The Wish List of Albie Young by Ruby Hummingbird
Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Published November 12th 2019 by Bookouture
About the Book:
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.
This book was so utterly entertaining, delightful, and heartwarming that I gave it five stars for the sheer story-telling pleasure it gave me. The Wish List of Albie Young is refreshingly charming, honest and sweet. It's pretty different to most of the other books I've read recently. Instead of angst ridden drama or thrillers, Ruby Hummingbird's story is playful and quaint - the definition of whimsy and threaded skillfully into the narrative is effective use of flashbacks to tell the story of Maria and her daughter.
This book had a little bit of everything: literary fiction with an interesting story-line and structure with themes of life-long friendship, loss, grief, romance all with interesting characters and I came to love each of them. They were all deliciously quirky in some way and I was loathe to leave them when the book ended. Perfect for those who like a gradually unfolding story, gently revealing in each page until the picture is complete. I can't believe this is a debut novel!
Thank you NetGalley, Ruby Hummingbird and Bookouture for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an impartial review; all opinions are my own.