The must-read book of 2019! Equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking, fans of Jojo Moyes, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and One Day in December will love this special novel by Drew Davies.
It’s me, Joy, your much wiser and (very slightly) older sister. I thought I’d start a new tradition of letter writing – now that we’re long distance.
On the plane over here, I began to cry in seat 21C. I think the magnitude of it finally hit me, after everything that happened…
I haven’t even unpacked yet – the only thing I’ve taken out of my suitcase is Harville, your beloved childhood teddy. Sorry for stealing him, but I need him more than you do. Every time I look at that little brown bear I think about our childhood. Remember that dance we made up to Annie’s ‘It’s a Hard Knock Life’? (Remember the broom choreography?)
I’m also sorry for abandoning you – I’ve always been your agony aunt, and a buffer in your infamous shouting matches with Mum. But I had to leave, Lily, I had to.
Anyway, I’m here now. I’m here to start over, and to face up to the past. I want to learn to laugh again, and to find someone to love who will maybe even love me back. You always told me I was just getting by, not actually living, so I’m finally doing it. Wish me luck, little sister.
A beautiful book-club read for anyone who has ever hit rock bottom, longed for a fresh start, or needed to heal a broken, aching heart.
Dear Lily was published on the 17th May 2019 by Bookouture. Many thanks to the publisher for my copy of the book via NetGalley and for inviting me onto this blog tour.
Dear Lily is a heart-warming read that will have you both laughing and crying!
Joy feels like she’s lost her way, she’s in her mid-30’s and split up with her long-term boyfriend – Joy is feeling the judgement of her age versus no husband/children. As a result, Joy makes a slightly impulsive decision to accept a transfer of role offered to her in Denmark much to the dismay of her parents and ex boyfriend.
Initially, Joy is extremely nervous about her move to Denmark and falls apart when she gets there – her fresh start doesn’t seem all it cracked up to be with some really tough times to begin with (the reality check of thinking the grass is greener the other side!) but Joy does start to get into her stride with a new country, language and colleagues.
Dear Lily is told entirely by Joy through letters to her sister Lily. To begin with, I did struggle with the concept of letters throughout but once I got used to it, I found that this a wonderful way to convey Joy, warts and all – we get to really see inside of Joy and go through all the emotions with her.
Joy seems highly emotional and this comes through in bucket loads – it’s clear from the start that Joy is extremely close to Lily because she reaches out in times of need, lays out all her emotions and is extremely honest in her narrative which makes for both hilarious and difficult reading! From the outset it’s clear that something big happened to initiate this gut reaction to move to Copenhagen but the reader doesn’t know what.
Joy is a wonderful unreliable narrator because we are only ever hearing one side of the various story lines and also, it’s not clear whether these are all the letters she writes or we are only getting snippets of the correspondence.
Drew Davies conveys Joy, her personality and her experiences beautifully through the entirety of this book – the reader literally goes on this journey with her. To the extent that sometimes you feel as though you have found these letters and shouldn’t actually be reading them as they are so raw and emotionally charged. There are a number of supporting characters that come through via Joy’s experiences who make for some funny stories.
I really enjoyed getting to know Joy through her letters!
Drew Davies was born in London and grew up in New Zealand.
He attended the Unitec School of Performing Arts in Auckland and won a Playmarket New Zealand Young Playwright of the Year award in 2000. After a brief stint on a kiwi soap, he has worked in Search for the past 15 years.
Drew’s other claim to fame is that Stephen Fry once called him droll. Either that, or he got his name wrong. He now lives in Wanstead, London.