Sunday Book Review – The Catalyst by Joy Lennick

My Sunday Book Review this week is for Joy Lennick’s ‘factional’ story – The Catalyst. The train bombing event that took place in July of 2005 in the U.K. was a tragedy that Joy has taken and built an interesting story around the incident, bringing in her two main characters who got caught in the fallout, as she takes us into their lives as the incident occurs, and their lives after.



When a terrorist blows up an Inner Circle line train between Liverpool
Street and Aldgate at around 8.50 am on 7th July 2005, it leaves seven
people dead and many others injured, some badly. In the horrific
explosion one of those injured is journalist Ian Grosvenor. Also trapped
and wounded is a young mother and artist, Serena Mason. Among the
‘walking wounded’, Ian becomes a reluctant hero by helping other
passengers and carries Serena from the train, before collapsing.
Ian and Serena slowly recover from the worst of their injuries, both
physical and mental, but are haunted by the memory of each other and
what they suffered on that dreadful day. The desire to trace and
discover how each fared grows stronger with time, until it becomes
almost an obsession.
In all, three trains and a bus were blown up, killing and injuring young
and old alike. It was ‘an act of indiscriminate terror’ affecting Britons
and non-Britons, Christians, Muslims, and those of other or no religion.
This story covers more than the young couple’s aftermath traumas and
recovery; it reveals a dark family secret, and highlights the importance
of the love and support of families and friends in times of need. It also
illuminates the ever present ‘ifs’, ‘buts’ and ‘coincidences’ which weave
in and out of all our lives, and the wonderful power of humour.
Will Ian and Serena ever find each other? And if they do, will they find

My 5 Star Review:

This story begins with the horrific bombing incident that took place in London, July 7, 2005. The author takes us into the horror of the event, and introduces us to two main characters, Ian, a journalist who was severely injured, and despite his injuries, he manages to rescue, Serena, an artist and fellow passenger in his same carriage on the train.

The story grows from the bombing to Ian’s injuries while in hospital, where we are introduced to some of his family members – his sister Sally, his dad, and Sally’s husband Mark. As the story continues, we are taken into Ian’s divorced life, the bonds he shares with his family, and some very picturesque scenes later when Ian is back out in the field on assignment in Spain. But all the while he cannot help but wonder what has become of the young woman he rescued on the train. There was certainly no time for conversation in the midst of a disaster when the mission was survival. And as the author takes us through wonderfully detailed story of incidents in Ian’s life with some of his friends and family, the question continues to haunt Ian about whatever happened to the young woman he rescued.

In the last part of the book, we are taken into the life and struggle of Serena and her healing, the woman that Ian rescued. We’ll learn about her past, her raising a son as a single mother, her deep friendships that helped nurse her back to the living from her PTSD and physical injuries, and her same curiosity that lingered within, wondering about what ever became of the man who rescued her.

Without spoilers, let’s just say that the universe eventually brings us to where we need to be. What we do with it when we get there, you’ll have to find out by reading this engaging read of life, circumstances, and relationships.


55 thoughts on “Sunday Book Review – The Catalyst by Joy Lennick

    1. Good question Jim. I think it’s another version of historical fiction, as the premise of the story is factual, but the storyline besides the incident is not. 🙂


  1. That was a heinous act of terrorism, and it would be fascinating to read the author’s take on what could have happened to two survivors in its aftermath. What a terrific review. Thanks for sharing it, Debby.


  2. Oh, I remember the trauma surrounding this incident. It was horrific. Great Review! I am going to add this to my TBR. Thanks Debbie 🙂


  3. I haven’t read Joy’s book, but I find the idea of following someone after a traumatic event intriguing. Someone’s physical features may or may not heal, but the same is true for the less obvious emotional toll that is hard to measure.


  4. Hi Debs, I am so sad that I can’t hug you! Thanks a million for your review and spreading the word. It lost out big-time when published, as around four/five books other books had ‘Catalyst’ in their titles…Better late than never! Do hope you are more settled in your new apartment? Keep well, already…Hugs Joy xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a pleasure to read Joy. And that’s interesting what you said about a few other book with the same name title. Often, authors think if they use an already familiar title it will help book sales. But as you’ve discovered, it worked against you. Well I’m happy to give it a boost. ❤ xx


      1. Me again…I chose The Catalyst because there was only one book with the title, BUT – by the time it was published- it had mushroomed… Not good news! Hey ho. Big hugs. xxx


  5. When horrific events happen, we always want to imagine that some good can result–eventually. Thank you for introducing me to a “factional” story about transformation in which the universe eventually brings us to where we need to be. Debby, thanks for highlighting this story wonderfully told. 😀


  6. What a horrid event, one of so many. ‘Reluctant hero’ describes many who do what they must, because they must. I like your hint about the ending–“the universe eventually brings us to where we need to be.”


  7. I love that last paragraph of your review, Debby. The book sounds so intense and moving, and I enjoy Joy’s writing in general. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Huge congrats to Joy, And Happy Reading.


  8. My niece was in London at the time of the bombing. She was on a high school trip, and I remember my sister calling at like 6:00 am after she heard about the incident but had not gotten a hold of Tammy yet. My niece was fine, but I remember watching the news with my sister for days after. This sounds like a fascinating book. Great review, Debby! I’ll have to tell my sister about it. Hugs, C


  9. This one sounds like it would be tough emotionally to read but definitely worth it! The last paragraph of your review Debby definitely made me want to know more about the book.


    1. Thanks Christy. I like leaving cliff hangers in my reviews. It isn’t really a tough read. Joy has begun the book using the tragic situation that happened and introducing fictional characters. As the story continues, it’s really about the character’s lives taken from the aftermath of the event, with an engaging storyline. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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