For Rich, life is golden.
He fizzes with happiness and love.
But Rich has an incurable brain tumour.
When Rich dies, he leaves behind a family without a father, a husband, a son and a best friend.
His wife, Ruth, can’t imagine living without him and finds herself faced with a grief she’s not sure she can find her way through.
At the same time, their young son Ollie becomes intent on working out the meaning of life. Because everything happens for a reason. Doesn’t it?
But when they discover a mismatched collection of presents left by Rich for his loved ones, it provides a puzzle for them to solve, one that will help Ruth navigate her sorrow and help Ollie come to terms with what’s happened.
Together, they will learn to lay the ghosts of the past to rest, and treasure the true gift that Rich has left them: the ability to embrace life and love every moment.
Harriet Kline weaves together the voices of a grieving family and paints an achingly beautiful picture of love in all its forms: absent, lost and, ultimately, regained.
This Shining Life is an emotional and poignant novel about the importance of hope, the bonds of love that last through the worst of times and the joy of sunshine after the rain…
Am so happy to be on today’s Blog Tour for This Shining Life and it’s an actual tour today because I’m posting this from gorgeous Harrogate this morning. It’s wonderful to be visiting a place that I associate with great books by writing about a great book here that I’m sure that so many of you are going to absolutely love!
I absolutely loved This Shining Life. It’s a warm and uplifting read that will genuinely tug at your heartstrings and make you feel like you’ve become part of Ruth & Ollie’s journey forward after losing Rich and I know that you’ll end it – like me – feeling aware of all the things in life that we have to be grateful for and glad to have had the opportunity to think about the things that shine in your own life, whether those are friendships, family or happy moments that you have managed to hold onto even after such a challenging couple of years…
Ruth was a fantastic character that you can totally believe in. When she hears the terrible news abour Rich, her devastation is an easy sentiment to connect with – I’m sure lots of you will sadly find much to relate to here and it’s a wonderful thing to find grief and dementia portrayed so truthfully and unsentimentally in a book. I am glad that more writers are daring to include such ‘taboo’ subjects as grief and loss in fiction and giving so many people an insight into the way that so many people have to cope with pain, loss and trying to carve a new pathway in life and it is handled so sensitively here that I’m sure it will resonate with a great many readers.
Ruth’s resilence and courage is one of the best things about This Shining Life. But my favourite character undoubtedly was Ollie. His innocence and love of a good Sudoku make him feel 100% real and you will fall hard for him as his character evolves and grows across these pages. Ruth’s family is a fabulous cast of characters – from her domineering mother Angram to her father Gerald whose dementia is captured so empathetically – you really feel like you become part of this family as you read and I felt genuinely sad once I’d reached the final page and had to leave them behind.
Harriet Kline has written a book that’s going to touch a lot of people. It presents a picture of the way that we survive, whether that is individually or as part of a wider family unit and realistically portrays the tiny victories and moments of sunlight that can permeate even the darkest days as we move through the seas of grief to find ourselves on an unfamilar shore.
This Shining Life is a wonderful read, you will definitely be touched by these characters lives and you’ll need more than a few tissues to hand to cope with Ollie’s heartbreakingly honest reflections on the loss of his father and I’ll be recommending this to lots of my bookish friends who I know love a book that deals with life in a thought provoking and emotionally open way.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Anne Cater for inviting me to participate in the Blog Tour – I certainly enjoyed this read and it’s been an honour to be part of its story – I’m totally certain that it’s going to be an amazing success. Buy yourself a copy here and meet Ollie, Ruth and the family for yourself. You’ll be hard pressed to find a more beautiful and honest book this year. A five star summer read that I won’t forget in a hurry.
“A beautifully written and endlessly touching debut that’s sure to tug your heartstrings.”–Phaedra Patrick, author of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper
“Harriet Kline’s This Shining Life captivated me because it’s peopled with lovely and lovable characters who are all trying to solve the problem of grief. Ollie, at eleven years old, sees this equation in the starkest terms, but his mother, Ruth, Aunt Nessa, and grandparents are all struggling, too, following the death of Ollie’s dad, Rich. This beautiful book shows us that grief is not a problem to solve but an expression of love, as we watch a family come together in the most heartwarming way.”–Ann Napolitano, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Edward
“Poignant but never maudlin, sweet but never saccharine, This Shining Life gives us a heartbroken family, complicated and familiar in the best ways, going through the hardest of times but finding love and hope and, especially, one another.”–Laurie Frankel, New York Times bestselling author of This Is How It Always Is
“Harriet Kline gifts us with an authentic child’s voice, and a sensitive exploration of not only the pain but the beauty of grief.”–Rajeev Balasubramanyam, author of Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss
“Harriet Kline masterfully captures how differently grief can manifest itself in each of us, how all-consuming and life-altering it sometimes can be. I felt deeply for each of these characters as they embarked on their journeys through Rich’s illness and passing, and of course the aftermath. I loved Ollie and often wanted to reach through the pages to hug and comfort him. This story is sure to stay with me for a long time.”–Rhiannon Navin, author of Only Child
“An exquisitely beautiful and compelling novel about love, loss, and life.”–Rachel Joyce, New York Times bestselling author of Miss Benson’s Beetle
Writer On The Shelf
Harriet Kline is an author who also works part-time registering births, deaths, and marriages. Her short stories have won several awards and have been published with Litro, For Books’ Sake, and Short Story Sunday and on BBC Radio 4. She lives in Bristol, England, with her partner and two teenage sons. This Shining Life is her first novel. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.