Monday, 5 May 2014

Farewell Trip by Karin Dixon & Gary Twynam

The blurb:

“That was the first time in my life I was happy…the happiest I ever would be. And I never told you.” 

There’s always one moment in life that passes without you saying what you really wanted – needed – to. For Ruth that day came after the death of her beloved husband Trip. 

She and Trip had fitted together perfectly, right from the very start, and their marriage was filled with love, happiness and travel. Determined to leave nothing unspoken, Trip has left ten letters, taking Ruth on one last adventure - scattering his ashes in ten locations that have meaning for them both. 

The letters take her on a journey across the world, but also back through her marriage, and the life she thought they had shared. 

They had been so happy. Hadn’t they? 

At once heart-breaking and uplifting …prepare to smile through your tears. Farewell Trip is a must read.

My review:

Anyone who is, ever has been, or ever imagines being in love will probably share a common thought of being totally petrified of losing the one they love, particularly too young, and to a disease such as cancer. This is exactly what has happened to Ruth in this book. Her husband Trip has been taken from her too soon after losing his fight with cancer.

What Ruth didn't know was, that whilst ill, Trip had written letters to Ruth, each containing details of a journey he wanted Ruth to go on, and scatter his ashes at each of the places.

The book has a number of viewpoints which allow the reader to get to know and understand both Ruth and Trip and their relationship. We see Ruth in the here and now, living day to day as well as going on the trips. We see her reminiscing over the past where we get to know more about her earlier life, and her relationship with Trip, and others. The letters from Trip allow us to see how the relationship was from his aspect. We also meet a number of secondary characters who really help in showing the reader a third dimension, their relationship through the eyes of others.

The book takes us on a journey through grief, mainly from Ruth's perspective, but also I felt, to a certain degree, from Trip's, anticipating his death and what he was losing.

This book has a really sad feel to it when you start out. I felt a real sense of unjustness that  someone could lose the person who was their world. I myself love the idea of leaving letters to someone for after you are gone. I am a real letter writer so this resonated strongly with me. However, because it resonated so strongly I almost resisted reading the book. I am so glad now that I persevered. If anything, it has reinforced my view.

Each chapter focuses on a particular letter and involves Ruth visiting a place that meant something to both Trip and Ruth when he was alive. Yes, there is a lot of sadness in each chapter, but there are also many times to smile, and some really gritty content that made me question was their seemingly perfect relationship quite as perfect as I first thought it was.

The further I got into the book the more compelling I found it. I felt a full range of emotions on behalf of Ruth including anger, rage, jealousy, sadness and happiness. I really liked the fact that the book was so gritty and didn't sugar coat their relationship and marriage as being perfect. This for me made it feel more real. It felt like a typical relationship with the ups and downs and hard times, but through it all the strength of their love for one another.

I felt in a way like I was accompanying Ruth on her journey of grief and wanted to see if she came through it ok. The book takes the reader through the first year, when is much changes. I did feel at ease by the end and felt strangely at peace by the end.

The book is written by 2 authors but I wouldn't have guessed. It is very well written, heartfelt and a beautiful book.

Thank you to Harlequin (UK) Ltd who supplied me with a copy via Netgalley in return for an honest review.

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