Cover Image: Goodbye Birdie Greenwing

Goodbye Birdie Greenwing

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Member Reviews

What absolute gem of a book!
This book isn’t just about Birdie, nor even the other two main characters Jane and Ada. It’s about all the important women in their lives: mothers, sisters, daughters, friends. It’s about life and love in all their forms. It’s joyous and inspiring and uplifting even though there’s sadness. It’s one of those books that makes you reflect on life and makes you want to grasp it by its sides and live it to its fullest.
Beautifully written , you find yourself immersed in each of the stories of Birdie, Jane and Ada. I adored each and every one of the characters and the rich tapestry of life they reflected. Tears were shed but I finished this book with a great sense of peace and hope for the ladies of Shrubland Road.
Huge thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Random House UK, Transworld for an arc in exchange for a review.

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I had high hopes for this as I loved Dog Days…and Ericka didn’t disappoint at all. She’s becoming a go-to author for me and I hope she writes forever more about feisty, lovable characters and, of course, their dogs!

This book is about three women who have taken different paths and are at different stages in their lives, but they are thrown together - initially by proximity but then by humanity and strength and (sometimes begrudgingly) love.

I loved all the women but particularly Min. I often see Nan’s portrayed as lavender-smelling, cardigan-wearing, cuddly ladies with pockets full of Werthers. My Nan was not like that at all, she was the absolute patriarch of our family. Hard as nails and twice as spiky, with the biggest heart ever and Min reminded me of her so much. I am loving this representation of older women that I’m seeing in books - rebellious, strident, supportive, and not to be trifled with. From the acknowledgements, I can see that Ericka has the blood of these type of women running through her veins and so she writes them superbly.

I think Ericka is a real observer of people and relationships as she can convey how they work and the impacts they have so very well. That, coupled with her creation of imagery and environments puts you right there, you can see, feel and hear what the characters are experiencing.

There are laughs and tears within these pages, and they are bursting with what it means to be a purposeful part of the world.
4.5 stars.

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Dog Days left me with a huge bookish hangover and I gave Birdie a hard time at the start doubting the author’s capacity to make me feel the same again, but the writing quickly had me under its spell…

Birdie is dying. She lives alone with her dog, Audrey. Although she will need help to live out her last months she repells all offers. Jane and her daugher, Frankie, are close neighbours. Jane is a nurse who has moved away from her Mother, Min. Whilst she needed the space, she is feeling guilty. Frankie wants to be a taxidermist, she says it how it is and is constantly in trouble at school. Ada is a Polish doctor - a doctor who treats cancer patients..As with Dog Days the author knits these lives together under Brighton skies and their connectedness becomes so much part of the story..

The different characters and personal storylines offer so many ways to be attached to this story. In the early chapters i was particularly drawn to the nurses. If you have spent any time in hospital you will have noticed nurses. At our most vulnerable, we are so reliant on these wonderful creatures for warmth, compassion, care and humanity. Their physical and personal attributes are amplified under our gaze…I thought the author captured this beautifully. The hospital scenes were so realistically done and on a personal level the book tapped into a seam of old feelings and memories …

Ericka writes relationships so well, intuiting the dialogues and rhythms in marriages, friendships, families..I don’t read romance, but I do when Ericka writes romance. I loved the beautiful warmth and affection between Jane and Helen and in particular a ‘will they won’t they relationship’ which had me postivitly tingling ..

This novel is full of humanity. Whilst in part this is about dying, it is so much about living. Although I shed tears, I laughed. a lot. A gorgeous book. Goodbye Birdie. I loved you xx

With many thanks to Netgalley and Doubleday for my digital copy.

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I loved Dog Days, so was delighted to have the chance to read this lovely book, thanks to NetGalley.
Birdie Greenwing has led a sad, lonely life since her husband and sister died, except for the company of her little dog.. A diagnosis which will end her life starts the book. When nurse, Jane, and daughter Frankie move in to the same road as her, with their own secrets and challenges, Birdie’s life starts to change,and a little group of female friends starts to form and grow.
This is a really poignant read about female friendship, acceptance and love. I enjoyed the stories of all, the characters, irascible Min and kind Ada, who has fled her home in Poland and can’t or won’t go back are interwoven with the takes of Jane, Frankie and Birdie.

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I love books with unique, real characters where life isn't run of the mill and faultless. This one of those books. We follow Birdie Greenwing as she lives her last part of her life. She's been in limbo since she lost her husband and sister in an accident. We also meet Jane, her neurodivergent daughter, Frankie and her mum, Min. In the same road lives Ada, Birdie's consultant who came to Brighton from rural Poland..
All quite lonely people, but their effect on each other, during Birdie's last year will change how they see life.

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Goodbye Birdie Greenwing is the first book I’d read by Ericka Waller and proved to be a very enjoyable read. A great cast of characters and moving themes make this a book that is hard to put down once you start reading!

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What a gorgeous novel. We know from the first few pages that Birdie Greenwing has very little time left. Lonely and miserable since her twin and husband died, she almost seems to welcome her cancer diagnosis. However, a chance accident brings her new neighbours into her orbit and all of their lives are about to change.
Jane and her daughter Frankie have moved away from the confines of her domineering mother but little seems to changed for the better. Ada, who by chance is Birdie’s oncologist, has chosen an isolated life, too fearful of letting anyone get close.
Once the cracks begin, not only do they each other into their lives but also others start to take an interest and slowly their lives become richer. But are they ready to face up to some long buried secrets and embrace the happiness that could be theirs?
I loved this book, it made my laugh and also brought tears to my eyes. It’s is so moving and yet so honest about death. The characters are brilliantly written, it’s hard to pick a favourite and the supporting cast are just as fabulous, particularly Connie and her little cafe. What a joy to read.

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This was a beautifully written, and poignant book which I absolutely loved. The story is told from three perspectives; Birdie, Jane and Ada all of whom are facing challenges and harbour secrets yet feel unable to ask for help. A series of events take place which link the three and the author takes us on a journey as the story unfolds. All three characters were engaging, and well drawn ensuring I truly cared about the outcome. There was also a host of other characters who added to the warm Whilst the book was at times heartbreaking, the author also injected humour and ultimately the book was uplifting with positive messages of the power of family and friendships. This was a truly compelling and beautiful book and I am grateful to NetGalley and Random House for the opportunity to read this book.

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I’d rate this book more than 5 star if it were possible.

Birdie Greenwing, Jane and Frankie Brown and Ada Kowalski are all about to meet each other, not knowing the impact it will bring to their lives.
They all live on Shrublands Road in Brighton.
Birdie lost her twin sister and husband and also herself in the process. Jane and Frankie have recently moved from Bristol to start a new life, and Ada has moved from Poland, working as an oncologist in the local hospital.
The result of them meeting will affect them all in different ways.

An emotional and heartfelt book where the characters are all relatable in the wider world, and likeable.
Birdie, Jane and Ada, though all different in personality and lifestyles have at their core loneliness and some indecision regarding their lives.
Life and death, that very thin veil between them.
The book is thoughtful, caring, empathetic and compassionate. Sad in places, there were tears, funny in places. I loved Connie and her mugs.
Hope, and being educated by the lovely Frankie.
Lech and Aleksey, what a pair, a funny duo, I really warmed to them, inviting Ada to eat with them, and would have liked to have been the fourth wheel at their dinner table. Plus I want to try some of the Polish food mentioned. Must admit did look up on the internet some of the dishes or delights.
This is the second book I believe by the author Ericka Waller, I would now like to read her first book.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Publisher for an advanced e-book copy. Opinions about the book are entirely my own.

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Birdie Greenwing has been at a loose end ever since her beloved twin sister and husband passed away. Too proud and stubborn to admit she is lonely, Birdie’s world has shrunk. But then some new neighbours move in to the house next door.

Jane has come to Brighton for a fresh start, away from her ferociously protective mother Min. While Jane finds it hard to stand up for herself, her daughter Frankie has no problem telling people what she does and doesn’t want. Ada Kowalski has come to England to follow her dreams, but her new life is harder than she expected.

When a series of incidents brings their lives crashing together, the three find that there is always more to a person than meets the eye …

Really and truly, Goodbye Birdie Greenwing is THE most wonderful read. It is already right up there as one of my books of the year.

I have to warn you though - it will make you cry, and, it will break your heart, but, it will also put everything back together and make you feel that the world is just that bit nicer and more hopeful a place.

It's a beautifully written and told story, with lots of humour to balance the sadder bits, and it's perfectly observed too.

If you've read Ericka Waller's Dog Days, you'll know how she creates wonderful living, breathing characters who are extremely relatable and sometimes a bit quirky. How you take them to your heart and want the best for them. She has done this again in spades in Goodbye Birdie Greenwing.

All of the main characters in the novel are, in their own individual ways, a little lost and struggling to find the path in the changed circumstances in which they find themselves - and this is something they all need to admit to themselves.

This is a novel about feeling like you don't quite fit, so you compromise yourself to try to fix it, but this doesn't really help, and the only true solution to this predicament is the hardest and scariest one of all: being your true, authentic self and opening yourself up to others.

It means finding who you really are, not being what everyone expects you to be, and losing any negative feelings like guilt because you can't meet their demands and expectations of you.

And it's about opening yourself up to making friendships and building new relationships. Yes, this is scary and makes you vulnerable, but oh how it benefits and enhances life, and brings hope for a much better and brighter future life, as each character will discover.

A book about friendship and hope enhancing your life. No better reason to read it! I can't recommend it highly enough.

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I read Ericka’s novel in a day because I simply loved being in the presence of these lovable and contrasting characters. As I met each one I could see the impact they could have on each other’s lives. As the author takes us inside their everyday lives, their inner worlds and their pasts she looks at family dynamics, sisters, mothers and daughters, but also the whole question of being a woman in the 20th and 21st Century. In fact there was a point when I was reminded of America Ferrara’s speech in the film Barbie. It addresses the choices we make, the expectations placed on us within our families, by other women and by society at large. She takes us into that contrast of who we are, how we compare that to our internal and learned ideas of what the word ‘woman’ means. Birdie, our central character, is a elderly woman living alone in Brighton with her little dog Audrey. She lost her sister Rose and husband Arthur several years ago. She is stunned when tests at hospital confirm she has cancer, but before the doctor can give her more information and make a plan Birdie has walked out. Her oncologist Ada recognises that determined walk and the lift of Birdie’s chin. She realises that Birdie is going to face this alone and she worries that she will struggle without the help that can be offered. In fact Ada realises that Birdie lives on her street, so takes to walking past and checking for telltale signs that Birdie is struggling. Ada is also lonely after relocating to Britain from Poland. Used to life on an isolated farm and a very different society, Brighton can be a lot to take on. Despite friendly overtures from her secretary Denise and Connie in the WRVS cafe Ada is solitary, except for the time she spends helping Aleksey and Lech in the Polski Sklep. When a new intern starts on her team Ada’s teamwork skills will be tested, not to mention her social skills. Finally, there’s Jane and her daughter Frankie who have recently moved in next to Birdie from Bristol. Jane is struggling with the guilt of moving away from her mother Min, although her sister Suki is out in Asia just living her life as she chooses. They used to be so close, but now all she gets are emojis. Her daughter Frankie’s bluntness and practical nature might seem like a hindrance when forming new connections, it certainly gets Jane called into school enough, but could her lack of inhibitions and tact actually help them make friends?

There are two mysteries in the novel and I enjoyed watching them slowly unravel. There’s the mystery of what has happened to Birdie’s husband and sister, Arthur and Rose. At first I wondered if they’d run away together but Birdie’s guilt seems to have lasted for decades. The other mystery is what has broken the relationship between Jane and her sister Suki? Suki is distant and even when she rings to speak to Min, she’s very quick to end the call if Jane is present. Jane tries hard, sending her sister funny videos, memories of their childhood and information about Min but only gets emojis or a thumbs up in return. Each of the women have a sister and their relationships with them are fascinating. Birdie always felt responsible for Rose as she had rheumatoid arthritis. When she met Arthur and fell in love she hadn’t imagine she might have to make a choice, so when Arthur asks her to marry him she hesitates. What about Rose? Luckily Arthur had realised that the two sisters were a package deal. Birdie felt guilty that Rose wouldn’t have the same choices in life and whether there was something she did wrong, before they were born, that led to her sister’s disability. Birdie worried that she’d somehow pushed herself forward in the womb and take more than her share. Now Rose was ill as a result. Jane and Suki’s rift seems to date back to when the sisters went travelling together. Jane returned from Thailand with Frankie and moved back in with Min, but Suki stayed. They are very different women, with contrasting life choices but that shouldn’t stop them being sisters. Ada has a sister called Ania, but she has chosen a very different life. While Ada is saving lives in a different country, Ania lives close to their parents and is married with children.

I’ve never had a sister, but it seems as if they provide an instant comparison; they are the mirror in which your own life is reflected. Ada feels like the ‘bad’ sister, the one who followed her own dreams rather than staying to work the family farm. This choice has cut her off from the family in a way. She knows they sacrificed a lot for her education, so she sends part of her salary home every month and when she visits takes them gifts. She wants to show them that their sacrifice was worth it and she is doing well. However, this changes her standing in the family and while there’s no red carpet for Ania, when Ada comes home she is treated like a guest, placed in the best room and given the special soap saved for visitors. She feels like a stranger in her childhood home. She would be happy to throw on jeans and help with the animals but they won’t let her. It’s hard for her to accept these two sides of herself; the Ada who would happily muck out the cows and the Ada who wears a suit and saves lives. She thinks that her parents value Ania more because she made the ‘right’ choices and is still part of the community. Whereas Ada’s life is outside their experience and difficult to understand, her ambitions are perhaps unnatural as opposed to motherhood. Similarly, Jane had wanted to have children, a revelation that took her by surprise, whereas Suki knew she didn’t want motherhood. Could there misunderstanding be explained by this difference? Could Suki feel guilty or even selfish for not having children and making life choices based on what she wants? However, just because you’re childless, it doesn’t mean you can’t ‘mother’ people. There’s also a generational difference in the way they mother, with Min’s tactless and sometimes hurtful words seeming like they belong in another century. There’s a way in which Min and Frankie are very similar in character, but now everything has to have a label. Jane wonders why Frankie has to be pigeon-holed and defined in some way. Why is it always Frankie that’s in the wrong? She has a much softer way of mothering that ironically Frankie often sees as fussing and she much prefers the more practical attitude of grandmother Min.

Where Waller really moved me, was where these quirks of character benefitted someone else. Where even those aspects that you’d struggle to call positive found their place in the world. Frankie has no inhibitions and Jane is called into school when she gives a classmate a frank assessment of her braces, including the trapped cabbage. She doesn’t understand why the things she says are wrong when they’re true. When Birdie has a short stay in hospital and has the realisation that she might be in her final days it’s not medical professionals Jane or Ada that she needs. At first it’s Frankie who goes in and decides to help, making Birdie comfortable and making her some lunch. The two rub along nicely together, probably because there’s no fuss with Frankie and I understood that need for someone who isn’t flowery, overly chatty or phased by her illness. Similarly Min is the perfect carer for Birdie, she suggests that being of the same generation might make Birdie feel more comfortable and even Ada has to agree that their dynamic works. Min and Frankie’s help reminded me of how Ada’s parents would help their neighbours out. On her visit to family in Poland, Ada noticed how her mother’s farmhouse provided a quiet place for people to get away, like the neighbour who comes in on Saturday mornings to read his paper. This communal way of living is echoed by Aleksey and Lech who happily feed Ada; their fondness is shown in a practical way. Ada’s secretary Denise is stunned when, after years of finding her a bit of a cold fish, Ada offers her a home after the split from her husband. It shows we should accept people as they are, because we all show emotion and affection in different ways.

I felt like this was another book about connection, both with others and with ourselves. It’s a subject I find fascinating and I’m picking it up a lot lately in fiction. I wonder whether this is an unconscious response to the isolation of the pandemic. The author is brilliant at depicting those little inhibitions and we hear them in each woman’s narration. Jane hovers on the edge of a ‘huddle’ at work because she doesn’t know if she’ll be welcome or not. Ada doesn’t knock on Birdie’s door for professional reasons but also because she doesn’t want to impose. They all have to learn how to connect with who they are. Jane needs to learn to assert herself more, to accept her life choices and explore why she’s spent years of her life as a single woman. Suki’s guilt over the choices that were right for her stop her having a relationship with Jane and Frankie, but it was the right choice. As Ada compares herself with Ania she needs to see that it was right for Ania to stay near family and become a mum, but that moving away and using her skills to help others was the right choice for her. Even Birdie, who is the central character around which these interesting women revolve but she too has a lot of acceptance to do. She must accept this new vulnerability and need for help from others, as well as accepting she deserves it. Mostly she needs to forgive herself, for something that wasn’t even her fault. She has punished herself for years and it is the lovely Connie (whose collection of innuendo laden mugs rivals my own) in the hospital’s WRVS café who helps her see that while she still has time this is her time. While we still have life, we must live it. Whether we have months, days or hours left, we must live them.

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Another wonderful read from Ericka Waller. What a lovely book about family, friendship, love and living your best life.

I adore books that include found family and this one does exactly that with some beautiful characters and a story line which is emotional yet uplifting. Very quickly I was invested in each of the unique characters, all of them dealing with challenges and changes within their lives. Told from the characters' viewpoints it all weaves itself together to tell a story of friendship, love and community. I also appreciated the diversity of the characters, a spread of ages, nationalities and experiences which I thought enriched the story.

There are some really emotional parts to this book and the ending for me was perfect. There are some difficult themes discussed which I felt was done with sensitivity and kindness.

What made this a truly unique reading experience was the ability of the author to set up early on what was going to happen and although as a reader you know this is going to be an emotional journey, you feel the humanness of the characters and their love for each other which enriches the feelings at the end of the book.

I knew I was going to love this book and I will be putting in my paperback pre-order very soon so that I can keep a copy on my shelves to re-read whenever I want.

A wonderful story of friends and found family.

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What a delightful story. I really enjoyed the three main characters: Birdie, Jane and Ada and their various dilemmas in their lives. They all have their various issues and Waller writes with emotion and sincerity.

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Birdie Greenwing has been at a loose end ever since her beloved twin sister and husband passed away. However, being too proud and stubborn to admit she is lonely, means her world has shrunk. All this could be about to change though when she gets new neighbours in the form of nurse Jane and her daughter Frankie. Also living close by is Doctor Ada Kowalski who has just had to deliver some awful news to Birdie. When a series of incidents brings their lives crashing together, the three find that there is always more to a person than meets the eyes and remember that great friends are hard to find, difficult to leave and impossible to forget ...

Firstly, read this book, don’t hesitate, just go out and get this as soon as you can! Yes there’s hype around it but it’s ALL deserved. I honestly can’t fault this beautiful story in any way, this is a story that will make you laugh, make you cry and be grateful for all the relationships in your life. Told in Ericka’s beautiful writing style, I feel like a long lost friend is telling me the story, this is the unique skill she has to involve you fully in the story as you turn the pages.

You can’t help but think about this book, long after reading the final word and I know it is one that will stay with me for a very long time. I don’t have the words to justify just how special this story is, it is one that needs to be shared with everyone. I’m so grateful for the time I spent with Birdie, thank you Ericka❤️

“We honour the dead by living. We grieve by getting up, carrying on, walking wounded as we may be. We love by letting go”

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"Outside, the moon is on the move, the stars are all aligned. A breeze whisper through the leaves on the trees. Under their feet the earth is turning. Sands are shifting in the deepest abyss beneath the sea. A change is coming. None of the people on Shrublands Road have any idea that tomorrow is hurtling towards them like a comet. Best let them get some rest while they can.

Set in present day Brighton, we meet neighbours elderly and lonely widow Birdie, mother and daughter nurse Jane and autistic Frankie and Polish doctor Ada and discover that life's challanges are better faced together.

Having loved the author's debut novel, Dog Days, I was pleased to be given access to an advanced copy of her second. Resoundingly focused on strong women, some of whom go on a journey to unearth their strength, themes of grief, sisterhood and sociotropy resonated with me. I willed grieving Birdie, people-pleaser Jane and shy Ada to admit what they wanted from life, to be inspired by determined Min and authentic Frankie. Beautifully written and with a plot and characters that carries readers along for the ride, I was keen to know how their lives connect and what is in-store for them. This is an emotional and poignant read full of hope and joy.

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⭐️ 5 ⭐️

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

It's been a few weeks since I finished Goodbye Birdie Greenwing. I’ve been putting off writing this review because I know that my words just won’t do it the justice it deserves. But here goes…
I discovered the lovely Ericka Waller a couple of years ago after reading her debut novel, Dog Days. A firm favourite and such a wonderful read, I still think about it even now (if you haven't read it yet, put it on your list; you can thank me later!). 
Ericka has such a magical way with words. Her beautiful, lyrical prose and perfectly painted metaphors make you think, hit a nerve or two, warm your heart, and touch your soul.
The characters are all so well drawn and fully fleshed out that they almost jump from the page. The story features a whole bunch of strong, independent women with huge personalities. It was a joy getting to know each and every one of them and the relationships they shared with each other. 
Goodbye Birdie Greenwing is a bittersweet story of love, family, and friendship. It's uplifting and hilariously funny in parts, but it also made me cry buckets — I had to reread pages of it because the words went for a swirly swim in my tears.
I'm afraid I still haven’t done this book or Ericka the justice they deserve. Why are reviews for books you love so much harder to write?
Anyway, all I can say is: Read it. You won’t be disappointed!

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I loved it. I’d seen so much about this book that I was worried it wasn’t going to live up to the hype, but it did, in spades! It’s a very emotional book about the wonderful Birdie Greenwing who has just been told she has terminal cancer. Birdie is a lonely woman who has been living alone and grieving since the death of her husband and her twin sister. But things are about to change… This is so well written that what should have been a very sad book really isn’t.

Briefly, Birdie is given her diagnosis by Dr. Ada Kowalski with neither of them knowing they live near each other. Jane and her daughter Frankie move in next door to Birdie, single mother Jane had to get away from her controlling mother Min. Within a short time their paths cross and soon their lives become wonderfully intertwined. So much more I could say and so many more amazing characters I haven’t mentioned but I want you to discover them yourself.

A very character driven novel and what a fabulous bunch of characters they are. I loved them all for different reasons. My favourite is Frankie, a beautiful person, neurodivergent she says what she thinks and has some strange interests but she is the first one that really breaks through Birdie’s reserve. When she said “no she’s my friend” I almost bawled! A wonderful emotional read about people coming together and supporting each other when most needed, it was just a fabulous read and deserves all of the stars.

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This is a wonderful book, telling the stories of three women and their journey through loneliness and self-doubt.
Ada, Jane and Birdie are neighbours, although none of them know each other at the start of the book.
Birdie is diagnosed with terminal cancer and from that point the three women and their families lives get woven together.
Smart, funny and clever. A must-read.
Thank you to the publishers for this ARC in return for an honest review.

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I’ve read a few books with a similar storyline recently. Lonely person, finds new friend who helps them out of a solitary hole. Each one has been slightly different, and all just as enjoyable. I love to read a success story and I hate to think of old people being in their own. Lovely book - will definitely recommend it to people who like this genre.

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What a fantastic book. I became totally invested in all the characters. Single mum nurse who has moved away from her home town and feels guilty that she left her mum behind.
Oncologist who feels as if she only gives out bad news.
Birdie who received bad news at the start of the book. Neighbours who haven't really met but circumstances bring them together and they enrich each others lives in unexpected ways.
Inspiring right to the end.

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