I’m pleased to welcome you today to my stop on the blog tour for the deeply moving and beautifully written This Shining Life by Harriet Kline. Thank you to Anne Cater and Doubleday Books for giving me the opportunity to read and review this wonderful book.
About the book:
For Rich, life is golden.
He fizzes with happiness and love.
But Rich has an incurable brain tumour.
When Rich dies, he leaves behind a family without a father, a husband, a son and a best friend. His wife, Ruth, can’t imagine living without him and finds herself faced with a grief she’s not sure she can find her way through.
At the same time, their young son Ollie becomes intent on working out the meaning of life. Because everything happens for a reason. Doesn’t it?
But when they discover a mismatched collection of presents left by Rich for his loved ones, it provides a puzzle for them to solve, one that will help Ruth navigate her sorrow and help Ollie come to terms with what’s happened. Together, they will learn to lay the ghosts of the past to rest, and treasure the true gift that Rich has left them: the ability to embrace life and love every moment.
Harriet Kline weaves together the voices of a grieving family and paints an achingly beautiful picture of love in all its forms: absent, lost and, ultimately, regained.
About the author:
Harriet Kline is an author who also works part-time registering births, deaths, and marriages. Her short stories have won several awards and have been published with Litro, For Books’ Sake, and Short Story Sunday and on BBC Radio 4. She lives in Bristol, England, with her partner and two teenage sons. This Shining Life is her first novel.
This Shining Life by Harriet Kline is a deeply moving and beautifully written book that explores themes of life, death, love, loss and everything in between. It tells the story of not only a family coming to terms with the loss of a loved one, but also of the time leading up to that death and how everyone copes with the reality of a terminal illness.
Rich is a man who is enjoying a happy and fulfilled life when the unthinkable happens: he is diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour. And just like that everything changes, not only for Rich who has to come to terms with his own imminent death, but also his family who must learn to live without the man who is the centre of their world. The story is narrated by various members of the family, including Rich himself, and is a devastatingly honest and poignant portrayal of grief that moved me to tears.
The chapters narrated by Rich’s young son Ollie are the ones that stood out for me. Trying to make sense of his father’s death he becomes intent on working out the meaning of life. Surely everything must happen for a reason? So when a mismatched collection of presents that Rich has left for his loved ones is discovered, it provides a form of solace for Ruth and Ollie as they struggle to come to terms with life without the husband and father they love and miss so much. As they try to fit the pieces of the puzzle Rich has left them together, Ruth and Ollie begin to lay the ghosts of the past to rest, slowly beginning to come to terms with what’s happened.
This Shining Life is a compelling look at life, love, loss and grief that took my breath away. Harriet Kline’s writing is gorgeous, full of empathy and with an authenticity to it that never gets bogged down by unrelenting doom and gloom. Yes, this is a book about death and grief, but there are also lighter moments to bring a smile to your face, showing that even in our darkest days a glimmer of light can begin to shine through.
Harriet Kline has written a hauntingly beautiful book that I know will stay with me for a long time to come. She never shies away from the difficult subject of death and grief, but does so in a way that leaves you with a feeling of hope as you turn the final page.
An exquisitely written, moving and life affirming book that I would highly recommend.
This Shining Life by Harriet Kline is available to purchase now.
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