Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for this uplifting story. Thank you to Bookouture for the invitation to take part and to Bookouture and NetGalley for my copy of this book.
Sometimes you have to hit rock 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 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. Suddenly, she is very lonely. Without her Thursday friend – her only friend – she no longer has the energy to circle the 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…
This life-affirming and heartfelt tale is for anyone who has ever looked at their life and wanted more. Fans of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and The Keeper of Lost Things will love this poignant story, which shows us that for the truest loves, the end is never really the end…
Inspirational, heartwarming and uplifting, this delightful debut novel was a joy to read and is one that will linger long after reading.
Seventy-year old Maria Birch lives a solitary life on a rigid routine. The one day she looks forward to, the only day she breaks free of her self-imposed isolation, is Thursdays. On Thursdays, she goes to the local cafe to share a slice of marble cake and a pot of tea with her friend Albie Young. Until the week he doesn’t show. When she learns her beloved friend has passed away Maria is devastated, hiding herself away once more, until she comes across a handwritten note Albie left behind. The note is a wish list of things he wanted to do for others and has some of them ticked off. Maria decides to complete Albie’s wish list to honour her friend and finds herself on a journey of self-discovery she never expected.
This poignant tale started slowly and sadly and I was beginning to wonder when it would start to be the uplifting story I was promised, but I am glad I persevered, and after a while we follow Maria out of the darkness and into a lighter, life-changing time that was deeply moving.
When we meet Maria we see she is a lonely figure and that she lives for her Thursdays with Albie. He’s her only friend and we know she shut herself off from life many years ago after an unknown event that haunts her. She’s been overtaken by a crushing sadness leaving her broken, full of regret and feeling unworthy of love and happiness. We get brief glimpses of happier times in her life that slowly reveal the heartbreaking tragedy she endured and help us understand her actions. For me it made Albie’s death becomes all the more devastating in light of all she has already lost and I was fighting back tears. But Albie’s list gives her a new lease of life. In carrying out the acts of kindness she sees that she is loved, finds joy in human connection and realises she still has a life to be lived to the fullest. I loved this character from the start, the sadness and fear radiating from her made me root for her to find a better life for herself and I was invested in her journey every step of the way.
This was a wonderfully written story about love, loss, kindness, fractured people and what can happen when you bring people together. It reminds us not to wait to tell someone we love them, mend a broken bridge, to follow our dreams and live life to the fullest because we never know what tomorrow may bring. It also shows us that we matter even if we think we don’t and that there are people who love us and miss us in our absence and that we can make a greater impact on those around us than we ever imagined.
The Wish List of Albie Young is a touching, tender, honest and hopeful story that will leave you feeling determined to live your best life and to share in “The Albie Effect”.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ruby Hummingbird is a novelist based in the English countryside. She loves nothing more than writing uplifting and heartwarming fiction that gets her readers reaching for the tissues. When she isn’t storytelling, she can be found tending to her beloved sunflowers or sipping hazelnut lattes. The Wish List of Albie Young is her debut novel, and it promises to be a real heartbreaker.
You can find Ruby on Twitter at @HummingbirdRuby, on Facebook at /ruby.hummingbird.58 and on Instagram at rubyhummingbirdauthor.