I generally have a knee jerk reaction any time a book publisher provides a description that reads “A charming page-turner” or “the feel-good book of the year”. It tends to set up some pretty high expectations that quite often aren’t met. However, in the case of The Wish List (or as my cover reads: The Wish List of Albie Young), “charming page-turner” is an accurate description, and I was not disappointed. Read on to learn more about this sweet, poignant tale.
Many thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a digital ARC of the book. This post contains affiliate links. That means if you click on my link and buy something, I will earn a small commission from the advertiser at no additional cost to you.
Genres: Fiction, Women's Fiction
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Sometimes you have to hit the bottom before you can float to the top.
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 favorite 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…
The Wish List is a sweet, poignant, and heartwarming story. 70-year-old Marie’s life is so small and measured, each day marked with a simple task to tick off. The one highlight of her week was her coffee and cake date with Albie Young. He is the one bright spot in her life; she is very sweet on him but never lets him know.
She is marking time and not really living, outside of time with Albie. The news of Albie’s death turns her upside down. What she subsequently learns of his life – and how much she didn’t really know him -sends her further within herself. A sweet teen pushes her into action after Marie discovers Albie’s wish list. In the process of completing it for him, she finds joy and purpose again. She also learns so much more about the gentle and
The story is a bit confusing at the start; it is interspersed with flashbacks that let us know there is much more going on with Marie. These reveal a very different Marie – a woman who is strong, brave, full of life.
This is very much a character-driven story. Hummingbird paints us a very layered picture of Marie, albeit it, in very small doses. She engages with
Fans of Cecelia Ahern will delight in The Wish List, and readers who enjoyed THE STORIED LIFE OF A.K. FIKRY will love this book as well. Five stars for the quiet pageturner of a tale.