Friday 19 June 2020

Life and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor @melaniecantor @TransworldBooks #LifeAndOtherHappyEndings #BookReview

Three letters. Two mistakes. One Last chance.
When Jennifer Cole is told she has three months to live she decides to write three letters sharing the desires, fears and frustrations she has always kept to herself. And at first she finds that telling the truth makes her feel free and liberated.
But three months later, Jennifer’s secrets are alive and out in the world… and so is she. As she discovers, sometimes the truth has a way of surprising you…

Life and Other Happy Endings by Melanie Cantor was published in paperback on 11 June 2020 by BlackSwan. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I read this when it was published in hardback last year, with the title Death and Other Happy Endings. My review got lost amongst my computer files; I found it, here it is!

A note from the author about the title change:

A few years ago, when I sat down to write the story of a young woman confronted by her own mortality, I could never have imagined that in 2020 we would all be facing the same.

Even when it was first published in June 2019, Death & Other Happy Endings was a brave title. But it perfectly summed up the paradox of the book and I felt proud to stand by it. Today however, with death and the possibility of death literally hanging in the air, the word no longer feels appropriate. And since the arc of the story is very much focused on life, we are changing the title to Life & Other Happy Endings, which, in a world where we all need hope, strikes a vital positive note.

And the book is positive. It shows that when faced with the worst, our values, the things we hold dear, crystallise, making us want to grab life with both hands. We see things in sharper focus from our friends and family to the world of nature that sits on our doorstep. Things we might previously have taken for granted. And yes, the novel does have a happy ending and in these scary times, we need to know that happy endings are possible and that life will always prevail.

Stay safe. Choose Life.

All very best wishes,


I think it's fair to say that this lovely little book was not what I was expecting at all. It took me completely by surprise; I loved the main character (she reminds me a little bit of myself), and I love the journey that the author created for her.

Jennifer get the worst news ever. She's told that she has an incurable blood disorder and her prognosis is not good; she has around three months left. She is going to die.
Jennifer doesn't have a 'bucket list'; there's no plans to jump from a plane, or walk across burning coals, or even eat enough ice cream to make anyone sick. No, Jennifer decides that she has to make sure that three people who have all played really important roles in her life, know exactly how she feels about them.

The recipients of the letters are, ex-husband Andy, ex-boyfriend Harry and sister Isabelle. Jennifer has a lot to say to each of them.

I cheered when Jennifer decided this. There are a few people who've been in my life who I'd love to write to, and whilst Jennifer found it quite difficult, going against her usual compliant ways, it was clearly therapeutic.

What follows is a funny, emotional and candid look at relationships and how these, and the memories of them can affect our lives. 
The author writes with a style and wit that is most compelling, developing the story and characters carefully along the way.

It's a journey of discovery and one that will make the reader consider how they might feel in Jennifer's situations. It is not downbeat, it is uplifting and hopeful. Moving and thought provoking.

Melanie Cantor worked for many years in PR and as a celebrity talent agent, and has dabbled in interior renovations, which led to her hosting the TV series Making Space on Channel 4, in which she tidied up people's messy houses.
She has since concentrated on writing: Life and Other Happy Endings is her first published novel.

She has two grown up sons and lives in London with her dog, Mabel.

Twitter @melaniecantor

No comments:

Post a Comment