I am trying to be a bit more selective about what advanced review copy books I request from Netgalley – partly so I don’t get stuck with any more duds – but also because I want to be able to read them and give timely feedback so that I have a good reviewer rating and so when something I’m desperate to read comes along I can be approved! (I am naturally a total geek too……)
Anyway – I saw this on there, and it really appealed so I decided to request it and was accepted (it still makes me do a happy dance every time this happens)
Here’s the blurb:
“Tess has a secret – one which is going to turn her life upside down in just nine months’ time.
The only person she can confide in is her beloved grandmother. But Iris is slipping further away each day.
Then chance brings a stranger into Tess’s life.
Gigi’s heart goes out to Tess, knowing what it’s like to feel alone. She’s determined to show her that there’s a silver lining to every cloud.
As their unlikely friendship blossoms, Tess feels inspired to open up.
But something still holds her back – until she discovers Iris has a secret of her own. A suitcase of letters from another time, the missing pieces of a life she never shared.
Could the letters hold the answers that Tess thought lost for ever?
An uplifting, unforgettable story about keeping secrets, taking chances and finding happiness where you least expect it.”
Initially the stories of Tess and Gigi appear completely separate and you’re not sure how they’re going to meet up – but then about 25% of the way through, they meet at a care home they both have relatives at. The care home sections were quite relevant to me, as my maternal grandmother has become a resident of one recently – so now they are much more on my radar than ever before.
I was immediately intrigued by both Tess and Gigi’s stories – I found both interesting, in completely different ways. Tess writes to her unborn child – and that made me think about my own pregnancies – in a fond, reminiscing kind of way!
The book made me laugh – and cry – which is always good. Whilst Tess and Gigi are the main characters, the supporting characters are also great and well rounded. I particularly liked Tess’s friend Holly (whose daughter is a similar age to my eldest, and so was probably the character going through the most similar issues to me) and also Gigi’s daughter in law Emily – who was just lovely.
I won’t give too much of the story away (I loathe reviews that do that) and it is reasonably predictable – but in a comfortable and safe way, with some twists and turns along the way. It does, as you expect from the start, encompass the whole ‘circle of life’ (sung in a Disney way, obvs!)
Now being a bit of a geek, I thought the book was really well written – it felt like it had been written with care and attention to detail and language. Sometimes I feel some modern books seem a bit ‘disposable’ and have been written quickly by the author – this felt like it had been lovingly crafted rather than banged off to meet a deadline. (I hope you understand what I mean and I don’t sound like a total snobby weirdo?!?)
A big thank you to Netgalley and Penguin for my free advance review copy in return for my honest opinion.