: A book review by Amanda Chalmers

A LIFE well travelled – and a journey of self-discovery are at the heart and soul of Francoise Hélène’s poignant new poetry collection Us & Everything Else.

This evocative book tackles just about everything, from the rawest of emotions of pain and heartache to the most euphoric of joys and celebrations.

Us and Everything Else, poetry, Francoise Helene

Whether it’s exploring the beauty and pain that inhabits our days, the desire to give hope through hopelessness or spread joy in moments of deep sorrow, this moving collection is penned by an author who clearly wants the leave their reader feeling truly inspired to live their ‘most authentic life.’

The poems resonate most deeply with clear and important messages around diversity, practising self love, relinquishing negativity and encouraging us to share the beauty of everyday lives.

Born in New Brunswick, Canada Françoise Hélène was always seeking inspiration in everything, and in school she learned English and fell in love with music and song lyrics from an early age.

Francoise’s travels took her across the world to Australia, New Zealand, South East Asia and South America but it was London, where she finally settled and fell in love with poetry, inspiring the prose to flow.

One of the delights of this collection is its ability to connect to every reader, regardless of gender, status or standpoint.

Whether a lover or a fighter, a parent or a friend, a stalwart or a lost soul, there’s something for all to relate to at various levels and stages of our lives.

And it’s not afraid to take us to some darker corners where we may even discover we’re facing up to some harsh realities about our own journeys.

But then we’ll turn the page and, almost without warning, feel the warmest of embraces with poetic words championing love and reassurance through such topics as inner strength, self-belief, self-preservation and determination. Some of the poems are an eye-opener to see light in the darkness.

The book is a mix of short and long poems with even a few short stories thrown in for good measure at the end. Francoise’s passions of music nature, art and philosophy become familiar themes throughout her pages – alongside broken hearts, inner truths, loneliness, sacrifice and healing – but she is also adept at using humour to successfully convey a more lightened mood.

Us and Everything Else, poetry, Francoise Helene
Francoise Hélène

Personally, I believe Us & Everything Else is best summed up by one of the author’s own poems. . .

‘When the passion inside of you

Always burns for more

That is how you know

Not only it is part of you

But you were meant to be part of it.’

It is simply entitled Doing What You Love.

And there’s no doubting that Francoise’s deep adoration for her work is the secret to its success – she has already been recognised with an award.

This exciting poet lays everything bare between the covers of this book – and its raw honesty can’t fail but to empower its readers who will undoubtedly emerge from their own personal literary – and spiritual – journey of discovery.

A very interesting read.

You can find Us & Everything Else through the author’s website or here.

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