Originally published: 13 June 2019
Author: Melanie Cantor
Published by: Bantam Press
Length: 302 pages
Reading dates: 7-9 June 2019
At just 43 years old, Jennifer Cole has just been told that she has a rare and terminal blood disease. She has just three months to live – ninety days to say goodbye to friends and family and put her affairs in order. Trying to focus on the positives Jennifer realises she has one overriding regret: the words she’s left unsaid.
Rather than pursuing a bucket list, she chooses instead to write letters to three significant people in her life who have hurt her in some way: her overbearing, selfish older sister Isabelle, her ex-husband Andy who cheated on Jennifer after she suffered from 3 miscarriages, and her charming, unreliable ex-boyfriend Harry who left her for another woman. The letters give her a way to finally tell them all the things she’s always wanted to say but never dared, thinking what is the worst that could happen?
At first, Jennifer feels cleansed by her catharsis. Liberated, even. But once you start telling the truth, it’s hard to stop. And, as she soon discovers, the truth isn’t always as straightforward as it seems, and death has a way of surprising you …
I really enjoyed this, despite the subject matter and read it in just a couple of days. I love the idea of writing old fashioned letters, rather than emails, to people who have upset or disappointed you. I have done it myself although haven’t ever been brave enough to send them! But just putting the words on the page can help you feel much better about a situation and to even let bad feelings go.
I thought initially this book might be a bit depressing – after all a woman around my age, being diagnosed with a terminal illness is a pretty miserable subject. But Jennifer herself, despite being devastated, takes control of the time she has left and somehow the author makes it an engaging and amusing read. It made me think about my own life and what I would do if I was told I only had a short time to live. I think airing long-held grievances is excellent advice for anyone!
There are a few twists and turns, nothing startling but the story is sweet and well written and I liked Jennifer and her best friend Olivia’s relationship especially. A great debut!
Many thanks to Hannah at Penguin Random House for sending me a copy and to Anne Cater for inviting me on the blog tour. Be sure to checkout the other stops below…
About the author:
Melanie Cantor was a celebrity agent and publicist for over thirty years. Her clients included Ulrika Jonsson, Melinda Messenger and Melanie Sykes.
In 2004, she hosted a makeover show on Channel 4 called Making Space and in 2017 having just turned 60 she was scouted on Kings Cross station, subsequently appearing as a ‘real model’ in the most recent Dove campaign.