Author: Catherine McKenzie
Published: October 16, 2012
Genre: chick lit
Paperback: 448 pages
Source: received a review copy from the publisher (HarperCollins)
My Rating: 3.5 stars
Synopsis (from GoodReads): When everyone thinks you’re dead, how do you start your life over again?
Emma Tupper, a young lawyer with a bright future, sets out on a journey after her mother’s death: to Africa, a place her mother always wanted to visit. But her mother’s dying gift has unexpected consequences. Emma falls ill during the trip and is just recovering when a massive earthquake hits, turning her one-month vacation into a six-month ordeal.
When Emma returns home, she’s shocked to find that her friends and colleagues believed she was dead, that her apartment has been rented to a stranger and that her life has gone on without her. Can Emma pick up where she left off? Should she? As Emma struggles to recreate her old life, everyone around her thinks she should change – her job, her relationships, and even herself. But does she really want to sacrifice everything she’s working so hard to gain?
My Thoughts: I read Catherine McKenzie's Spin a few months ago (review here) and really enjoyed it. So when I was offered the chance to review her newest novel before it was published here in the States, I jumped at the chance. Spin was pure chick lit and I gobbled up everything about it. It was something light that didn't bog me down and take me days to read, but the characters were so real that it had something more to offer than the normal chick lit fare. Her newest novel is just as good as the last one that I read. It's light enough that I was able to finish it in less than two days, but the main character, Emma, was substanial enough that I wasn't rolling my eyes at her all the time. McKenzie explores that age-old question, if you could start your life over again, would you? And what would you do differently? Emma Tupper is given that opportunity when she basically disappears in the African bush for six months and returns to find her old life completely changed.
Emma struggles with her return to society and must start from scratch. Her apartment has been rented out to someone else, she doesn't have a job, her boyfriend has changed is number, and she cannot get in touch with her best friend. Add on top of this that the reason Emma took this trip in the first place was to deal with the death of her mother. It's a bit of a doozy, but McKenzie paces everything so that it makes sense and nothing is out of place. There is a cast of characters, some who I thought could have been featured more (like Sunshine: seriously, we could have had whole chapters with her in it!). This novel was just perfect to read after finished a long, long biography.
I have Catherine McKenzie's other novel, Arranged, already checked out from the library, so I cannot wait to finish that one soon. I am already looking forward to the next book that she publishes and would love to see it feature Emily, Dominic's cheating fiance (I'm thinking of what Emily Giffin did with Darcy in Something Blue). If you haven't read anything by McKenzie, don't wait a second longer! Go to your local library or bookstore and get one of her books! You will not be disappointed!
PS - this book will be available in the US starting October 16, so keep an eye out for it!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review. It in no way affected my review of this novel.*