What an absolutely beautiful book. One of those stories that you read and you find yourself saying “Aaaaaaah …”!
Billy is ten years old. He’s not a happy soul. He’s been uprooted from the life he knows, literally overnight. Taken out of school, away from his best friend Liam, and from his Dad without any reason that he knows of. He’s in a strange place without any of his familiar things and worst of all, his Mom has to work, which means he can’t stay home on his own after school and has to go and stay with the grouchy old lady next door. He’d much rather do his own thing, but it’s rather frowned upon for little boys of his age to be left at home on their own, unsupervised.
Elsie is 62. She’s set in her ways and is quite content (I wouldn’t call it ‘happy’) to hide away in her house with her set routines written on her chalkboard, tea in her special tea-pot, custard creams and jigsaw puzzles. She’s used to her own company and doesn’t think anything of making the odd remark or two to her dead mother who used to share the house with her. So she’s not quite prepared for a ten-year-old boy to throw her orderly world off its axis.
Billy and Elsie’s worlds are about to collide and neither are prepared for the changes that this will bring.
Billy crashes into Elsie’s life in the way that all curious little boys will do. He’s inquisitive and energetic, but he has a sensitive side too and Elsie is surprised to find herself warming to him, especially when she sees how unhappy he is at school. As they slowly get to know about each other and Elsie realises how much of herself she’s tucked away and hidden from the world she wonders if she still has a chance to find the happiness that was so cruelly taken away from her many years ago. She swore she would never allow herself to feel for anyone every again. She’s only ever been hurt by the ones she loved, but this child creeps his way into her heart until she believes that it might be possible to come out of the shell she retreated into so long ago.
This is such a moving story that will pull at your heartstrings. You will want to wrap your arms around both Elsie and Billy as they learn to nurture both themselves and each other in a world that is not always kind, but that sends you people who show kindness, care and love when you are most in need of it.
As Elsie learns to navigate life outside the four walls of her home, interacting with people, rather than avoiding them, approaching challenges, rather than avoiding them, she also helps Billy to understand what it is that has led his mother to make the decision to start a new life away from a man she has come to fear. And Billy realises that as much as he denied it, he knew deep down all along why they had to leave.
Sometimes friendship comes from the most unexpected people in the most obscure places, but it brings sunshine into your life and changes your world for the better.
Ruby Hummingbird just has the knack of writing books that put a smile on your face. If you haven’t yet read The Wish List of Albie Young, then I suggest that you do so, because it is one of the most charming and uplifting books you’ll ever have the pleasure of reading. She writes about sadness being turned into opportunity and inspiration not only to the person who is despondent but to those around them, whose lives that person ends up touching and improving.
Once again Ruby has produced a 5-star read that will leave you with that warm and fuzzy feeling. It’s about connection, understanding, empathy, authenticity and heart. Thank you Bookouture for inviting me along for yet another cracker of a blog tour. Take a look at what other bloggers are saying about The Garden of Lost Memories …
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.
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