Hannah Bent: When Things Are Alive They Hum

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for When Things Are Alive They Hum. My review is written with thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me on the blog tour and to the publisher for my copy of the book.


When Things Are Alive They Hum poses profound questions about the nature of love and existence, the ways grief changes us, and how we confront the hand fate has dealt us.

Marlowe and Harper share a bond deeper than most sisters, shaped by the loss of their mother in childhood. For Harper, living with what she calls the Up syndrome and gifted with an endless capacity for wonder, Marlowe and she are connected by an invisible thread, like the hum that connects all things. For Marlowe, they are bound by her fierce determination to keep Harper, born with a congenital heart disorder, alive.

Now 25, Marlowe is finally living her own life abroad, pursuing her studies of a rare species of butterfly secure in the knowledge Harper’s happiness is complete, having found love with boyfriend, Louis. But then she receives the devastating call that Harper’s heart is failing. She needs a heart transplant but is denied one by the medical establishment because she is living with a disability. Marlowe rushes to her childhood home in Hong Kong to be by Harper’s side and soon has to answer the question – what lengths would you go to save your sister?


I had no idea what to expect when I opened this book, but it’s fair to say it’s a hidden gem. Hannah Bent is such a talented writer and her wonderful choice of words drew me in to this highly emotional story.

When Things Are Alive They Hum is written from the perspectives of Marlowe and Harper. They each have a distinctive voice, which makes it easy to connect with them. Their relationship as sisters is absolutely beautiful and I loved the understanding they shared with each other. 

When disability is explored in fiction, it can be a little hit and miss. However, Bent absolutely nails this aspect of the story, showing that whilst Harper struggles sometimes, she is also loving, funny and perceptive. She highlights the importance of Harper being able to express her wishes and explain how she feels and this creates some beautiful scenes. 

It is rare that a book can make me cry, but When Things Are Alive They Hum did this to me. There is so much emotion spilling off the pages and I loved the journey on which it took me. 

When Things Are Alive They Hum is available from Amazon.

You can follow the rest of the blog tour here:

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