Reviewed by Kelly Allen
Gina is in her early 30s, lives in the most beautiful house and runs her own business, but as Christmas approaches, she discovers her husband is having an affair. Gina’s husband, Stuart, has been there for her when it mattered most. When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, he stood by her and went to every appointment, dutifully making notes and asking the right questions, but once the treatment was over and Gina appeared to be well again, the truth of their relationship came to the surface. They were just very good friends, nothing more.
After the bombshell, Gina moves into her newly acquired flat and begins thinking about the simplicity of life. She clears out anything she doesn’t need and starts forming a list of one hundred important things she can keep in her new home. During this personal transformation, Gina also temporarily fosters a dog called Buzz, who gives her the companionship she truly requires whilst her heart mends.
Whilst Gina’s new life unfolds, she is offered a role to manage a restoration project – on her very own dream house – for a couple planning to live there once it is complete. Alongside mending an old house, starting a new life and earning Buzz’s trust, Gina finds the strength to face her past and move forward.
Amidst everything occurring around her – the good and the bad – Gina manages to realise that living in the moment and searching out the beauty and magic in each day is the only real way to live.
This book was very easy to get into, with striking visual descriptions, a strong writing style and interesting and lovable characters. Between Gina’s cancer diagnosis and her step father’s untimely death, as well as other tragic moments, the book can be a little heavy at times. I found Gina to be a very inspirational character. She never gives in to any of life’s problems, past or present. Her connection with Buzz develops over time and this part of the story was simply beautiful. Thanks to Buzz (and Gina’s huge clear out!) Gina makes a new friend, Rachel from the local charity shop, and their joint dog walks bring them closer and help Gina to heal more fully.
Rachel’s character is very giving and she listens intently to Gina, without judgement or prejudice. Her best friend Naomi is also a source of strength in the book, giving Gina support, love and also a gentle nudge now and then when Gina is being stubborn or hiding the truth.
My favourite thing about the book would have to be the Polaroid photo challenge. With the combination of the photographs and Buzz’s daily walks, Gins begins to see the beauty in simple things and the world around her, living in each moment as opposed to worrying what the future may hold.
The true message in the book is about living not fretting, loving and not regretting. It is an emotional story, but one that needs to be told and read to realise that life is far too short and that tomorrow might not even come…
Living in the moment is all that ever really counts.