Today I’m sharing another of my 5 star reads from earlier in 2020. This is a debut novel and I’m thrilled to see that another novel is due in 2021.
A little dedication goes a long way. That’s why Catriona Robinson, the country’s favourite children’s author, always dedicated her books to those who touched her life the most – not least Emily, her reclusive granddaughter.
Emily never thought too much about these dedications. But when Catriona dies unexpectedly, each one becomes a cryptic clue in a breadcrumb trail that apparently leads to her lost, unpublished manuscript.
It’s a mystery only Emily can solve. But to do so she will have to walk in her grandmother’s footsteps, into the wider world she’s spent her whole life hiding away from . .
Wow, just wow. This is the 80th book I’ve read this year (I was furloughed two months ago so I’m reading more than usual) and this is definitely one of my favourite books of the year.
I have a small confession. The main reason I looked at the book on NetGalley was because my own daughter is called Emily. I liked the sound of the synopsis and asked Orion Publishing Group for a digital ARC which I’m delighted to say they provided. My thoughts are my own and not influenced by the free copy.
This is a stunning novel which left me feeling bereft when I finished it, not because I didn’t enjoy the ending (I loved the ending) but because I had become so involved in Emily’s journey of self discovery.
The book looks at how Emily’s grandmother, Catriona, sends her granddaughter on a ‘treasure hunt’ after Catriona dies. Emily needs to learn how to be more independent, how to deal with her past (including the tragic accident which killed her parents and left her seriously injured) and to meet the people who met and loved her grandmother after she left the UK for adventures rather than marry young and settle down.
Each chapter features a different bird, partly because Emily loves birds, especially drawing and painting birds. The stories of Emily and Catriona unfold as Emily travels to London, then France and Italy. She believes she is looking for the ‘last book’ her grandmother wrote, however the truth is much deeper.
The strands of the stories are woven so well, including the use of the birds, the main characters are easy to visualise and feel empathy for, and the love of books is apparent (book shops, libraries, books). I will be treating myself to a paperback copy of this book – and maybe a copy for my own Emily (she isn’t good at using bookmarks, so we won’t be sharing a copy!).
This book was published in paperback in the UK on Thursday 28th May 2020 and I look forward to finding a copy at our local independent bookshop.
Katherine Slee has a Masters in Modern History from Oxford University and is a member of MENSA who left the crazy and chaotic world of investment banking to enter the crazy and chaotic world of being a stay-at-home mother to two children and wife to a workaholic husband. She grew up as a bit of a tomboy, with scars on her knees and mud in her hair, and as a result developed a taste for everything from Star Wars to whiskey, with a dash of ornithology thrown into the mix. When she’s not either reading or writing, she enjoys baking (with various degrees of success), photography and walking the dog. Her favorite place to be is on the beach in France, where the light is always surprising and the ice cream is the best she’s ever tasted.