Firstly I wish to thank Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for inviting me on the Blog Tour for When I’m Gone by Rebecca Ley
ABOUT THE BOOK
Because there’s never enough time to say goodbye…
Sylvia knows that she’s running out of time. Very soon, she will exist only in the memories of those who loved her most and the pieces of her life she’s left behind.
So she begins to write her husband a handbook for when she’s gone, somewhere to capture the small moments of ordinary, precious happiness in their married lives. From raising their wild, loving son, to what to give their gentle daughter on her eighteenth birthday – it’s everything she should have told him before it was too late.
But Sylvia also has a secret, one that she’s saved until the very last pages. And it’s a moment in her past that could change everything…
Sylvia and Paul were like chalk and cheese that everyone thought wouldn’t be able to make a relationship work but they had been perfect for each other. Sylvia was the one with flare and sparkle, carefree and the risk-taker while Paul was the sensible steady one, the rock in the relationship. They had faced heartbreak in their marriage that had been too hard for even them to talk honestly about but they had survived and were bring up two very different children. Their daughter had a sweet nature, a little reserved and gentle while their son had his problems and faced daily struggles. All of their lives were to change the day Sylvia found a small lump on her breast. She needed to prepare the family not just for her death but for life after she was gone.
I loved the imperfect Sylvia who wasn’t at any time portrayed as a saint, she had flaws, she had made mistakes and she had a secret that she had never been able to tell her lovely husband Paul. There is something of Sylvia in everyone, the mum who doesn’t always know best and gets it wrong sometimes, the uncertainty of her choices and the fear of what the future has for her children.
I loved how her family weren’t perfect. Sylvia writes a guide book for Paul and it wasn’t something that could ever be used as a template for anyone else. This was all the small things that were particular to their lives. The words to use to get through to their son, the special treats as bribes that work. The little things that make their family tick.
The story goes from past to present, to a time when Sylvia has died and the guide book which holds not just the things Paul needs to know but the things he didn’t know about her.
Beautifully written, honest, raw and perfectly flawed.
I wish to thank Tracy Fenton, NetGalley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
My debut novel For When I’m Gone is coming out in September 2020. It’s about a young mother with terminal breast cancer who writes her husband a guidebook to their family life. In it, she reveals a secret that threatens to change his perception of her forever.
The subject is obviously a sad one. Like my main protagonist Sylvia, both of my older sisters were diagnosed with breast cancer in their thirties. While they are doing really well (touch wood, a million times) I’ve witnessed first hand how hard it is.
But For When I’m Gone is also an uplifting read (I hope!). It tells the story of Sylvia’s relationship with her husband Paul – from the beginning until the end. It’s about being a mother, sister, daughter and wife. How our lives are played out in the little moments.
I am new to being an author, but the idea that people might read my work and want to connect with me about it is honestly my biggest dream. I would love to hear what you think of For When I’m Gone. You can find click the ‘follow’ button here on Amazon, or find me on Twitter or Instagram, where I share fragments of my life raising three children in Hackney, east London. I grew up by the sea in Cornwall and never expected to be raising a family in the inner city, but here we are!
I have spent the last sixteen years working as a journalist. I’ve worked on staff at The Times, Sun and Daily Mail, as well as writing a column in The Guardian about my father’s dementia. I’ve also freelanced for a variety of other papers and magazines, including The Telegraph, Psychologies, Mother and Baby and Grazia. And I write scripts for an animation company too.