Four Minutes to Save a Life by Anna Stuart
Publishing Date: 20th February 2020
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 352
Genre: General Fiction (Adult)
There’s always time to help out a stranger…isisn’t there?
Supermarket delivery driver Charlie enjoys his new job because he doesn’t have to spend too long with people, who, he’s found, are nothing but trouble. But when he’s assigned the Hope Row street, he realises there are a lot of lonely people out there – and for some, he’s their only interaction.
The supermarket boss tells Charlie he’s a driver, not a social worker – but Charlie can’t abandon the Hope Row residents and he sets about trying to draw them out of their shells and back into the world. But will his helping hand make everything worse?
Charlie needed to start a new life, so he changed his surname to Sparrow, burned all of his possessions and starts a new job as a delivery driver for a large supermarket. His round includes Hope Street, where he recognises one of the names on the list of deliveries – he is desperate to make amends with this person. But he also finds that some of the other residents may profit from a little help. But can he change anything when he only has 4 minutes pro delivery? And why does he want to change things at all?
This was an absolutely uplifting, charming and touching book with some twists that I didn’t see coming and that I enjoyed immensely – I do love a book that succeeds to surprise me. Judging the story on its cover I was expecting it to be much more light – hearted, it turned out to be much darker and touching and about heavier issues than I have expected but I loved those elements of this tale.
The characters are all so different but they all have troubles, problems and are not flawless, and thanks to this fact I quickly got the feeling that they’re believable and relatable. They all felt so human and true to life, with Vik and his cooking, Ruth and her mending, Greg and his honesty and Charlie with his huge, huge heart. The more I read about them, the more involved in their lives I was and I fell for them all, for their loneliness, their sadness and hope that Charlie was giving them. There was this “something” in Charlie that has made him a perfect leading character, and the way the author has written him was brilliant. There was a feeling of mystery around him, and the build – up to the reveal has showed his character as a reasonable, responsible, lovely soul who couldn’t forget what has happened, who felt so guilty and this guilt was killing him inside but you were also able to see that he tries so much to somehow atone – he doesn’t want to forget, he simply tries to start living again, without guiltiness, which he deserved, in my humble opinion.
I was desperate to know who it is that Charlie was so desperate to help and why, and even though the group of characters is rather a small one, I didn’t guess it, as well as the reasons – it was really cleverly and well plotted.
I really liked the way the story was developing and it was totally not obvious. I really wasn’t sure in which direction the author is going to take us, I couldn’t tell where the book is leading us, and it was great. Anna Stuart has a great way with words and is a truly great story – teller, delivering us a tale like a rollercoaster ride filled with feelings and emotions. And even though it’s so emotional and full of serious topics, I still found it a light – hearted and easy read that left me feel so satisfied at the end. I sometimes found it a bit too dragging on, and the end felt too rushed but other than that it was a lovely read that had me invested in the characters’ lives.
Altogether “Four Minutes to Save a Life” was such a lovely emotional tale that dealt with many heavier issues, such as depression, suicide, grief, feeling guilty, broken family relationships, in such a gentle and careful way. The small acts of kindness are so cheerful, they can truly brighten up your mood, especially when you see how huge a difference they can make to people. It was a warm book about friendship and forgiveness that felt like a warm blanket on a cold winter night. Hugely recommended!
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