Happy publication to Ruby Hummingbird for this gem of a book! If ever there was a story to remind us not to wait to tell the people in our lives that we love them but to do it right now, then this is most definitely the book! It’s a book about missed opportunities, ‘what if’s’, ‘if only’s’ and ‘I wish’s’. But far from being melancholy and depressing, this is an inspiring and uplifting story that will leave readers smiling and hopefully encouraged to go out and pursue all that life has to offer while making an added effort to make the time for others.
Maria Birch is 70 years old. She’s extremely set in her routine, and quite used to her solitary life, having shut herself away from the world many years ago. Except for Thursdays; four years ago, Thursdays became different when a lovely gentleman by the name of Albie Young pulled up a chair opposite her at the table where she was having tea in the cafe near her home and shone some light into her otherwise dark world. They’ve been meeting at that same cafe, at the same time, and at that same table for tea and marble cake, every Thursday ever since. Until the day that Albie doesn’t arrive and Maria’s world turns dark again.
But one day soon after that, Maria receives a call from Albie’s lawyer. She knows then, that Albie is never going to return. Reluctantly she eventually confronts reality and agrees to meet with the lawyers, as requested. She’s shocked to discover that Albie has left everything to her … and ‘everything’ is rather a substantial sum! Apart from that though, he’s also left a ‘to-do’ list of the numerous things he’d intended doing to help those around him whose lives he’d wanted to improve: people he’d met who’d poured their hearts out to him about their lives, loves and regrets, and some who simply by not talking had revealed what they needed most, allowing him to sense what he could help with … including Maria herself.
After getting over her despair, anger and astonishment, Maria has a sudden epiphany and realises that she can take over where Albie left off. Hesitantly at first (she’s not quite as confident a personality as Albie was), she selects the items that she feels will be the easiest ones to tick off this list before tackling the more challenging ones. Little does she know how her life is about to change or how she will impact the lives of others. She suddenly realises what she has been missing for all those years that she chose to cut herself off from everyone and everything and learns how bittersweet it can be to make that discovery without being able to share it with that one person who you most want by your side.
This is an absolutely beautiful read that shows how easy it can be to jump to conclusions about people and how we can look at others without truly seeing them. It’s written with sensitivity and a great deal of warmth. The characters are each given the detail and background needed for their roles in both Albie and Maria’s lives – some require more information, and some less. It’s delightful to follow Maria’s journey … almost like a caterpillar, emerging from a chrysalis to become the butterfly that she is meant to be.
This is a fabulous 5-star read – although try not to race through it (as I did!) Try and take it slowly and savour it. It needs to be absorbed and enjoyed for the many wise life lessons it contains.
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 on 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.
Thank you to Bookouture for inviting to tour with them once again – it’s always a pleasure! Look at what these bloggers have to say about The Wish List of Albie Young …
So … while the book has Albie Young’s name in the title, we never actually get to meet the man himself! Make no mistake though, he’s right there in almost every page.