“When 35-year-old Leni McKenzie is knocked off her bike, her family’s world is turned upside down.
Leni and her sister Alice were best friends as well as siblings. But did they know each other as well as Alice thought? In the hope of coming to terms with her grief, she tries to piece together Leni’s last weeks – but her discoveries only lead to more questions. And that’s before the surprise reappearance of someone from the past. Life is certainly getting very complicated …
Meanwhile, the rest of the family seem to be falling apart. Belinda, Alice’s mum, has developed an unhealthy obsession with a clairvoyant, and Tony, her dad, is stressed about becoming a father all over again, what with three failed marriages stacking up behind him.
As for Will, the youngest McKenzie, he’s in denial, having hopped onto a plane to Thailand days after the funeral. Secretly, he’s tormented by the part he played in Leni’s death … and the thing about secrets is, they always come out eventually …
Full of hope and heartache, love and truths, Lucy Diamond’s new novel is the big-hearted and relatable story of one unforgettable year in the life of the McKenzies.“
The book starts from Leni’s point of view and her birthday party – and the various niggles she has with different family members at her party.
It then cuts further forward and it’s obvious Leni has died (although it takes a while for the story of that evening to be fully explained). The book then follows Leni’s siblings and parents and how each of them deal with their unique situation and the grief / guilt / sadness that brings. It also fills out the story of the family and how it has broken down over the years – and touches on infidelity, friendship, parental desertion and many other things in between.
Sorting through Leni’s belongings make both Alice and Belinda want to investigate what their sister / daughter had been doing in the weeks before she died.
It is really interesting to see how the various intertwining relationships develop – and how Leni essentially brings her family back together again in death. The peripheral ‘step’ relatives are also explored – and you’re rooting for the entire blended family.
Some of it is incredibly moving, some quite funny – but all of it kept me wanting to read more.
This is the first book I’ve read by Lucy Diamond (it’s out in February 2023) but I would definitely read more from her in the future – and will investigate her back catalogue.
A big thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for my ARC.