Utterly heartbreaking. (4.5 stars)
Source- review copy
Due for publication by Head of Zeus on 17th July.
The paperback edition is 368 pages.
OH THE FEELINGS. THE FEELINGS. My poor broken little heart has been well and truly ripped out and smeared all over the walls.
I knew from the blub-worthy sounding summary that this was going to be a real tear-jerker but I wasn’t in all honesty prepared for a novel that had me sobbing in a way that no book has since The Green Mile.
Yes, that’s right: The Green Mile.
You have been warned.
If you are intending to read this book then you will certainly need some tissues on standby.
And if you don’t use those tissues, then WHAT ON EARTH IS WRONG WITH YOU?
Fans of Amanda Prowse will be delighted to catch up with Poppy Day and her soldier husband Martin, who first made an appearance in the bestselling Poppy Day back in 2012. Following the storming success of that book, Prowse is back with this riveting sequel of love and family which was a one-sitting read for me. I couldn’t put it down, even towards the end when it had me rocking backwards and forwards and wailing into a cushion cover like an imbecile. I’d suggest that you don’t read this book in a public place. I’m very glad I didn’t read this on my commute to the office.
Admission: I’ve not read Poppy Day yet even though I have it on my (broken) Kindle with one of her other books, and now that I’ve read this, I’m not sure if I could go back and even start it, knowing what happens in this one- this book moved me that much. Its characters are still resonating with me, days after I finished it and I know this is safely going to be one of my top reads of the year.
Happily though, Will You Remember Me? can be enjoyed as a satisfying standalone read, though I do wish I’d been able to read Poppy Day first. Stupid Kindle. That’s the last time I’ll mention it for a while, promise. Also, some characters from What Have I Done? make a very welcome appearance in here- a book I loved a last year from Amanda, which was great to see. The author ties all of her characters together beautifully- and realistically.
After she is reunited with her soldier husband Martin, Poppy Day knows that this Christmas will be just perfect. He is back from Afghanistan and the two of them and their young children are spending their first family Christmas together in years.
When Poppy discovers a lump in her breast however, she tries to dismiss her worst fears- and even the doctors devastating diagnosis that she has cancer; she has fought tough battles in the past- surely this is another one that she can win?
I think for me one of the strongest points of this novel were its characters- all of whom were extraordinarily well developed and believable. Even without reading its predecessor, I got an immediate sense of the kind of person Poppy was and the strong relationship between her and Martin. They have the type of strong marriage that some people spend their whole lives searching for- and two beautiful children who adore their mum. Knowing that Poppy has been afflicted by a disease that will rip apart everything they have is just so utterly devastating and unfair, especially when they have battled so hard already. Poppy may not get to see her children grow up and Martin could lose his soul-mate. Seeing them come to terms with the nature of her illness literally broke my heart. Though I’ve lost people close to me, I cannot imagine how terrifying it must be to see someone you love go through something so painful and know that there is absolutely nothing you can do to prevent it.
Poppy’s children were well-drawn too. Sometimes I genuinely despise children in fiction as they aren’t particularly realistic, but in this instance I adored the talkative Peg and cutie Max, obsessed with counting. They were little stars in this story and portrayed in such a sincere manner. I loved some of the secondary characters too- the aforementioned ones from What Have I Done? who made their reappearance, and some that I’m sure readers will recognise from Poppy Day who have welcome cameos. Friendships and relationship dramas are woven together skilfully as the novel reaches its conclusion.
Bloody hell. I am actually tearing up again as I write this review thinking of little Peg and Max.
Despite the complex subject matter, this book was incredibly well written, though perhaps a little slow at first as it set the scene and introduced (or reintroduced in some cases) its characters. Though you know what’s coming having read the summary, when it actually happens it is still no less devastating. Poppy and Martin’s seemingly perfect lives are shattered in an instant and the rest of the novel is taken up with them trying to deal with the news and make plans. You witness her going through bouts of treatment to try and slow the disease and suffer through her humiliations and indignities as the breast cancer tightens its grip on her. Again, this was heartbreaking to read about and may affect readers who have been in similar situations themselves- just a subtle warning that this book may not be for everyone.
After some really emotional blows and twists and turns throughout, the ending of this book was genuinely lovely- if that isn’t a weird notion, considering the theme of the story, but believe me, you need to experience it for yourselves. If anything, the message that I have taken away from this book is one of Poppy’s own mottos: “don’t sweat the small stuff.” Because really, is it worth getting upset about insignificant, trivial little matters when at the end of the day, there are so many other important things going on in the world?
Heart-warming, beautiful and sincere (not to mention utterly emotionally draining), Will You Remember Me? is a novel I can unequivocally recommend to fans of both romantic and contemporary fiction and it deserves to be another bestseller for Prowse- though please, please don’t forget those tissues.
**I’m also delighted to announce that later on this week (Sunday 20th July) I will be taking part in a blog tour for Amanda’s new short story Hot Chocolate and Teacakes– also featuring the wonderful Poppy and Martin. The tour kicked off yesterday and fans can read the first part of that story here and then follow the links to other blogs to continue the tale. Excerpts from Amanda’s story are being posted every day so be sure not to miss it!**
Lastly, I would like to thank Midas PR for sending me a copy of this book for review…. Thanks for the tears, guys!