Handing the blog over to Christine today who shares her review for Ten Birthdays.
“There are going to be so many things I wish I could’ve told you in person, Poppy. I won’t get the chance to do that, so perhaps this is my only way…”
It’s Poppy Kinsey’s birthday.
She should be blowing out candles and opening presents – but hers falls on the type of heart-wrenching, agonising anniversary she would far rather forget.
The worst day of them all. The day her mother died.
But this year is special because the person she misses most in the world has left her a set of letters, one for each of her next ten birthdays.
As Poppy opens them year by year, she discovers that no matter how tough life gets, her mum will always be by her side, guiding her along the way.
Gosh, I hated to see this end—such a sweet story! I have just recently discovered Kerry Wilkinson as he has within the past year signed on with one of my favorite publishing houses Bookouture. He appears to be quite versatile, writing crime fiction, fantasy, dystopian/science fiction, and now real life stuff. Most of his novels are crime fiction, with two series ongoing. He is really prolific for a younger author; for example, his Jessica Daniel series has eleven installments already. He also has five books coming out in the next year, including four standalones. Ten Birthdays is a nice change of pace for Mr. Wilkinson, something very different from all of his other books. I am a big crime fiction/thriller fan and loved the first book in the Jessica Daniel series. I am also fascinated with authors who can successfully write in different genres so thought I would give this one a go.
The protagonist of Ten Birthdays is Poppy Kinsey, age 16 at the start of the story. This is a shorter novel and consists of 10 chapters, each one focusing on Poppy’s birthday between ages 16 and 25. Poppy’s mum died on her daughter’s 15th birthday. She left Poppy 10 letters, one to be read on each of her next 10 birthdays. What we get are 10 slices of Poppy’s life, each accompanied by a thoughtful note from her deceased mum who continues to guide her daughter with sage advice regarding this difficult thing called life.
It was so fun to watch Poppy grow and mature in her thoughts, her relationships, and her confidence. And to follow her journey with those most important to her—her two best friends, Mark and Freya, and her father. I must say, Mr. Wilkinson does an excellent job portraying thoughts, gestures, and talk of older teens and young women. He nails their emotions beautifully. The author states in a letter to the reader at the end of the book that many of Poppy’s thoughts and experiences are his own, which made the book all that more endearing to me.
One small criticism I have is that I wish the book had been a little longer in order to bring out Poppy’s character just a bit more. I would have liked a little more depth to her thoughts regarding the impact of her mum’s letters, the reasons why she did not embrace her artistic talent early on, and her complex feelings about Mark. But again, we are dealing with one day a year in 10 years of Poppy’s life, and I respect that this format does not lend to maximal character development.
Overall, this little tale was a joy to read. I am smiling from ear to ear with the knowledge that I have a lot of Kerry Wilkinson ahead of me. I plan to read all his thrillers, but would definitely love to see more in the vein of Ten Birthdays! Highly recommended.
Thank you to Netgalley and Bookouture for an electronic copy of this book. The opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.
Ten Birthdays was published in April.