An adorable, beautiful and thoughtfully written novel that I read in two sittings. I would urge you to order your copy now for a book and be totally absorbed in this modern day family saga.
The story opens in 1988 with sixteen-year-old Lily coming out of their spare room where neither she nor her sister, Jess who is ten, should ever go. Jess confronts her, and a row ensues and there begin decades of pain, hurt and sadness.
The story moves to February 2016 when we meet their mother Audrey, who has just been diagnosed with cancer. She is moving from her beloved Islington to live with her daughter, Jess in Shepherds Bush. Mia, Jess’s daughter is helping her pack up and move.
As Audrey packs up her belonging she reminisces about her life, a life unfulfilled and how her family have fallen apart. Her two grown-up daughters, Jess and Lily, are estranged, and her two teenage granddaughters, Mia and Phoebe have never been allowed to meet. She cannot understand how it is that Jess and Lily have not spoken to each since that fateful day in 1988.
Once she moves in with Jess and Mia she joins a choir that gives her the courage and determination to tackle the reason that her daughters are not talking. She tries several times to confront Jess to meet with Lily without success. Jess is adamant she will have nothing to do with her sister and is determined that neither of their daughters will meet. The tension that Hannah creates in the story builds beautifully and you cannot imagine what has caused the breakdown in the relationship. As tensions reach breaking point, the irrevocable choice that one of them made all those years ago is about to surface. The characters are brilliantly described, and the story line that makes it a hugely enjoyable read.
There is humour as well as heart-breaking scenes in the story with a surprising twist that caught me unawares. It’s an uplifting story as well as a super roller coaster of a read and one that will grip you from the outset but keep those tissues close because you’ll need them. I loved it.