|Scholastic, £10.99 in hardback|
Brilliant. A little gem of a book.
Plus I cried. Not just once but for about thirty or forty pages. A bit wimpish of me, I know, but still. It was heartfelt.
Doyle's latest is billed as a children's novel but adults will get a lot out of this. Perhaps more than the kids because it is about loss, the past, moving on, and saying goodbye to loved ones. Things we grown ups are more used to doing than the young uns.
The story is charming and simple. Mary O'Hara's granny, Emer, is dying in hospital. She and her mother, EMer's daughter, Scarlett, visit regularly and they know her time is coming. At the beginning of the book a stranger approaches Mary with a message for Emer: It's going to be grand. the stranger's name is Tansey and, as it turns out, is the ghost of Emer's mother.
Emer never knew her mum: she'd died of the flu when Emer was just three years old. But in Doyle's story Tansey stays on in this world to watch over Emer and wants to speak to her before she dies, to reassure her everything will be fine. But she needs Mary and Scarlett to help her because she can't just walk into a hospital. Well, that's obvious.
There is whimsy to this ghost story. There is a lot of fun. But mostly there is heart. I found myself, as I said, filled with emotion while reading this book and found it hugely satisfying.