What a delightful book, I should have expected nothing less from the author behind the Anne of Green Gables book series I love wholeheartedly.
You can read the description of this book and immediately know the entire plot. Nothing is surprising here, and I’m definitely not complaining. As it were, I learnt about this book from a fanfic retelling which warned of “spoilers” for the book, but seriously do you think that a book like this (with such high ratings, to boot) would end any other way?
Valancy has lived 29 years without ever disobeying her mother or cast of truly terrible family members. She’s single, sickly looking, perpetually overshadowed by her pretty cousin Olive, and possessed of a seemingly limitless memory for a hundred thousand small slights that characterised her childhood. When she discovers that some heart pains are the sign of a terminal disease that will kill her within a year, she spends a solid couple of pages just recounting every person who did her wrong, in basically chronological detail. It’s…quite exhaustive.
But to my surprise, given the time period of the book (cars are new fangled devices and women still wear petticoats), Valancy actually goes and makes something of herself. She leaves her mother’s house, she poo-poohs social approbation and goes after what makes her happy, and basically lives her life to the fullest. It’s that movie with Queen Latifah, a series of Tropes and nevertheless super enjoyable. Definitely find this one if you’re looking for a short break from other novels, if you want the sort of HEA that gets you everything that you want along the way and isn’t entirely focused on romance–after all, most of what you’re rooting for is Valancy never caving into her terrible family once she’s well on her way.