I received this book as part of a big valentines package from my bestie across the pond, Stephanie. And wow it was amazing!
There’s a big life ahead of her.
Can she find the courage to live it?
Emma is twenty six- pretty, intelligent and happily living with her childhood sweetheart John in a cute little Dublin apartment. Her biggest problem is her mother who won’t stop nagging her to get married already. Emma and Join feel like the perfect couple, their future alive with possibilities. But out of the blue, a tragedy throws her life into disarray- and Emma is suddenly, incomprehensibly, alone.
As she emerges from grief, Emma’s has to find a while new way of living, and her loyal friends rally round in an attempt to help. Clodagh, Emma’s lifelong friend, with whom she’s shared everything from mud pies to dating disasters. Anne and Richard, more -or-less happily married and debating a move to the country. Emma’s brother Noel, the young Catholic priest, finding his own faith tested as he tries to comfort Emma. Seàn, the gorgeous bad boy of a thousand one-night stands, uncomfortably aware of his and Emma’s growing connection. Witty, acerbic, and sometimes downright shocking, Emma documents the stories of her friends and her own recovery from grief with a candor that engages the reader from the very first page.
It starts with Emma doing a pregnancy test and reflecting on her life with John.
It comes back negative and Emma and John get ready for a party.
And then tragedy strikes and to be honest, I knew it was coming, but I didn’t think it was going to be that soon. It was so so heartbreaking reading Emma’s reaction. It was like you were there in the room with her.
Everyone reacts in different ways to the news and they all go through their own stages of grief. Throughout the grieving process you see them all grow and you see Emma get back into the dating game… well okay there were two men and you can see that even though she felt happy, her guilt gets the better of her.
Clodagh has some bad news of her own and her own tragedy while Anne and Richard are moving to Kerry, even though Anne doesn’t want to go.
Throughout all this is Emma and Seàn’s growing attraction. They were good friends anyway, seeing as he was John’s best friend, but their shared grief makes them closer… But will Emma take the chance to be happy again? Or will she let the past take over her life?
I loved this book. It was brilliant and so hard to put down. It went through everything; from love, to loss, to grief, to depression, to picking yourself back up again and above all how to love again.
And at the end of the book you realise why its written in the style that it is.
You take all the characters to heart and you instantly are drawn into their lives. You want to know what happens, if they’ll get through all the trauma that they’ve been through and above all will the find happiness.
I cried in certain chapters, I laughed and above all I learnt things. This book has good life lessons too. It shows you that you can be strong, that you can love again and above all, that you are not alone.
Anna is a brilliant author and I would definitely read her other books. She draws you in to the characters lives and makes you love them.
To quote Emma:
“So this is just a heads – up on the four key things that my life has taught me thus far.
After night comes day.
After death comes life.
Even in your darkest time look around because you are never really alone.
You are loved.”
And you know what? She’s right. And after reading this book its made me realise that life will be hard but there are always silver linings.
5 out of 5 stars