Release date: November 28, 2017
From the author of the highly acclaimed The Railwayman’s Wife, called a “literary and literate gem” by Psychology Today, comes an emotionally resonant and profound new novel of two families, interconnected through the house that bears witness to their lives.
When Elsie Gormley leaves the Brisbane house in which she has lived for more than sixty years, Lucy Kiss and her family move in, eager to establish their new life. As they settle in, Lucy and her husband Ben struggle to navigate their transformation from adventurous lovers to new parents, taking comfort in memories of their vibrant past as they begin to unearth who their future selves might be. But the house has secrets of its own, and the rooms seem to share recollections of Elsie’s life with Lucy.
In her nearby nursing home, Elsie traces the span of her life—the moments she can’t bear to let go and the places to which she dreams of returning. Her beloved former house is at the heart of her memories of marriage, motherhood, love, and death, and the boundary between present and past becomes increasingly porous for both her and Lucy.
Over the course of one hot Brisbane summer, two families’ stories intersect in sudden and unexpected ways. Through the richly intertwined narratives of two ordinary, extraordinary women, Ashley Hay uses her “lyrical prose, poetic dialogue, and stunning imagery” (RT magazine) to weave an intricate, bighearted story of what it is to be human.
I’m so excited to be one of the stops on the blog tour for A Hundred Small Lessons today! Check out TLC Book Tours for the full schedule.
This is told via alternate perspectives from Elsie and Lucy. Eighty eight year old Elsie is forced to move out of her home after she falls and Lucy is the woman who buys her home. There was something poignant and touching about one woman leaving one of the only homes she’s ever known as another younger woman moves in. Both of them were highly complex characters, this book is very character driven to the point where the plot almost takes a back seat as it’s not as important, what matters is Elsie and Lucy’s feelings, insecurities and struggles.
There was something about this one that spoke to me, maybe because one of its biggest themes is motherhood and I could wholeheartedly relate to many of the struggles the two women faced. I think most mothers have struggled with not wholly defining themselves through their children and also being too hard on themselves in order to be a perfect mother. Hay writes beautifully, her prose is gentle, lyrical and there’s a quiet confidence to her writing style. Mothers at any stage in their life could relate to and enjoy this one, recommended for a day where you want to escape with a moving story.
Overall rating: 4/5
Thanks to TLC Book Tours and the publisher for my review copy.
About the Author:
Ashley Hay is the internationally acclaimed author of the novels The Body in the Clouds and The Railwayman’s Wife, which was honored with the Colin Roderick Award by the Foundation for Australian Literary Studies and longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the most prestigious literary prize in Australia, among numerous other accolades. She has also written four nonfiction books. She lives in Brisbane, Australia.
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