**We were gifted an ecopy of this book in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are our own**
One of my New Year goals was to clear my Netgalley list which actually only turned out to be two books and The Wish List of Albie Young was one of them. I saw this book being talked about by fellow book bloggers and really liked the synopsis so decided to request it myself! Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a copy to read, I hope you all enjoy reading my thoughts.
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…
Maria lives a solitary life, going through the motions of her day-to-day chores with a regularity that keeps her grounded. That is except for Thursday’s when she carefully takes her time getting ready to meet her gentleman friend Albie for tea and cake at the local cafe.
To see them together you’d be forgiven for assuming they are lifelong friends, but the reality is their relationship is conducted solely within those cafe walls. It may have been four years since Albie took a seat opposite her and introduced himself, but how much do the pair really know about each other?
Maria realises how little she knows about the man who brings light to her otherwise boring life when Albie doesn’t turn up for their regular meeting.; she doesn’t even know where he lives. Heartbreakingly it’s only after the discovery of Albie’s sudden passing that Maria has the opportunity to discover who the real Albie is when she finds his partially completed to-do list, which she vows to complete even if the final tasks seem insurmountable. Will she be able to complete what Albie started and what will she discover about him and herself along the way?
This story is told using present day with regularly interspersed flashbacks to Maria’s past which often threw up more questions than they answered; all adding to the mystery that builds throughout. Although this story deals with death and grief as it’s prominent story line it’s so much more. Yes there are are moments of devastating heartbreak and sadness, but these are beautifully weaved together with hope, forgiveness, friendship and most importantly of all the opportunity for second chances, to make a truly heartfelt tale.
The character’s in this book are wonderfully written, especially Maria, who despite not being in her situation I felt I could really relate to her loneliness andexperiences. I found myself holding my breath and turning the pages to follow her journey of self-discovery with the hope of her finding a path taking her away from the darkness she had been trapped in. In her pursuit to discover more about Albie’s past she meets a host of contrasting, colourful characters that all played a part in his life story. They really added something extra special as they each shared their own experiences helping add to the puzzle Maria is trying to complete.
My only slight niggle with this story is that I feel the page count could have been shaved a little as there were a few occasions where it felt some repetition was used that didn’t add anything to the story. However, please don’t let this put you off reading this wonderful tale as it didn’t have an impact on my overall enjoyment. If you’re looking for a book to take you on a rollercoaster of emotions then this poignant debut novel will certainly deliver!
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 on hazelnut lattes. The Wish List of Albie Young is her debut novel, and it promises to be a real heartbreaker.