Book Review: When You Read This by Mary Adkins

When You Read This by Mary Adkins
Release Date: 7th February 2019
Publisher: Hodder and Stroughton
Pages: 384
ISBN: 978-1473673311
Buy: Hardback | eBook 
 | Audiobook
Iris Massey is gone. 
But she's left something behind.
For four years, Iris Massey worked side by side with PR maven Smith Simonyi, helping clients perfect their brands. But Iris has died, taken by terminal illness at only thirty-three. Adrift without his friend and colleague, Smith is surprised to discover that in her last six months, Iris created a blog filled with sharp and often funny musings on the end of a life not quite fulfilled. She also made one final request: for Smith to get her posts published as a book. With the help of his charmingly eager, if overbearingly forthright, new intern Carl, Smith tackles the task of fulfilling Iris's last wish.
Before he can do so, though, he must get the approval of Iris's big sister Jade, an haute cuisine chef who's been knocked sideways by her loss. Each carrying their own baggage, Smith and Jade end up on a collision course with their own unresolved pasts and with each other.

When Iris Massey discovers she has lung cancer and is given mere months to live, she decides to set up a blog detailing her life and her battle with being diagnosed at only thirty three.
Her boss at the PR company where she works, Smith Simonyi, discovers Iris's blog after her death and learns that her last wish was for him to publish her musings. However, when Iris's older sister, Jade, learns of the blog's existence she is reluctant for him to go ahead.
Told via emails, messages and blog posts; Smith begins to forge a relationship with Jade over their shared grief for Iris- but he has a lot of work to do if he is going to convince Jade to let him fulfill one of Iris's dying wishes.
I was immediately drawn to When you Read This due to the format in which it’s written. I've always had a thing about books that are written in email format, I think it's because in my head it feels as though I am being nosy and snooping into someone else's emails and personal correspondence (We all have a tiny desire to do this, right?) The short, sharp and snappy style of correspondence between the characters makes this book an easy one to fly through quickly when reading. It also had the 'just one more page' element for me and I found it difficult to put down.
I quickly bonded with the characters and found myself genuinely caring about them, I wanted to read more of Iris's blog and discover more about her life. I also found myself really liking Smith. It quickly becomes clear that his PR company is struggling and he is suffering from a gambling addiction and money worries. Iris's sister, Jade, was another fascinating character; feisty and unafraid to say what's on her mind, I found myself asking if she really didn't want Iris's inner most thoughts and feelings published because of how she came across rather than anything else.
Carl was another great character. Working as an over enthusiastic intern for Smith, he brings hilarity and a bit of ridiculousness to the novel,which I really liked.

Despite the difficult subject matter, this was definitely not a dark novel. It was warm, humourous and actually full of hope. It was heartbreaking to read Iris's story; however towards the second half of the novel the developing relationship between Smith and Jade begins to take center stage and this was wonderful to watch unfold via email (with a few frustrating moments thrown in for good measure!) I wasn't necessarily expecting there to be any romance within these pages and I loved how this novel wasn't entirely what I expected.
A poignant and heart-warming story, I really found Mary Adkins style of writing to be refreshing. I'm still thinking about this story a day after finishing it and it really made me think about love, life and all that's in between. I particularly liked the poignancy of the final email...DON'T flick to the end and read it because it will ruin the Ready-Brek glow element it gave me...But it does wrap up all rather nicely - that's all I'm saying.
All in all a really enjoyable and beautiful story and definitely one to add to your TBR list.

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