Ruby Hummingbird comes to the blog today with a lovely story of grief and healing, all while following the ‘wishes’ of an extraordinary friend in
The Wish List of Albie Young
Maria’s world is very small, by design. After the death of her daughter, her world compressed into a series of days spent without interaction, a specific task for each day, friends and fun eliminated. Except for Thursdays – the one day she allowed herself a treat at the local café, a pot of tea, perhaps a slice of cake. Alone. Always alone. Until a man budged up to her table and her Thursdays became the highlight of her week. Albert (or Albie) was kind, made her laugh, and perhaps fall just a little bit in love with him. If it weren’t for her secrets – secrets she was sure would send him packing. But one Thursday he wasn’t there – nor the next, or the one after that. A call from the solicitor explained the situation, and Maria soon found herself in possession of Albie’s home and not inconsiderable fortune. All meaningless to a woman who had specific days for shopping, laundry, hair appointments and rarely varied her routine.
Fortunately for Maria – Albie had left a list of tasks that he was working on – and it was his wish that Maria finish this list – from helping the homeless Keith to redecorating the café, to finding a way to encourage a troubled, but talented teenage boy. Each of the ‘tasks’ required that Maria stretch herself and step out of the carefully constructed box that she has erected to contain her life and allow her to live without the highs and lows of emotion and loss.
Oh this was a lovely story with Maria’s tale of woe for the last 40+ years gradually revealing itself as she comes to grips with her own failures and guilt. It’s not that Maria is unfeeling – but very afraid of being hurt again, and shys away from interactions that may lead to someone rejecting her – just as she feels that life rejected her after her daughter died. It’s a slow process for Maria with many setbacks, but it seems that in trying to make amends for his own shortcomings when younger, Albie has found the keys to help others achieve their dreams with a bit of help. From providing others with an ear to truly hear them, to finding ways to ‘improve’ their situations – intentionally or not, Maria blossoms as she follows the list, finally able to free herself from the stranglehold that grief and guilt had upon her, and with the final discovery, a sort of happiness and a list of her own. A lovely and heartwarming story, full of emotion from laughter to tears, all with the spirit of Albie driving, coaxing and cheering on an often reluctant Maria who gains strength through helping (and being helped) in the most unexpected ways. A wonderful debut that will be sure to put this author on many reader’s auto-buy list.
Title: The Wish List of Albie Young
Author: Ruby Hummingbird
Genre: British, Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Family Saga, Friendship, Grief, Humor elements, Second Chance, Setting: Britain
Published by: Bookouture
Published on: 10 November, 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 10 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ IndieBound ♦ Google ♦Audible
Sometimes you have to hit the bottom before you can float to the top.
Maria Birch is seventy years old and, for her, every week is the same.
On Monday, she does her weekly shop. On Tuesday, she goes for a blow-dry. On Wednesday, she visits the laundrette. But Thursday is her favourite day of all – everything hurts less on a Thursday.
Every Thursday Maria walks to her local café. Waiting for her at one of the red gingham-topped tables is Albie Young, a charming man with a twinkle in his eye and an impressive collection of tweed flat caps. Every week, the pair share a slice of marble cake and a pot of tea.
Except, one week, Albie doesn’t turn up.
When Maria finds out what has happened, her perfectly ordered life is ripped apart at the seams. Suddenly, she is very lonely. Without her Thursday friend – her only friend – she no longer has the energy to circle the weekly TV listings, she has no reason to leave her apartment, no reason to laugh.
Then she discovers that Albie isn’t who she thought he was, and she’s left wondering if she knew her friend at all. But Albie has left behind a legacy – a handwritten list of wishes he never got the chance to complete.
Maria is resigned to facing the rest of her days heartbroken and alone. But fulfilling Albie’s wishes could hold the key to her happiness – if only she’s able to look past his secret…
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: