The Woman Who Came Back to Life by Beth Miller
It’s never too late for a second chance at happiness…
Pearl Flowers has been hiding away for so long that she has forgotten what real life is like. Her quiet routine in a woodland cottage in France is a sanctuary, far away from her past life running a beauty salon. But even when she is sitting at the foot of a beech tree with her drawing pad, surrounded by birdsong, her mind is never still. If she keeps herself distracted and far away, her past can’t hurt her… can it?
But then an unexpected phone call throws her calm world into chaos. Back in the UK, her estranged father Francis is dying. She hasn’t seen him for decades since he pushed her away and destroyed their family. And on his death-bed, Francis leaves her a gift – a diary, written in a code that only Pearl can understand.
As she begins to read her father’s diary, Pearl discovers that for forty years he had been thinking of her almost every day. And as she reads on, secrets begin to emerge from the pages causing her to question everything she thought she knew.
Reeling from the diary’s revelations, Pearl realises that the only way to heal and find true happiness is to face the past. But is she ready to confront her deepest secret, the one she’s been running from all this time?
This utterly tear-jerking and heartwarming novel is for anyone who knows it’s never too late to find happiness. Fans of Matt Haig, Mike Gayle and Camille Pagán will fall in love with this beautiful, feel-good story.
|The Woman Who Came Back to Life|
Families can be strange things and often when upsets occur, everyone has their own feelings on who is right, and who is in the wrong, that ricochet through the generations. Pearl is about to discover that even when it’s too late to talk in person, and even after decades of hurt, things can change, if you are open to those changes.
The raw emotions that Pearl experiences as she relives past traumas through her late father’s diaries, felt very real as I read it. It took bravery to open these old wounds, but with it came a different understanding of the hurt and pain she’d carried with her for her adult life.
This is a book that is packed full of difficult family situations, for so many of the characters, from divorce, loss and adoption, to forgiveness, reconciliation and love. My emotions were all over the place. With the sadness and upsetting situations, this wasn’t a book that raised my spirits, but it was one that made me think about relationships and how we treat those around us. It is also a cleverly crafted journey of recovery, where understanding and forgiveness lead the characters on to new beginnings.
Like Pearl, I’m happy to shut myself away in my French hideaway, but this book has highlighted the importance of extended family and the sad fact that since Covid-19, we’ve missed out on seeing our families in the UK. I found it a complex and compelling read, and once I’d started it, I had to know how it would end. It was also one of those unusual books where I couldn’t second guess where it was going to take me, and it was certainly different from many of the books I usually read.
I have been told that I write like a tall blonde, so that's how I'd like you to picture me.
I've published five novels. The most recent, 'Starstruck', came out in August 2021. The previous one, 'The Missing Letters of Mrs Bright', was a top twenty Kindle bestseller. I've also published two non-fiction books. I work as a book coach and creative writing tutor.
Before writing books, I did a lot of different jobs. I worked in schools, shops, offices, hospitals, students' unions, basements, from home, in my car, and up a tree. OK, not up a tree. I've been a sexual health trainer, a journalist, a psychology lecturer, a PhD student, a lousy alcohol counsellor, and an inept audio-typist. I sold pens, bread, and condoms. Not in the same shop. I taught parents how to tell if their teenagers are taking drugs (clue: they act like teenagers), and taught teenagers how to put on condoms (clue: there won't really be a cucumber). I taught rabbis how to tell if their teenagers are druggedly putting condoms on cucumbers.
Throughout this, I always wrote, and always drank a lot of tea. I'm now pretty much unbeatable at drinking tea.
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