Today I’m re-sharing my review of a moving and heart-warming debut novel which is published in paperback today. This is such a lovely book and is definitely for your summer reading list.
Something to Live For is the story of council worker Andrew. Andrew works in a department whose job it is to follow up deaths when people have died alone and don’t seem to have any next-of-kin. He has the unenviable task of inspecting the properties of the deceased, which are often in the most foul condition, to sift through paperwork trying to find a hint of a relative or any evidence of money which can be used to pay for a funeral. The thing is, Andrew is more than a little worried that he may end up just like those people whose lives and deaths he investigates.
Andrew is such a wonderful character. For all he seems to dislike his job at times and especially some of his colleagues, you can sense decency and dedication within him. How often do we hear in the media the story of some old person, often an ex-serviceman, who has died alone and there is an appeal put out for people to attend their funerals? Andrew’s conscience just won’t let that happen for the people he investigates and although it’s not strictly part of his job, he goes to the funerals to show respect for the dead. And yet we see his own loneliness when he goes home at night to his flat and his model railways. Andrew’s home life is not what he has led his colleagues to believe and he doesn’t know how he can ever tell them.
“Have you ever told a lie so big that you felt there was no way out of it… that you… that you had to just carry on pretending?“
Like a breath of fresh air, new colleague Peggy comes breezing into the office and quickly forms a bond with Andrew. He dares to hope that there may be more than friendship between them. However, he is terrified that his secret may get out and I really felt for him. The more lies he told, the more difficult the situation became for him to cope with. The friendship between Andrew and Peggy was so touching, the way they encouraged and supported each other through some very dark times.
It was heartbreaking to read about just why Andrew was keeping his secrets and the events in his past which influenced his decision. His relief when he finally came clean was palpable and it was cheering to see how people understood why he had done what he had done and supported him.
“I just wanted to feel normal… It started off so small but then… it sort of got out of hand.”
Something to Live For is about finding whatever your ‘something’ is and that something will be different for everyone. What is the thing that makes your life worth living, that makes you get up each morning, that brightens your day? It is an emotional read at times, yet full of warmth and humour and definitely uplifting. I was so pleased to hear that the book has been optioned for a television series and I am so looking forward to watching Andrew and Peggy’s story on the small screen.
My thanks to Virginia at Orion Publishing for sending Something To Live For is available to buy now in all formats. Please buy your copy from an independent bookshop if you can. It should be available to buy or order from your usual book retailer. Alternatively, you will find buying options for various retailer on the Orion website here: Something to Live For
From the back of the book
Everybody likes Andrew. But they don’t really know him.
They know what he’s told them – that he’s happily married with two kids. Living the kind of life that’s either so boring it’s true, or so perfect it’s a lie…
Peggy arrives in Andrew’s life in a burst of kindness and possibility. For the first time in ages, Andrew feels alive again. So now that he has everything to lose, can he risk it all and tell Peggy the truth?
A big-hearted story about love, loneliness, and the importance of taking a chance when we feel we have the most to lose.
About the author
Richard Roper grew up in Stratford-upon-Avon, before studying English at the University of Sheffield. He now lives in London, where he works as an editor. SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR is his first novel. It has been translated into 19 languages and has been optioned for television by Expectation Entertainment. He is @richardroper on twitter and instagram.
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Wonderful review Joanne of a gorgeous book!