One Last Time by Helga Flatland

Thank you to Anne of Random Things Tours and Karen Sullivan of Orenda Books for the invitation to join the blog tour and a digital copy to review.


Anne’s life is rushing to an unexpected and untimely end. But her diagnosis of terminal cancer isn’t just a shock for her – and for her daughter Sigrid and granddaughter Mia – it shines a spotlight onto their fractured and uncomfortable relationships.

A spur-of-the moment trip to France acts as a catalyst for the
three generations of women to reveal harboured secrets, long-held frustrations and suppressed desires – and to learn humbling and heartwarming lessons about how life should be lived when death is so close.

With all of Helga Flatland’s trademark insight, sharp yet warm wit and deep empathy, One Last Time examines the great dramas that can be found in ordinary lives, asks the questions that matter to us all – and ultimately celebrates the resilience of the human spirit. An enchantingly beautiful novel that urges us to treasure what we have and rethink how we live our lives, from one of Norway’s most distinguished literary novelists.

My thoughts:

A beautiful and thought provoking book about three generations of a family dealing with the terminal cancer diagnosis of Anne.

Anne spent years nursing her husband Gustav after he became ill. Her daughter Sigrid has a difficult relationship with her mother, and is a doctor, so finds it difficult to not ‘treat’ Anne. Sigrid also had her own daughter Mia with her boyfriend, Jens, who abandoned her when she was pregnant, who is now back in his daughter’s life after 18 years, putting a strain on the relationships Sigrid and Mia have with Aslak.

Despite the heartbreaking subject matter, I enjoyed reading the book. The family dynamics change over time as mother/children and grandchildren cope with the changing diagnoses as time progresses and they start to talk to each other.

A timely reminder to us to ask the patient what they want, not to assume they want to fight every fight or want company all the time.

Author Bio:

Helga Flatland is already one of Norway’s most awarded and widely read authors. Born in Telemark, Norway, in 1984, she made her literary debut in 2010 with the novel Stay If You Can, Leave If You Must, for which she was awarded the Tarjei Vesaas’ First Book Prize. She has written four novels and a children’s book and has won several other literary awards.

Her fifth novel, A Modern Family (her first English translation), was published to wide acclaim in Norway in August 2017, and was a number-one bestseller. The rights have subsequently been sold across Europe and the novel has sold more than 100,000 copies. One Last Time was published in Norway in 2020, where it topped the bestseller lists, and was shortlisted for the Norwegian Booksellers Award.


By Karen K is reading

An avid reader from the age of 4. Love escaping into a good novel after a busy day working with students. Mum. Adopter of dogs.


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