The Lost Letter of William Woolf by Helen Cullen / Blog Tour

The Lost Letters of William Woolf by Helen Cullen

 

42643850Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 2nd May  2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 416

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

SHORTLISTED FOR NEWCOMER OF THE YEAR, IRISH BOOK AWARDS

‘If you liked Harold Fry and Me Before You, you will love Cullen’s nostalgic debut. This life-affirming book will draw you in and keep you there’ Independent

‘Delightful’ Sunday Times

‘Deeply moving’ Irish Times

‘I found myself totally transported into William’s poignant and beguiling world of lost opportunities and love’ A. J. Pearce, author of Sunday Times bestseller Dear Mrs Bird

______________

Inside East London’s Dead Letters Depot, William Woolf unites lost mail with its intended recipient. White mice, a miniature grandfather clock and a full suit of armour are among the more unusual items lost then found thanks to William’s detective work.

But when he discovers a series of letters addressed only to ‘My Great Love’, everything changes. Written by Winter to a soulmate she hasn’t yet met, her heartfelt words stir William in ways he has long forgotten. Could they be destined for him? But what about his troubled marriage?

William must follow the clues in Winter’s letters to solve the mystery of his own heart.

Rating: four-stars

 

Let’s start with telling you that I loved the idea of the book – there is hope for letters that went missing or with unclear destination if they find their way to East London’s Dead Letters Depot, where thirty letter detectives work hard, trying to put together whatever clues they can find to reunite the letters with their recipients. William Woolf is one of those detectives. Since 1979, after inheriting the position from his uncle, he’s been working in the depot and he is the right man at the right place. He has his own way of choosing the letters, and one day he finds a midnight blue envelope addressed to “My Great Love”. He’s intrigued. The letters are written by a woman to a man she has never met but feels he’s her soul mate and she hopes to meet him one day. William is fascinated and starts to think they are meant for him, and so he sets his mind on finding this woman. Only he doesn’t take into consideration that his marriage to Claire already is like walking on thin ice. After a great beginning, it looks like they are both living separate lives.

The characters were really well drawn and full of personality. They were full of flaws actually, and gradually and slowly we are made aware of the problems that lie between them. William and Claire simply stopped to communicate and the result is that their marriage became stale and unhappy. William actually felt better among his letters – this is my personal feeling, and while his compassion, dedication and interest were directed towards the letters, his own marriage, real life is suffering. He was more of a loner, and a dreamer in my opinion, feeling much more comfortable with his letters than in his real life.
William was really passionate about his job, and this passion has started already when he was a young boy, filling his notebook with stories from the letters, and some of those stories became a kind of obsession to him, I think we can say this. He doesn’t see them as normal letters but he sees the story behind them, he sees people that send them and who are waiting to receive them. His personal favourites were the one categorized as Supernatural Division, it means letters addressed to God, mythic and mystics.

There were some gorgeous stories contained in those lost letters. They were funny, they were personal, they were heart – breaking and heart – melting. Some were hilarious, some were poignant but they were for sure the strongest part of the book. The book also told us about William and Clare’s relationship, about their highs and lows but I must admit that I had a feeling that these are the letters that are the real main storyline. They were stories of love, grief, loss and hope, beautifully capturing human nature and relationships, feelings and emotions.

It was a story about love that went wrong, about hope, lost communication, disappointment, second chances and a great deal more. It was rather a sad read, realistic and poignant. I had a feeling that the ending is a bit too rushed, especially compared to the rest of the book that was rather moderate in pace, and to be totally honest, I’m still not sure how I feel about it. The author shows great insight into all areas that she writes about, let it be the letters, the stories, the relationships, exploring ups and downs, highs and lows of life and reality. The writing style is lyrical and eloquent but still easy to follow. Altogether, I enjoyed “The Lost Letters of William Woolf”, it was a read with a difference and I hope to read more from the author soon.

 

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Just My Type by Hannah Doyle / Blog Tour

Just My Type by Hannah Doyle

 

44413874Publisher: Headline

Publishing Date: 18th April  2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages:

Genre: Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book: Kindle

 

Synopsis:

JUST MY TYPE is the second novel from Hannah Doyle, author of the laugh-out-loud hit rom-com THE YEAR OF SAYING YES, perfect for fans of Love Island, What Fresh Hell by Lucy Vine and Anna Bell.

Meet Jasmine.
– The quirky/cool photographer to a superstar blogger
– She’s going on a date with a SUPER hot guy on the London Eye tonight
– Best friend Mila is her wifey for life
– This millennial is #LivingHerBestLife

But fast-forward a few hours, and the reality isn’t quite so picture perfect. Jasmine hates her stuck-up blogger boss. She can barely afford rent in her stupid London flat. Her best friend seems to have all her sh*t together. Oh, and that date she was so excited about? She got dumped. On the London Eye. In the middle of a thunderstorm. With a bunch of tourists watching…

Best friend Mila decides that Jasmine needs a new ‘type on paper’, because Jasmine’s current criteria is so off that her dating history is one long line-up of fools. So Mila challenges Jasmine to look once, if not twice, at the guys who wouldn’t normally fit her ‘type’. With nothing to lose, Jasmine accepts. Maybe, just maybe, she’ll surprise herself.

Rating: four-stars

 

Jasmine is in a relationship and right now she’s expecting that her boyfriend is going to propose on the next date. However, this date goes belly – up and unfortunately for our heroine, she finds herself single again. Jasmine’s best friend Mila claims it’s because she dates only “her type” guys, and maybe she should simply go for one that, on paper at least, is not her type at all? So she sets Jasmine on a 7 date challenge – dating out of her comfort zones and maybe, probably finding The One?

Jasmine’s job was really interesting – she was a photographer to a superstar blogger so on one hand it was such a brilliant, glamorous job, visiting different countries and providing so many possibilities. On the other hand, she had a real boss from hell, guys, who was belittling her and expecting wonders or burdened Jasmine with tasks almost impossible to accomplish. I think the author has really well captured the feelings of Jasmine here, when she didn’t know what to do, when she didn’t pluck up the courage to take matters in her hands, and as much as I wanted her to tell her boss to go to hell, I also understood that she was scared, that she was afraid what the future is going to bring. It was nice to see Jasmine’s journey here, the change in her, her growing in confidence, of course with some help here and there – but who helped her and why and how? *you must read for yourself* *wink*

This book, just like Hannah Doyle’s debut novel, started very, very promising, then went a bit downhill and then came back to being hilarious and warm. By downhill I don’t mean that it was flat or not hooking, because it was, I just had a feeling that the story lost its impact in the middle, that’s all. I also had problems with the main character at the beginning, and I swear guys, I’ve already started to panic because, Hannah Doyle’s book, right, and what is happening? I don’t know, Jasmine was somehow too shallow, too obsessed with finding the right boyfriend, too focused on her “type” – probably this is why I had this feeling of her being too shallow. But then it changed, she changed, and I’ve finished this book feeling like Jasmine’s best friend, so there.

There are so many different books with characters going on dates, and so it is a real trial for the author to write a unique, hilarious blind date that hasn’t been written yet! “Just My Type” provides us with series of such (unfortunate) dates and ridiculous situations but they were much more original and better I could have expected, so hats off to Hannah Doyle for this! The guys were so different, and the dates were so different, and it wasn’t too cheesy, too meh, too schmaltzy, no, the dates were so enjoyable, the guys hilarious and I enjoyed every single moment of them. But oh my, how glad am I that I don’t have to go on dates anymore…

I had a feeling that the book is aimed rather at younger audience than yours truly writing this review but nevertheless I simply loved this story. It was my kind of humour and I liked how light – hearted and easy it was. Perhaps there weren’t many life changing turns and twists but still, little things happened here and there that were surprising and often made me go “oh no!” There was actually much more to this story than meet the eye. I really, really like Hannah Doyle’s writing style. It is light – hearted, chatty, flows effortlessly, and it’s full of humour and great one – liners. The way she describes her characters and events allows you to immediately feel drawn in, to feel comfortable with the book and the storyline. Altogether, “Just My Type” was a funny, sharp and very up – to – date story about learning things about yourself, pushing your boundaries, about facing challenges and finding love where we don’t expect to find it. Recommended!

 

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The Wedding Planner by Eve Devon

The Wedding Planner by Eve Devon

 

44501513Publisher: Harper Impulse

Publishing Date: 3rd May  2019

Series: Whispers Wood #3

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 400

Genre: Romance

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback (out on 11.07.2019)

 

Synopsis:

A charming feel good romance perfect for fans of Katie Fforde and Sarah Morgan

Wedding bells are ringing and gossip is spiralling in Whispers Wood…

Single mum Gloria Pavey has a bad habit of saying exactly the wrong thing at the wrong time. Determined to make a positive change she can’t say no when her best friend, Emma, asks her to take on the role of her wedding planner. The only problem? Gloria’s co-planner – best man Seth Knightley.

Gloria is on a self-imposed man ban but pulling together the most beautiful wedding Whispers Wood has ever seen alongside gorgeous Seth is pushing her to her limits. As every interaction increases the tension between them Gloria finds herself wondering…could the happy ever after she never thought she’d have be in her future after all?

Rating: four-stars

 

Gloria and Seth are supposed to plan the wedding of their best friend and Seth’s brother. There wouldn’t be anything surprising or strange to this, except for the fact that they both sworn off love, do not believe in Happy Ever After and don’t want to admit that they are attracted to each other. Of course planning a wedding is never an easy task, and what with the above mentioned distinctive features, we are in for a quirky, cheeky and humorous story.

I admit, I had problems to get into the book. Gloria was a tough one to read, and I had a feeling that the author tries too hard with the jokes and humour. I also felt a bit left out – this is a third book in the series and I haven’t read the two previous novels, which is of course my fault, but I simply felt I’m not on the joke, that I’m not a part of the gang, of the story. However, I was quickly done with this feeling and after the initial reservations I fell in love with the book and the characters.

Gloria was such a breath of fresh air, really, with her attitude, sharp humour and being sarcastic. I didn’t have a feeling that she was hiding behind a facade, to be honest, to protect herself or something like this, for me this was the way she was, period. She had tougher and softer side to herself, that’s for sure, but she was bold, direct and hilariously funny in her honesty. Not always, but more than often, that is. I liked how she stood up for her family and friends, you don’t often get something like this. She was feisty and loyal and an adorable mother. And she was my favourite kind of character, one that was growing throughout the story, changing, maturing, and there was depth to her as well.

Whispers Wood is a great place, a village with a great sense of community and people knowing much more about you than you know yourself, but all in such a lovely, friendly way, and the way they interfered in each other’s lives was funny and not too overwhelming.

It was a humorous, romantic and uplifting read. The parts where Gloria and Seth were planning the wedding were brilliant, especially as Gloria often couldn’t keep her mouth closed around the priest, calling him the wrong name. The banter and interaction between Gloria and Seth were probably the best parts of the book – so light – hearted, quick, it was like watching a tennis match. As I have already mentioned, the book can be read as a stand – alone but I had a feeling that I’m missing out on too much and I really regret not reading the two previous books before – to know more about Whispers Wood but also because I really liked the writing style, the humour, the great group of characters. Recommended!

 

Night by Night by Jack Jordan

Night by Night by Jack Jordan

 

42935574Publisher: Corvus

Publishing Date: 2nd May  2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via Pigeonhole, thank you!

Number of pages: 366

Genre: Thriller, Suspense

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

‘If you’re reading this, I’m dead.’

Rejected by her family and plagued by insomnia, Rose Shaw is on the brink. But one dark evening she collides with a man running through the streets, who quickly vanishes. The only sign he ever existed – a journal dropped at Rose’s feet.

She begins to obsessively dedicate her sleepless nights to discovering what happened to Finn Matthews, the mysterious author of the journal. Why was he convinced someone wanted to kill him? And why, in the midst of a string of murders, won’t the police investigate his disappearance?

Rose is determined to uncover the truth. But she has no idea what the truth will cost her…

Rating: four-stars

 

Rose Shaw has been suffering with insomnia since the birth of her twin daughters 10 years ago. It’s no wonder that she’s quickly irritable and feels like letting her children and husband down. One day, on their way home from football training, a tragic accident happen, accident that is going to change all their lives for ever.
Rose is now a broken woman. Her daughter Lily resents her and her husband can’t look her in the eyes. She takes to walking the streets after dark and one night a running man crashes into her and Rose is left with a notebook. She reads it at home . it turns out to be a diary of Finn, a young man and journalist who is convinced that he’s being stalked and that his stalker is going to kill him. Rose is determined to find the young man before it’s too late – but what if it is too late? And why do the police and her family warn her to stop looking into the case?

This novel opens with probably the most intriguing and most used sentence in literature: “If you’re reading this, I’m dead”, and so I though, uh huh, either the story is going to live up to this promising start or it’s totally going to go downhill. I haven’t read the blurb before starting this book so the story totally took me by surprise – I didn’t know what to expect and there were a lot to be expected. The author touches upon many heavy and difficult issues making his novel very realistic and emotional. It was brutally honest and there were moments that I wanted to close my eyes, so raw it was, but well, I couldn’t have read further with eyes closed, right?

The characters, while not very likeable – maybe it was because you couldn’t trust anybody – literally! – came truly alive. Rose was a very special character. No, I didn’t feel much connection with her but my heart went out to her and all the things she must have gone through – I’d probably gave up already, and she kept going. On the other hand, would you, after finding a random diary, set on single – handedly finding a killer? I found her behaviour rash and destructive, to be honest, but I also could understand where she was coming from with this quest to find justice for all the missing men.

The tale is basically told from Rose’s point of view but it’s interspersed with some chapters narrated by – you could think at the beginning, random voices – of young men, and also the Finn’s diary entries. I could never be sure where the story is going to take me and what’s going to happen, and there were some truly shocking moments that made me hold my breath. On the other hand, there were also moments that made me roll my eyes, as somehow they simply didn’t sound very realistic.

Altogether, I haven’t expected that this book is going to be so dark, but it was also addictive, intriguing and hooking. It was a fast – paced, very emotional rollercoaster ride mixed with some terrifying moments. The author writes how it is, without pussyfooting around his chosen topics, and it’s brutally honest, realistic and terrifying at the same time. There were moments that felt too exaggerated for my liking, things happening too easy and too conveniently but it was also eye – opening and thought – provoking. “Night by Night” was a novel dealing with grief and guilt, full of secrets, hidden truths and understatements. A very important story with lessons to learn and raising awareness around mental health and corruption. Recommended!

 

No Way Out by Cara Hunter / Blog Tour

No Way Out by Cara Hunter

 

39805700Publisher: Penguin

Publishing Date: 18th April  2019

Series: DI Adam Fowley #3

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 360

Genre: Mystery, Crime, Thriller

 Buy the Book: Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

DID YOU SEE ANYTHING ON THE NIGHT THE ESMOND FAMILY WERE MURDERED?

From the author of CLOSE TO HOME and IN THE DARK comes the third pulse-pounding DI Fawley crime thriller.

It’s one of the most disturbing cases DI Fawley has ever worked.

The Christmas holidays, and two children have just been pulled from the wreckage of their burning home in North Oxford. The toddler is dead, and his brother is soon fighting for his life.

Why were they left in the house alone? Where is their mother, and why is their father not answering his phone?

Then new evidence is discovered, and DI Fawley’s worst nightmare comes true.

Because this fire wasn’t an accident.

It was murder.

Rating: four-stars

 

Michael and Samantha Esmond and their two children live in a large house in an expensive part of Oxford. On New Year the fire brigade is called to their property and when they arrive, it’s already engulfed by flames. Two children are being found, three year old Zachary and his older brother Matty. However, there is no sign of the parents, it looks like the children were left alone at home. What’s worse is the fact that all the evidence points to the fire having been started deliberately, of it being an arson. The police and fire investigating team start to investigate.

This, what at the beginning looked like a simple case, turned out into something full of twists, turns, red herrings and puzzles along the way. The story is told “before” and “after”, so we slowly start to find out what has happened on the day of the fire. The events from few months before intertwine with the current police investigation and what emerges is a picture of the family that isn’t necessary happy, as we get to know their dynamics. Actually, it was like peeling away the layers, with each layer revealing more and more, until we get direct into the heart of the event.

No Way Out” is the third book in the DI Adam Fowley series and the first one read by yours truly – no idea how I’ve missed on it, to be honest, though I’m sure that the two previous novels hide somewhere in my never – ending TBR pile – and I had some reservations before reading it, not knowing if it can be read as a stand – alone. Well, the verdict is, yes it can. I haven’t got a feeling that I’m lost, that I’m missing something, the cameos were enough. Though yes, at the beginning I felt really confused with all those DIs, DSs, who was who before and was there someone degraded?

It took me some time to get used to the way it was narrated, as it was told in the first person present and third person past, and at the beginning I wasn’t sure who it is that’s talking to me, but then I simply got used to it, got into the story, felt invested in the characters’ lives so I also didn’t have any more problems. I truly liked the way the author mixed police statements and telephone transcripts, news and social media – it felt so realistic, dynamic and sharp.

This was a captivating, heart – breaking and also sad read, and the relaxed banter from Adam’s team, that occasionally was there to relieve the tension only shows how skilful the author is in planning her novel. It was, for me at least, full of twists, turns and surprises, but I would never make a good investigator, so there, and of course I couldn’t guess the outcome, but this is only a huge bonus point for the book. It dealt with a truly poignant case, and I really appreciated the way the author tackled all those issues – always when children are involved it needs this special, gentle touch and Cara Hunter provided us with it. The author’s writing style is refreshing and very modern, which makes the reading this bit faster. I can only highly recommend this domestic – noir police procedural.

 

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Swallowtail Summer by Erica James / Blog Tour

Swallowtail Summer by Erica James

 

44303017Publisher: Orion

Publishing Date: 18th April  2019

Source:  Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!

Number of pages: 386

Genre: General Fiction (Adult)

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Hardcover | Paperback (out on 11.07.2019)

 

Synopsis:

A captivating story about friendship, making changes, and learning to live life to the fullest from SUNDAY TIMES bestseller Erica James.

They thought they were friends for life – until one summer, everything changed . . .

Linston End on the Norfolk Broads has been the holiday home to three families for many years. The memories of their time there are ingrained in their hearts: picnics on the river, gin and tonics in the pavilion at dusk, hours spent seeking out the local swallowtail butterflies. Everyone together.

But widower Alastair has been faced with a few of life’s surprises recently. Now, he is about to shock his circle of friends with the decisions he has made – and the changes it will mean for them all. For some, it feels like the end. For others, it might just be the beginning . . .

Rating: four-stars

 

“Swallowtail Summer” is a story about three men who have been friends from their schooldays, and about their families. One of them, Alastair, owns a beautiful house in Norfolk, where the whole group – later with the wives and then with the offspring – used to spent every summer, enjoying their holidays and sometimes searching for the elusive swallowtail butterflies. They are all happily settled into their lives and enjoy them, until Alastair’s wife Orla dies, and he goes travelling. After his return, he has some news for his friends, that turns out to be rather shocking for them, and that will affect them all.

The setting was absolutely beautiful, the picturesque Norfolk Broads vividly and colourfully described. The house that was the centre of the story was incredibly welcoming. I had, though, problems to get into the book, the beginning was really heavy for me. It was probably because of the great number of characters introduced to us and I couldn’t keep track who is who and who belongs to whom and what has happened, often feeling confused about their relationships. However, later, it starts to fit and after I’ve worked out who, why and what, I felt myself really invested in the story – it is really worth persevering, as then we are more likely to understand them, their decisions and motivations.

Nevertheless, I’ve started to feel anxious to be honest, because, well, I haven’t warmed to the characters, and I was scared that it’s going to destroy the whole reading experience for me. I couldn’t, for example, really understand why the guys, and then their families, put Alastair’s on a pedestal, I found it a bit strange, to be honest, I mean, they were all adults but they still behaved like in their youth. What made him so special? Also, I can’t imagine any of my friends – best friends – behaving like this should I tell them such news as Alastair – well, it’s my decision, right? However, they had strength to them and their personalities were very well captured, they all were flawed and had their own problems and secrets.

“Swallowtail Summer” was a story with friendship in its centre, loyalty and with a depth to it, written in a very lyrical way, providing a very accurate and sharp look at the ways people work, how they see what they want to see, how they react at truth. It was rather a sad read, or maybe I should say a very realistic one, as reality is a bitch, we know this only too well. There was never a dull moment, and while I might have not understand some of the actions of the characters, I really appreciated all the emotions that were released after Alastair’s announcement. I could never be sure where the story would lead and the few skeletons that came out of the closets were really surprising. It is a great picture of characters’ interactions, really exploring different group dynamics, showing the effect of Alastair’s news, how it affected them all and how they tried to work it for themselves, and making you also wonder. A story that had a substance to it. Recommended!

 

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My Husband’s Wives by Faith Hogan / Blog Tour

My Husband’s Wives by Faith Hogan

 

45013776Publisher: Aria

Publishing Date: 7th March 2019

Source:  Received from the publisher, thank you!

Number of pages: 352

Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women’s Fiction

 Buy the Book:  Kindle | Paperback

 

Synopsis:

Better to have loved and lost, than never loved.

Paul Starr, Irelands leading cardiologist dies in a car crash with a pregnant young women by his side.

United in their grief and the love of one man, four women are thrown together in an attempt to come to terms with life after Paul. They soon realise they never really knew him at all.

The love they shared for Paul in his life and which incensed a feeling of mistrust and dislike for each other, in his death turns into the very thing that bonds them and their children to each other forever.

As they begin to form unlikely friendships, Paul’s deaths proves to be the catalyst that enables them to become the people they always wanted to be.

Rating: four-stars

Evie, Grace and Annalise’s lives are suddenly brought together after Paul Starr’s death – it turns out they were all married to him. As for Kasia, nobody actually knows what ties her to Paul. The present becomes intermingled with the past as the women say their goodbyes to Paul, and what starts as a complicated mess of secrets, lies and mistrust ends with an unlikely friendship.

With so many main characters there were a few storylines running through the novel and I liked how seamlessly their tales were waived together – it felt natural and authentic, so hats off to the authors for doing it like this. Each of the female characters was different and I really liked to get to know them and their background, and they were really well developed, strong and believable women. I might not have always agreed with their choices and decisions, they were full of flaws but still they were likeable and authentic. Some of them more, some of them less, some of them it was easier to like to hate. I think that Kasia’s character was the most interesting one, her storyline for sure seemed so – it was a subplot with a difference, showing another side to the story. Also, she was kind and warm, always looking for good things in people. Annalise was the most shallow one, I think, a little like bimbo who couldn’t do anything for herself and alone, always unhappy and whinge-y, but as the story progresses you could see the change in her. Evie wasn’t happy with her life, she was vulnerable and I think she was still mourning the end of her relationship with Paul, didn’t come to terms with the break, this vulnerability and fragility were really well described. Grace is a famous artist who also must move on without Paul’s support. They were all compelling, real and authentic and simply they made the book so special.
I couldn’t help but feel dislike to Paul, the smooth operator who always knew what to say, how to make a woman feel wanted, who sweet – talked them, wrapping them around his finger but in the end he was cheating and playing them. He kept so many secrets from them and his lies have caused so much heartache. And I also think that the women were really better off without him – at least they knew where they stand.

I enjoyed the way the book was written. You can’t help but have tons of question and you want to know the answers immediately, but the author really takes her time, drip feeding us with them throughout the story. Maybe this is why I had a feeling that it’s rather slow – paced but it didn’t bother me so much, as there was enough to keep me interested. The fact of Paul having had more than one wife was not the main point of the book in my opinion, but rather the mentioned in the blurb “unlikely friendship”. It was heart – warming and beautiful to see how the women became friends. They were suddenly connected, in truly difficult circumstances, and yet they found strength, which the author vividly captured.

“My Husband’s Wives” was a story full of secrets and intrigues, filled with sadness, friendship and family bonds. It was about finding friendship and confidence, a touching story about grief and how it affects people. And the author had a way with words, she can beautifully write about feelings and emotions and gave her characters very distinctive voices and beautifully balance the lighter and darker sides of life. Recommended!

 

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