What the publisher says:
The must-read book of 2019! Equal parts heartwarming and heartbreaking, fans of Jojo Moyes, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and One Day in December will love this special novel by Drew Davies.
It’s me, Joy, your much wiser and (very slightly) older sister. I thought I’d start a new tradition of letter writing – now that we’re long distance.
On the plane over here, I began to cry in seat 21C. I think the magnitude of it finally hit me, after everything that happened…
I haven’t even unpacked yet – the only thing I’ve taken out of my suitcase is Harville, your beloved childhood teddy. Sorry for stealing him, but I need him more than you do. Every time I look at that little brown bear I think about our childhood. Remember that dance we made up to Annie’s ‘It’s a Hard Knock Life’? (Remember the broom choreography?)
I’m also sorry for abandoning you – I’ve always been your agony aunt, and a buffer in your infamous shouting matches with Mum. But I had to leave, Lily, I had to.
Anyway, I’m here now. I’m here to start over, and to face up to the past. I want to learn to laugh again, and to find someone to love who will maybe even love me back. You always told me I was just getting by, not actually living, so I’m finally doing it. Wish me luck, little sister.
A beautiful book-club read for anyone who has ever hit rock bottom, longed for a fresh start, or needed to heal a broken, aching heart.
What I say:
Dear Lily takes the form of a collection of letters from Joy to her younger sister Lily as the former moves to a Denmark to start a new life in an attempt to rediscover the happiness she feels she has lost living in London.
In the letters Joy opens up about what is going on and how she is adjusting to her new life. This format could have been frustrating but the letters read as if Joy is speaking and come across naturally. They also allow for a more in depth understanding of Joy’s thoughts and feelings than a “normal” narrative does.
We follow Joy as she meets new people, some of whom become friends, and starts to build a new support network as she addresses those problems which followed her to Denmark. There is a reveal in the story which I saw coming but it was handled well.
All in all I found this a roller coaster of a book, uplifting in parts but also led to me shedding a tear or two as the emotion hit me.
Rating 4 out of 5
About the author
He attended the Unitec School of Performing Arts in Auckland and won a Playmarket New Zealand Young Playwright of the Year award in 2000. After a brief stint on a kiwi soap, he has worked in Search for the past 15 years.
Drew’s other claim to fame is that Stephen Fry once called him droll. Either that, or he got his name wrong. He now lives in Wanstead, London.