REVIEWED BY JULES ABSALOM
In a hospice in Bury St Edmunds, a man called Daniel is slowly fading away. His friend Maggie sits with him every day; she holds his hand and she listens to the story of his life, to his regrets and to his secrets. And then he tells her about the children he has never met and never will. He talks of them wistfully. His legacy, he calls them.
Lydia, Dean and Robyn don't know each other. Yet. And they are all facing difficult changes. Lydia is still wearing the scars from her traumatic childhood and although she is wealthy and successful, her life is lonely and disjointed. Dean is a young man, burdened with unexpected responsibility, whose life is going nowhere. And Robyn wants to be a doctor, just like her father – a man she's never met. But is her whole life built on an illusion?
Three people leading three very different lives. All lost. All looking for something. But when they slowly find their way into each other’s lives, everything starts to change …
Unfortunately, I just didn’t love this book right from the start. Although the first couple of chapters were interesting I had a slightly niggling worry that this book might not be for me. I am so glad that I kept reading because after the first few chapters I really didn’t want to put it down. However, this wasn’t the light hearted or funny book that I had initially expected. In fact, Lisa Jewell has managed to jam pack this novel with a lot of serious, sad, traumatic, emotional and life changing events for all of the characters. Nonetheless, this was still far from being a weepy read, it was also a book about personal discovery, family relationships and the need to have people in your life that are dependable and above all else love you for who you really are.
Personally, it took me a while to adjust to the continual changing character perspectives, one chapter would be about Lydia, then Dean, then Robyn or Maggie and not in any specific order, which to begin with I found a tad confusing about who was who and which story matched which character. I also wanted to stick with one character’s story to only find out that I would have to wait several more chapters for that thread to get picked up again. However, after I was caught up in the story I didn’t find that this was much of a problem and towards the middle of the book all the character threads began to come together and the story had a much more connected feel.
Although there were quite a few very different main characters in this book each individual story was well formed and didn’t feel rushed. I loved the characters of Lydia, Robyn and Maggie instantly as they were likable and easy to believe. However, with Dean we are introduced to him as he is making a mess of his life and some of his actions are difficult to condone, although you could understand why he does what he does. Despite this by the end of the book I was rooting for all of them all to have a happy ending. The ending of the book in my opinion was brilliantly done, but I am certainly not going to tell whether it was a happy ending or not. However, I will say that it felt like a realistic and natural ending to the story, which certainly didn’t disappoint.
I highly recommend this book, it is a story that although I finished a few days ago has still stuck with me and I am sure that it will for a while to come yet. At the heart of this novel was a charming story about love in all its many forms.
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