A Bucket List To Die For

The most uplifting, feel-good summer read of the year

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.

Buy this Book on

You must sign in to see if this title is available for request.
Pub Date 01 Jul 2021 | Archive Date 30 Jun 2021
Hodder & Stoughton, Hodder Paperbacks

Talking about this book? Use #ABucketListToDieFor #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


Description

'Both heartbreaking and heartwarming' ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Amazon reviewer
'Emotional, charming and uplifting' ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Amazon reviewer

Lou suffers from a rare type of dementia and dies in
her fifties. She leaves behind a message in a bottle, charging her husband Joe with a challenging task: he has two months to reunite their patchwork family whose members have fallen out with each other.


Luckily for him, Lou has thought of everything and helps him along with a list of family activities and recipes. Slowly but surely, they all find their way back to each other:

Joe's son Cyrian and his two daughters Apple and Charlotte.
Cyrian's second wife who can't stand Apple because she isn't her own.
Joe's stunning daughter Sarah who has lost the love of her life and seeks solace in one-night stands.

But Joe is running out of time. Will his efforts pay off before it is too late? And most importantly: what's in the mysterious letter?

'Both heartbreaking and heartwarming' ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Amazon reviewer
'Emotional, charming and uplifting' ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐Amazon reviewer

Lou suffers from a rare type of dementia and dies in
her fifties. She leaves behind a...


Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781529356779
PRICE £9.99 (GBP)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (PDF)
Send To Kindle (PDF)
Download (PDF)

Average rating from 93 members


Featured Reviews

Wow! What a very poignant book. Really enjoyed the twists that lead to the final that explains it all. A fantastic insight into family life. Throughly enjoyed this book. Highly recommended

Was this review helpful?

With great thanks to netgalley for an early copy in return for an honest opinion. Firstly can I just say how outstandingly beautiful this book is, It's Harrowing poignant and so well executed. I could not put this book down, and a first time reading this author, I cannot praise this book enough, and recommend with pleasure.❤

Was this review helpful?

I really enjoyed this emotional book which really hit home for me as my mum has dementia. A lovely book. Thanks for the opportunity to read and review this book.

Was this review helpful?

Beautiful heart wrenching a book I could not put down.A tale of family not the sadness the heart break of dementia.A story that reveals itself page by page a story that stays with you an author I will follow And recommend,#netgalley#hodderstoughton

Was this review helpful?

What an amazing, up lifting book! Heartbreaking, heartfelt and a powerful tale of family and loss. Thiscis a book that will stay with me for a long time

Was this review helpful?

WoW! I haven't read a book this good in a while. The writing just flowed so beautifully. What I loved most was the characters. Such beautiful people. This book made me thunk of my grandmother. Who died from dementia in 2007. Really hit home for me. Absolutely loved this book and devoured it.

Was this review helpful?

A deceased woman leaves her clueless husband a request for him to pull their family back together and make things right. There are rotating perspectives including the thoughts of the deceased wife. The attempts of the father to fix his adult children’s lives is creative and clever, even when the machinations don’t produce what he thinks they will. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Was this review helpful?

What a great book. It's a little slow starting but picks up quickly, please persevere. A great book about overcoming everyday family issues and life struggles. Beautifully written and I love the way each section is titled with whom is speaking. A great easy read.

Was this review helpful?

An intrigiuing read. I am not a fan of books that jump from character to character but it worked. The island sounded amazing. As for Lou what a character and what a decision to make. We all want our children to be happy. I loved the tests for the mistress and the wife. You have to know all the facts before you judge. Apple was a great character and Charlotte. A brilliant story of sadness but the right ending

Was this review helpful?

Written originally in French, this is an excellent translation which flows beautifully. It is an emotional read of the love of a mother who wants to heal the rifts in her fractured family. The mother is Lou, the kingpin, the fulcrum of this family. Lou has early onset dementia and is determined to try to bring the family together again and gives her grieving widower the task of doing so. There are multiple voices in the narrative - everyone having the chance to put their point of view, wrong as it often is. While the wonderful granddaughter Apple seems more mature and sensible than her relatives - the only criticism I have is that her voice is at times too mature for her age. Even at 10 years old though she is larger than life. We feel her deep sense of loss of her grandmother. We come to love her indefatigable loyalty, her common sense and we feel her loneliness. A wonderful character.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you for the opportunity to read 'A Bucket List To Die For' by Lorraine Fouchet. I really loved this book. The narrative style was unusual but hooked me and I enjoyed the fact that it was a French book, set on the idyllic island of Groix. Each of the characters was well developed and I know the author hadn't originally intended to include the chapters of Lou after her death but she made the right decision to keep them in. My only negative comment is that I don't think the title is as good as it could be -the book is not really about a 'bucket list' in the terms most people would think of and it seems a little superficial to me.

Was this review helpful?

This is an emotional story and I am glad that I read it. The death of a parent, once the children are grown and living away, can be an event that draws the other siblings together, but in most cases I find that it breaks the family apart. Can the deceased make a plan while still alive to help her family stay together? This book is written in many voices. Almost every character has its own point of view being told. While I think this style of structure must have been very difficult to write, I personally did not care for it. It made the story line drag to me. I was only at 21% of the book read and already was feeling the story taking too long to unfold. I pushed through reading, since I thought the plot was fantastic and definitely wanted to see the outcome. I am so glad I did! About halfway in the book, I was so deeply involved in the lives of these characters. I was hoping that this fractured family would blend as a strong unit by the end of the book. I also adapted to the book style (written in many voices) and just went with the flow. When I was not reading, I was constantly thinking about this story. I was so anxious to get back to reading to find out what would happen. The characters (even minor ones) are created so expertly that I cared about them. The plot is fantastic and original. This is the first book I read by Lorraine Fouchet and I am interested in exploring her prior books. This seems to be the only one translated into English. I want to thank NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for giving me the pleasure of reading the advance reader copy, with no obligation to write a review. My review is written freely as a hobby, and is totally my own opinion, not influenced by receiving the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

This book is essentially a Family Drama .Set mainly on the Island of Groix,a beloved wife dies and leaves her grieving husband a list in her Will of what she wants him to do for her now she no longer can .Mainly this is to fix their grown up children's lives .The story is full of drama and of course Family love ,a most charming read .Many thanks to the Publisher ,the Author ,and NetGalley for my copy in return for an honest review .

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed this book and found that the language flowed well despite being a translation. The characters were well written and complex - i enjoyed the way that the relationships unfolded. Definitely worth read!

Was this review helpful?

A beautifully touching read about a man trying to get his family back together, following the devastating death of his wife. Joe and Lou were a couple truly meant for each other. They lived on the island of Groix, happy together. Both their children had moved on, and as is the way, fractures in the family dynamics threatened to break them apart indelibly, after Lou's untimely death. Her forward-thinking, however, end up bringing her precious family back together in a way none of them ever thought possible. Told through the viewpoint of several characters, the story moves along over a period of a couple of months, with some flashbacks here and there. I loved the character of Apple, the feisty granddaughter, who, in many ways, ends up being the catalyst for many of the changes. A lovely read. Many thanks to NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

This book starts at the funeral of Lou a mother of two and devoted wife of Joe. She leaves Joe a mission to reconnect with their children and make sure they are happy. You get the story from everyone's perspective even Lou from heaven. I wasn't sure about this book but the more I read the more I enjoyed it. The story pulls you in with drama, emotion and family love. It's well written with fully rounded characters with a lovely ending for all. Reviewed on Facebook

Was this review helpful?

I'd like to thank Netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for an early copy in return for an honest opinion. I absolutely loved the storyline of this book, and I feel a lot of people can relate to the content - a family at loggerheads, all trying to grieve for the loss of a beloved family member. It took me a few pages to get into the writing style of this book, and at first it felt quite disjointed and forced as they were using it to set the scene to the reader, but I quickly caught onto it's style as it is written as conversations between the many perspectives shown and Lou, who sadly died of dementia at a very young age. All in all, this was a wonderful book, and I devoured it within a day.

Was this review helpful?

An enjoyable read with a few twists and turns, an easy read for someone that is between books but still a good book x

Was this review helpful?

Lou has died at the age of 56 and left her beloved husband a challenging task to complete in her will. He is tasked with ensuring that their two adult children are happy. At present their family is dysfunctional and he has been a fairly hands off father so this is a tall order. Ultimately this is a tale of redemption, a bit slow to get started and using the multi narrator device, the it is worth persevering with.

Was this review helpful?

I enjoyed this book and loved the way that it was told from the perspective of all the characters. A true insight into what family life can really be like and that you also never always fully understand what is going on in someone else's life. An enjoyable read.

Was this review helpful?

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an early review copy. Lou is in her fifties, and she is suffering from a very rare type of dementia. When she passes away, for her husband, she leaves a message, in a bottle. He has to face a challenging task, in two months he has to reunite their family, who aren’t speaking to each other. He doesn’t have to think how he’s going to do this, as, his wife’s thought of this before passing away. She’s left a list for him, a list of activities to do with the family and recipes, that they’ll love. So, will they all find their way back to each other? He has a Cyrian and his daughter Sarah. For Joe, the time slowly running out, will he be able to reunite everyone? But the other important thing is what's in the mysterious letter?

Was this review helpful?

Like other readers, I struggled initially with the multi narrator writing style of this book and felt a bit like I was having to plod on to get to grips with the story line. Once I did, the characters were deep and realistic and I enjoyed watching the story unfold as Lou’s widow attempted to bring their family together. Overall an enjoyable read and I’m glad I persevered!

Was this review helpful?

Thank you NetGalley, Lorraine Fouchet and Hodder & Stoughton for the ARC of A Bucket List To Die For. This is my personal review. Lou is a loving mother and wife who is suffering from a rare type of dementia. She leaves her husband a message in a bottle that tells him he has two months to bring their family back together. The family has become estranged, and she wants them to be a family again. After her death she hopes the message in the bottle will make her family whole again. Lou has left her husband a list of things to do to bring them family back together. The story is written in such a way that the voices of many are heard as the family tries to reunite. The author did a beautiful job of telling the story to make me feel a connection with everyone in the book.

Was this review helpful?

This is an emotional story with grief, love, family, dysfunction, death and reconnection. Lou has a terminal illness and as she slowly fades away, she has left a list to be completed after she is gone. Lou has has given Joe, her husband, the task of accomplishing her goals of reconciling their children, spouses and grandchildren. They are a tough group and there is a time limit! This is definitely not an easy task and in the book, Lou interjects her opinion of Joe's progress with this chore, which I truly enjoyed. The story was a quick read for me. I needed to find out if Lou's wishes were granted. Well done!

Was this review helpful?

When Lou's grieving widow Joe is called in to see her solicitor, he learns that she has set him a challenge. He must help their fractured family to re-unite and help each other, including him. The various characters are vividly and poignantly portrayed, especially his two granddaughters whose relationship proves so important. to the plot. The setting on Breton island of Groix, where many families have lived for generations and everyone knows everyone else is an integral feature of the story. The author has a fluid style that works well with the multiple perspectives. Don't miss the recipes and fascinating 'Afterword'.

Was this review helpful?

An emotional read which I thoroughly enjoyed. A poignant tale exploring the upheaval of a disjointed family after the death with dementia of a grandmother who was pivotal in keeping them all together. I found I got totally immersed in the family's lives with their wonderfully depicted characters.. The book is written with several voices from within and outside the family and covers the aftermath of the death set in a few locations but mostly in the small island of Groix, which does exist off the Brittany coast from L'Orient. Despite the central sadness of the book there is plenty of feelgood warmth and even a touch of humour hidden in the pages. A delightful read and I look forward to reading more from this author, probably originally written in French as the author is French but flows well in English.

Was this review helpful?

Wow what a beautiful, beautiful book! It shreds your heart to pieces and then it puts them back, but in a better order than before. The first scene, when Joe (with a turquoise "joseph" on his shoulders) speaks to Lou, is heartbreaking, as is the one when Joe and Sara dance together to no music. This book manages to be tears jerking and funny at the same time. Wonderfully written!! Multiple narrators, so many I lost counts, but so well written that it not confusing at all. Definitely recommended! Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Good. Shows the effect of grief on a family and how it can affect people in different ways. Also it shows how we go to any lengths to make sure that a dieing person's last wish is granted. This book is also a rollercoaster of emotions.

Was this review helpful?

What a tear jerker!! This was a very emotional read and a beautiful story. First time I've read a book by this author but will definitely be seeing what else is available on Amazon

Was this review helpful?

Lou suffers from a rare type of dementia and dies in her fifties. She leaves behind a message in a bottle, charging her husband Joe a challenging task: he has two months to reunite their patchwork family who's members have fallen out with each other. Luckily for him, Lou has thought of everything to help him along, with a list of family activities and recipes. What a beautifully written story this is. It starts with Lou's funeral, She leaves behind her husband Joe and their two adult children. She wants Joe to get her family talking again. The story is told from multiple points of view. The book is filled with drama and love. It's both heart-warming and heart-breaking. Emotions run wild. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I would like to thank #NetGalley, #HodderStoughton and the author #LorraineFouchet for my ARC of #ABucketListToDieFor in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

Joe doesn't know how he will reunite his fractured family as his beloved wife Lou wished but he'll try the list she left him. Set on the delgihgful island of Groix, this is a story about forgiveness and reconciliation. Everyone (including the now deceased Lou) has their say (which can be a bit much at times). Joe's son Cyrian has two daughters, Apple and Charlotte, who are key to the story. Sarah, his daughter, is trying to heal but chooses the wrong men. It's a good, emotional read that sees a family face the ways things have gone awry and addressing them. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you NetGalley, author Lorraine Fouchet, and publisher for giving me a free arc of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 5 stars This book was so heartbreakingly beautiful. A journey for those who are left behind when their loved one passes away. This book follows Joe, a husband who's wife has recently passed. After the reading of the conditions of his wife's will, Joe is confused and angry with the stipulations his wife placed upon opening the bottle with the final messages from his wife. Lou's only wish is to have her estranged family reunited again as they once were in the early days of their marriage. As Joe goes about fulfilling the terms of the will, he is set on a journey of getting to know his grown children and what it means to heal the pains of the past. This story is told from the povs of Joe, Lou, and their children. Each character was well developed and had their own unique voice. The writing was beautiful and yet funny at times. I really enjoyed Apple, the feisty granddaughter. She was so spirited and went after what she wanted. I loved the messages of both family and grief. Grief is dealt with in different ways by the people within the family. These messages were woven expertly throughout this story that made for a very satisfying ending. Overall, I really enjoyed this story so much that it had to be completed in one day. I can't wait to read more books by this author in the future!

Was this review helpful?

I have never read anything by Lorraine before, but an ideal opportunity from NetGalley. This is a truly stunning book with some heart-breaking moments balanced with heart-warming ones.

Was this review helpful?

What a beautifully written story. This story is told from multiple points of view from many members of Joe’s family. Joe’s wife, Lou, dies and leaves a sort of bucket list for Joe to complete. This book shows how different people, of different ages, deal with grief and how they find their way to reconnect with each other. The setting was the Island of Groix and I’ve spent a lot of time looking at the cameras online since reading this. Lorraine is a new author for me and I look forward to reading more from her in the future. Really enjoyable read.

Was this review helpful?

I suppose you could call this a family saga , seen from the perspective of different family members (and others) , the main character is Joe, recently widowed. Having been a surgeon, he has had a life of working to the detriment of the relationship with his children. This book charts their relationships and journey through their grief with a Bretan island as their base. The past is revealed gradually. Mostly I liked the writing style, though some parts of the story seemed to be taking parental influence to extremes. Thoughtfully written, I did like the characters. I have seen criticism that some readers felt that there were too many characters, but I did not find that to be the case. Descriptions are nicely done . My one criticism would be that the childrens' voice does not always ring true, but not to the extent that the story is spoilt by this. Thank you to Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review

Was this review helpful?

This is such a beautifully written book. So emotional and sensitively handled. Lou is a wonderful character who lives on in the chapters and her challenge to the Joe and the family. It’s a reminder that despite all that life throws at you, family needs to remain at the heart of everything.

Was this review helpful?

A bucket list to die for... is a well written family drama about how Joe,a widower, is tasked by his now dead wife in her will, to bring together their family who have been separated because of internal strife, misunderstandings and plain stubbornness. The book is a warm hearted story and we are not left with bitterness of a family fight and knowing that that each person is fighting their own insecurity we are inadvertent left cheering on the family patriarch to resolve these disputes and get together again. Humorous, lovable and a feel good story which is definitely recommended. A good book to curl up and enjoy the weekend. I recieved an advance copy of this book in exchange for an unbiased feedback.

Was this review helpful?

Emotional, heart wrenching, this book had everything, Even though it was a little sad in places, I thoroughly enjoyed it

Was this review helpful?

Joe's wife, Lou, has died from a rare form of dementia. She has left behind a challenge for him, to reunite their estranged family. She has given him two months to achieve this task and to help him she has left behind a list of activities and recipes. The narrative is told through multiple viewpoints and spans a couple of months. The characters are expertly created and the plot is original and clever. This is both a heartwarming and heartbreaking novel. Thank you to NetGalley and Avon Books for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

This is a very emotional read, heartwarming, sadness but also happiness. It is well written, and told from the perspective of each family member as they try to come to terms with the death of their Wife/Mother/Grandmother. It shows how different people cope with grief in their own ways. It also shows how some family dynamics are far from happy. It was a good book, not one that I probably would have chosen to read, but I was invited to read an early preview copy. I am glad that I read it. Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for my ARC.

Was this review helpful?

I loved A Bucket List To Die For and was hooked from the very beginning. I couldn’t put the book down! Fouchet does a great job bringing each character to life after the death of their wife/mother/grandmother. You truly hurt for Joe, loath Cyrian and Albane, and fall in love with the island of Groix. The story from beginning to end is heartwarming, tragic, and happy. Fouchet has an amazing way of writing and twisting the story so you want to keep reading to know more and seamlessly ties everything together. I liked that the story was written as if each character is talking to Lou, who has recently passed. It reminded me of the writing style in The Push and I think that my be my new favorite style. I will recommend this book to anyone looking for a heartwarming story with some heart racing moments to keep you on your toes! Thank you to @netgalley and Hodder & Stoughton for sending me this ARC for my honest review!

Was this review helpful?

I am so glad I stuck with this book. I really struggled to get into it at the beginning, this was due to my personal feelings and not the book. This book opens your heart up and it's such a lovely family book which can't help but make you smile towards the end. I feel like this book shouldn't work with more many different character perspectives we read the story from but I strangely think it actually worked. It's a rollercoaster of emotions but one that's definitely worth a ride ☺️

Was this review helpful?

This is a well written, heartbreaking and poignant story that move me to tears and kept me reading. I loved the well thought characters and the tightly knitted plot. It's highly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

Was this review helpful?

Wasn't completely convinced when I started reading this book but I soon got into the rhythm of it switching between the characters so that they could give their interpretation of events. The family appears , for a number of reasons, which will become apparent, to have been a bit dis-functional during the Mother's life . However, they do modify their behaviour to each other after her death. It is an engaging read

Was this review helpful?

It was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. Gives you insight on what it’s like to deal with grief and the family dynamic of losing someone. Though I didn’t connect with the writing style and it was slow in the beginning, I do think this is a great book, especially for people who are able to relate.

Was this review helpful?

A Bucket List to Die For is a very well written book. Great plot and character dynamics. I highly recommend this book.

Was this review helpful?

Joe’s wife has died and left him with a challenge of getting the family back together. A different book to what I’ve read before, took a little while to get into but enjoyable.

Was this review helpful?

This book provides a refreshing unique look at family. After Joe’s wife, Lou, dies, he is tasked by her attorney with bringing the family together, as her last dying wish. His son Cyprian, has an ex wife, a wife and a mistress as well as two daughters from each marriage. Joe’s daughter, Sarah was left at the altar, and suffers from a disability. Joe tries to find out what will make Sarah and Joe happy, and bring them together. Subtle, but beautifully written, I really enjoyed this novel, set in Groix, an island off Brittany. The granddaughters, Charlotte and Apple, are important characters in the story. Thanks to NetGalley for the ARC.

Was this review helpful?

Love conquers all in this touching account of one woman’s dying wish to bring her fractured family back together. 3.5⭐️ The island of Groix, lying off the coast of Lorient, Brittany, takes on a character of its own as a setting for a mission impossible. Joe, esteemed cardiologist has recently lost his beloved wife Lou to the ravaging beast that is dementia, aged only 56. Her final request, one that is to remain a secret from the rest of the family, is for Joe to make their children happy, bring a smile to their faces and introduce them to the real meaning of love. By following her instructions the ultimate aim is to unite everyone together in harmony as opposed to the discord that presently keeps them apart. Joe has two months in which to undertake this challenging task and achieve the favoured outcome. How easy, or difficult this proves to be is dependent upon each family member facing up to some home truths and focusing on the positive aspects of each other rather than their foibles. I loved how the setting is so central to the plot, with so much of Groix history attached to the characters lives. It truly is the beating heart of this novel! The peacefulness of the island when tourist season is over, the sea that has stolen lives and the gulls that cry overhead alongside the intimacy of a small place where there are eyes and ears everywhere is imparted to the reader, sometimes beautifully, other times more bizarrely. This sense of place, its vibrancy and its bleakness, its isolation from the mainland left me feeling the immense power of seduction a setting can hold over a person’s heart. The love (and hate!) Joe and the rest of his extended family feel for the island is palpable with memories of Lou anchoring them to the past, refusing to relinquish its stranglehold over their lives going forward. Some appreciate the way in which Groix is woven into the fabric of their lives whilst others are desperate to escape its clutches once and for all. It is the ideal place for long overdue reconciliations to take place, with little or no distractions to derail the healing process and I enjoyed the quirky aspect of this storyline whose essence of hopefulness and happiness shines through. Yet reading this novel for me was akin to watching the tide ebb and flow. Some parts are much easier to read than others for a variety of reasons. The multiple points of view are distracting with too many voices fighting to be heard; I found myself constantly rechecking who was currently speaking in an attempt to keep abreast of developments. This interruption to the flow of the narrative is further hampered by the way in which the author digresses into irrelevant detail, bombarding me with references to musicians and filmmakers that washed right over my head. Of course that’s not the fault of the author if I fail to recognise and or understand the relevance of these musings, but it’s an unnecessary and unwelcome distraction. However I appreciated the sentiment of what is an uplifting storyline, even if there were occasions I felt completely nonplussed!! The author portrays each individual character well, noting the myriad of ways in which their grief impacts upon their behaviour and their dreams for the future. I quite liked this fractured family,a typically dysfunctional one in need of reminding that love conquers all, (I’m not entirely sure I agree with this sentiment but for the duration of the novel I was happy to go with the flow!) Headed by the distraught, all at sea Joe, whose fondness for conversing with his deceased wife in moments of uncertainty is a man on a mission, his love for this island tattooed on his soul. Harder to like are Joe’s son Cyrian, a terrible husband and even lousier father to daughters Apple and Charlotte and a jealous brother of his more professionally successful sister Sarah. Neither children are lucky in love, unlike their parents, with Cyrian’s overprotective wife, Albane the least likeable character, especially when compared to the stoic Maelle, Cyrian’s ex partner and mother of daughter Apple. Sarah, after having her heart spectacularly broken now prefers casual dating rather than embarking on more meaningful relationships. In a storyline that favours inclusivity as opposed to separation, as the mission gathers pace you view some of these less desirable individuals in a new more favourable light, a pleasing if predictable element to the tale. Perhaps the strongest voice of all, echoing from beyond the grave is Lou, her spirit guiding the family through long held resentments and recriminations, giving the reader a valuable insight into her personality that remains forceful even after death. But really it is the whipsmart, sweet and charming Apple and her not so innocent cousin Charlotte that are ultimately responsible for uniting this family. With only a finite number of stories to be told, this tale of redemption, forgiveness and reconciliation is relayed in a distinctive way. It possesses a certain charm, a tenderness and a poignancy that you would automatically expect from this type of novel but there were plenty of occasions when the author left me baffled and bemused. Hidden beneath the layers of peculiarity is a sweet gem of a novel waiting to be discovered if you can cast aside the driftwood and focus instead on the heart of the matter; love. In my opinion this one requires perseverance! My thanks as always to the publisher and Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to read in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

I wasn't sure what to make of this book for the first quarter of it. It is about a French family and the aftermath of the wife, mother and grandmother. The characters all tell their own little bit of the story and how they cope with this death. By the time I was half way I was hooked and finished it well within a day! I really enjoyed it and was very glad I kept going with it.

Was this review helpful?

How well you enjoy a book is highly dependent on what your state of mind is when you pick it up. When you pick up a book at the right time, it speaks to your heart. Thus, what might have ended up as an average read at any other time ends up connecting with your emotions deeply. Luckily for me (and for the author), I picked up this book at the right time. Joseph, a retired cardiologist, has recently lost his wife of many years to dementia. As she was just in her late fifties, he isn’t mentally prepared for her death and finds himself struggling to go on living without her. Imagine his surprise when he finds that his wife Lou’s final wish is that he spend the next two months reuniting his discordant family members and making sure that they are truly happy. Their family includes their son Cyrian, his wife Albane and daughter Charlotte, extending to his ex-girlfriend Maëlle and daughter Apple, and their daughter Sarah, who is determined not to engage in long-term relationships because of her disability. Ensuring happiness for this motley group isn’t easy and Joseph, who hasn’t been a hands-on father any time before, finds that his assumptions about his family’s emotional status quo are quite wrong. The storyline is very straightforward, and to a great extent, predictable. Each of the characters mentioned above has their share of struggles and are portrayed in a very human way rather than black or white. I love writers that do this. Reading too many goody-goody characters can be harmful for your health. :P I especially loved the way the granddaughters were portrayed with sass and gumption rather than plain old sugar and spice. What turns this book from a typical general fiction novel to an intriguing one is its writing style. Every single main character in this novel (YES, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM!) finds a voice in the story. So the plot comes to you from the perspectives of the parents Joseph and Lou (the latter speaking from the place beyond death), the children Cyrian and Sarah, their past and present love interests (Danny, Maëlle, Albane, Patrice, and Federico), the grandchildren Apple and Charlotte, AND three additional minor characters. That’s fourteen character voices in a single book! Yet, the book doesn't get overwhelming but helps you connect better to the individual behind the voice. To take it a notch higher, most of the main character perspectives are written in first person and addressed to second person Lou. This makes their stories feel even more intimate as they talk from their hearts to the one who is no more. The rest of the povs are written in third person, and you can sense the feeling of this narrator being an outsider because he/she isn’t speaking to Lou directly. The distinction is really well demarcated. One very special character in the book who doesn’t get an independent narrative is Groix Island, the place where the entire story is set. What a perfect setting it is for this story! You will find yourself longing to be at the island, amid the gulls, watching the cold waves thrashing on the rocky shores. At least half of the magic of the story is because of the locale. The internal conflicts of the characters are perfectly complemented by the stoic atmosphere of the island, its reliable presence an anchor to the emotionally adrift people in the story. The book highlights, time and again, the need to look deeper in people's hearts rather than judge them by face value and surface actions. Every single character in the book has hidden secrets, some of which don’t get revealed to the rest even after the story is over. The book isn’t perfect. I have a strong feeling that there is something major lost in translation here. The original French version, “Entre ciel et Lou” (Between the sky and Lou), has a solid GR rating with mostly 4 or 5 stars. The English version’s rating is vehemently clustered around the 4 star mark. While I didn’t find any flaw with the language used per se, I couldn’t help finding the passion behind the words missing in many cases. The biggest clue to this lacuna lies in the title. “A Bucket List to Die For” is a complete misnomer as the story has nothing to do with a bucket list. The title and the cover make the book appear like a chick-lit novel, which it isn’t, though it does have its share of humour and light moments. The book is a strongly emotional drama and those who pick it up in the hope of light relief will be disappointed. Another problem could be the pace of the story. It is really very slow and takes a long time to unfold. For me, it clicked because I’m in a state of mind where I can’t concentrate on any page for more than a few minutes. If you are looking for a quick story, this book might not work for you. However, as I said, the timing was perfect for me as the book suited my current mood. In a way, it was cathartic for me to read this. It’s a book that deals with grief, loneliness, friendship, health issues, family relationships (spousal, parental and sibling), love, death, trust, heartbreaks… It offers an emotional release for every mood without inundating your senses. So I’m quite happy with this read. It offered me just what I needed—a light, emotional read--without overwhelming me. I would rate it a 4.25. Thank you, NetGalley and Hodder Paperbacks, for the Advanced Review Copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Was this review helpful?

I wasn't sure about this book when I started reading it, but I persevered, and am I glad I did!! It was such an emotional story, from different sides of Joe & Lou's family!! When Lou dies, she leaves Joe to sort the family out, because they all have troubles, and he's left to make sure they end up 'happy'!! Well that is quite a 'task and a half' for him, and this tells the story of each individual, including the two little girl step sisters, their point of view, and their exploits, as well as their families sides too!! Quite a ride of sadness, emotions of all kinds, of a beautiful story!! If you're not sure to begin with, persevere, you will be glad you did!! I highly recommend it!!

Was this review helpful?

This story is told from the perspective of multiple people. Set mainly on the island of Groix, which is off the coast of Brittany, it focuses on a family who have just lost the grandmother, Lou, who is Joe’s wife, mother to Sarah and Cyrian and grandmother to Apple and Charlotte. Joe, a retired cardiologist, is distraught at the loss of his wife and the family lacks the ability to live together harmoniously and are all grieving separately. Lou leaves a request in her will for Joe to make their children happy. Cyrian is divorced from Apple’s mother and lives with his second wife Albane, who is Charlotte’s mother but is having an affair with Danielle. Cyrian is angry with his father and says he will not be returning to Groix. Albane dislikes Apple and sees her as a bad influence on Charlotte. Sarah is single after having been jilted by Patrice and has vowed not to go out with any man more than twice. On the whole they are a totally dysfunctional family and Joe will have a hard time trying to make them all happy but somehow they are all eventually reconciled because of Joe’s interventions which he goes to great lengths to achieve. The story looks at relationships between parents and their children, between siblings and between spouses and exes but the biggest focus is on the beauty of Groix which I felt compelled to find out about. The island is very central to the plot and is a place where everyone knows one another and support is offered freely. Although remote it sounds idyllic. The story is well written with some very complex characters – some are difficult to warm to but others leave you liking them very much, particularly Apple, Joe’s eldest granddaughter. The book is also quite complex but it is the sort of story that one could read more than once. Thanks to NetGalley for allowing me an ARC of this book.

Was this review helpful?

I AM THANKFUL TO THE PUBLICATION HOUSE AND AUTHOR FOR PROVIDING ME WITH ADVANCR READERS COPY OF THIS BOOK AND MY OPINIONA ARE NOT INFLUENCED BY ANYONE IT WAS SUCH AN EMOTIONAL GRIPPING READ LOVED IT

Was this review helpful?

Joe and Lou lived on the Island of Groix, off the coast of Brittany. When Lou dies, she leaves Joe a task to do - he has to make his children Cyrian and Sarah happy again. How will he achieve it? A charming tale which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: