Originally published: 21 February 2019
Author: Hannah Beckerman
Published by: Orion
Genre: Family Drama
Length: 368 pages
Reading dates: 16-20 February 2019
After seeing this around on Twitter a lot I was thrilled to be invited on the blog tour. I enjoy reading the journalistic pieces Beckerman writes and I just knew by looking at this one that I was going to love it.
Audrey’s two grown up daughters Jess and Lily have been estranged for over 30 years. Audrey is dying of cancer and wants more than anything to bring her family back together before she dies but even she does not really know what caused the rift between them. Jess is a stressed out single mum to Mia, who works as a movie location manager, while Lily is a married successful businesswoman, with a daughter called Phoebe. When Audrey finds it hard to cope being by herself as her symptoms worsen, she moves in with Jess and Mia. The story is told in the present day but also looks back to the events in 1988 which caused Jess to become so angry with Lily.
My goodness, this story was an emotional rollercoaster! I found it difficult to feel sympathy for Jess at first – it is quite something to keep a grudge going for 30 years, especially when your mum is dying and wants nothing more than you to be a proper family again. But as the story unravels, I got to know Jess more and understood the reasons for her behaviour.
Audrey’s story particularly touched a nerve – reminding me of how it was when my mum was dying of cancer. In many ways they are similar – living life to the fullest because time is short, shielding their families from the pain they are in and hiding their feelings to protect them.
A heart-breaking read, the characters are well developed and feel “real”. The pacing is perfect – the reveal as to why the rift happened coming at just the right time. Beckerman writes beautifully and the themes of this book which look at family relationships, love and grief are heart-warming. I did shed a tear or two (luckily, I finished it at home and not at my desk at work!) This book is truly unforgettable and will stay with me for some time.
Many thanks to Poppy at Orion for sending me proof copy and to Tracy Fenton for inviting me on the blog tour. Be sure to checkout the other stops below…About the author:
Hannah Beckerman is an author, journalist, event chair and broadcaster. In the UK she writes for The Observer, The FT Weekend Magazine and The Sunday Express, and is a book critic on BBC Radio 2. She regularly chairs at literary events and panels across the UK and has judged numerous book prizes including the Costa Book Awards.
Before becoming a writer, Hannah was a TV and film producer, spending fifteen years producing and commissioning documentaries about the Arts, History and Science both in the UK and the US.
She lives in London with her husband and daughter.