Where YOU judge...

new and undiscovered literary works!

Open My Eyes


Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: when adopted midwife Mariam embarks on a project to protect an abandoned premature baby, she is forced to face her own abandonment years before. Alice Allan’s debut novel is an original, vivid and moving story about attachment and loss.

Authors Biography

Alice Allan grew up in rural Devon. She worked as an actress and a corporate trainer in London and Tokyo, then as a lactation consultant in public hospitals in Addis Ababa, where she taught about breastfeeding, skin-to-skin and kangaroo care for premature babies.


“This is a beautifully written book, the characters of which leap to life and lodge in the mind. It is sure of its steps and tone, often moving, often daring.” Robert Macfarlane (Landmarks, The Wild Places, The Lost Words)

Voting is no longer open although you are still able to make comments or buy this book.

Leave a comment about this book:


  1. Deep and touching story

  2. It really touched my emotions…

  3. Exciting story…

  4. Beautiful, tender story

  5. An inspiring read.

  6. A very real and heartwarming story which captures the realities of life.

  7. A very real and heartwarming story which captures the realities of life.

  8. Feel transported to this strange world within a world – that of a neonatal unit in an African hospital. The book is as beautiful and intriguing as the title.

  9. Beautiful history, make me feel in Africa.

  10. Interesting, very touching book

  11. A beautiful story and a fabulous read for first time mums highlighting the importance of skin-to-skin!

  12. A wonderful novel, with believable characters and a very emotional story – made me cry!

  13. Interesting story!

  14. For me, the most interesting and impressive was the author’s ability to find and consistently follow the voices of her different characters. It brought the beautiful story the feel of authenticity.

  15. Beautifully written. Deserves an even bigger audience.

  16. “How can you hold a baby next to your skin without it touching your heart?”

  17. A passionate and evocative read. Highly recommended.

  18. Powerful story. This was one of our book club’s picks this year.

  19. I recomended

  20. Such a brilliant and memorable story – a real gem.

  21. I love this book! I would recommend it to anyone.

  22. Very exciting book.

  23. I recommend this book its very interesting.

  24. A heartwarming and poignant story, beautifully written. It transports you to the wonderful, dignified and tragic setting that is Addis Ababa.

  25. I loved this book and it has stayed with me since I read it straight after publication. The characters have remained ‘lodged in my mind’ (as Robert Macfarlane says). A poignant and powerful story.

  26. Very powerful and touching novel

  27. I loved this book. An evocative tale of human connection in a pulsing Ethiopia.

  28. An authentic and true novel from an author who exudes the same.

  29. A wonderful read…. A little evocative masterpiece of Ethiopia on many levels… touching, tender and triumphant !

  30. I enjoyed every single page of it!

  31. A gorgeous and important book – beautifully written with honesty, delicacy and a storyteller’s ear, it’s moving, powerfully evocative and memorable, passages keep coming back to me months now after I read it. Thank you!

  32. Very touching novel, explains the importance of skin to skin.

  33. really amazing book

  34. My favourite book of 2017. Moving, clever, atmospheric. And beautifully written.

  35. My truly lasting memory of this book is the madman character. His stream of consciousness seems so authentic.

  36. A real image of where I live. Nicely done.

  37. fantastic insight into health care in Ethiopia and what it must be like to work there

  38. Wow

  39. An enchanting read. Would highly recommend

  40. The love and affection shown in this story reminds you of childhood, in all of its wonders. So touching.

  41. I highly recommend 👍👍

  42. I could not put it down – and then read it through again!!

  43. A wonderful novel based on facts. Written with compassion by someone who cRes. Truly worth reading.

  44. A perceptive writer!

  45. Enjoyable, absorbing and informative.

  46. Beautifully written with sensitivity and care for the characters and subject matter. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this wonderful debut novel. Well done.

  47. A beautiful story, so evocative of Addis. Alice gets you inside the mind of a young volunteer seeking closure, a mad homeless man and even a neonate. spellbinding.

  48. lovely book

  49. An important and beautiful book … wonderful read …especially for mothers.

  50. “Gobez en Enkuan desalesh”…

  51. Beautiful. Well done!

  52. Great book, would totally recommend it. You will see and experience feelings like you never had with this book.

  53. A beautiful and lyrical story – the characters and setting come alive off the page and stay with you.

  54. Amazing, captivating in all senses, couldn’t put it down! You will feel attached to Ethiopia and the book characters long after you finish reading. Highly recommend!

  55. Opened my eyes to a fascinating world. Highly recommended.

  56. Beautiful story. Took me right back to Addis!

  57. As Africa is becoming increasingly important for Europe, it is about time to spread more of these touching stories into Europe and the world.

  58. This book recalled the magic that resides in Addis Ababa and can be found in so many of the amazing people there. Their lives are complicated, but beautiful. The book captured both.

  59. I have some books from this small but quality-producing editor and each one is well thought and well presented. So does this book

  60. Lovely book!

  61. Excellent and enjoyable book, dealing with significant topics and themes.

  62. This is a brilliant read from a great author.

  63. A lovely book.

  64. A great book that deserves a wider readership.

  65. I was so touched by this book. Perceptive writing and a story that drew me in and stayed with me long afterwards.

  66. Awesome

  67. A truly beautiful book.

  68. Excellent book with deep and life related descriptions. I highly recommend to it.

  69. Beautiful read..couldn’t put it down once I started. As a mother myself and having worked in the health sector, and having seen orphanages where babies are left alone due to lack of staff or simply not seeing the need, it should be common sense that human touch and hugs are so important for a child’s well being and growth. A very moving book in a very realistic setting..loved reading every page.

  70. Beautiful read, very uplifting and wonderfully reminiscent of East Africa. Can highly recommend.

  71. Beautiful book , loved reading every single page.

  72. A beautyfull book! Captivating story, touching characters. Set in a wonderfull portray of Addis, Ethiopia: the sounds and smells, streets and hills, cruelty and compassion. What a talent, what a humanitarian!

  73. An uplifting and beautifully written book.

  74. Touching and amazing story. After a few years in Ethiopia wonderful to know the places which are mentioned in the book

  75. Allan carefully weaves the characters life stories together to create a mosaic that allows the reader a window into a world of life and death, connections and rejevtions and ultimately acceptance. Powerful and well written

  76. A really thoughtful novel which was very moving.

  77. I beautiful story which really moved me.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.