It gives me great pleasure to host Anne Griffin and ‘Listening Still’ on my blog today, as I share a review for day two of the blog tour. Many thanks to the lovely, Kate, and the Sceptre Books team, for inviting me to take part and for supplying me with an advanced copy.
Jeanie Masterson has a gift: she can hear the recently dead and give voice to their final wishes and revelations. Inherited from her father, this gift has enabled the family undertakers to flourish in their small Irish town. Yet she has always been uneasy about censoring some of the dead’s last messages to the living. Unsure, too, about the choice she made when she left school seventeen years ago: to stay or leave for a new life in London with her charismatic teenage sweetheart.
So when Jeanie’s parents unexpectedly announce their plan to retire, she is jolted out of her limbo. In this captivating successor to her bestselling debut, Anne Griffin portrays a young woman who is torn between duty, a comfortable marriage and a role she both loves and hates and her last chance to break free, unaware she has not been alone in softening the truth for a long while.
What does TWG think?
‘Listening Still’, in my opinion, is a unique story which is centred around life in a family run undertakers in Ireland. To some, reading a book set in a funeral home might not be so unique, however for me, it really was which meant that I was able to find out more about the process after life and what not. With that in mind, I was not expecting the story to focus on Jeanie being able to hear the wishes of the deceased person in front of her. No, seriously, thats what she can do. Is it something that can be deemed farfetched? Oh most definitely. Do readers need to believe that its something that happens in reality? Most definitely not! All readers need to believe is that Jeanie is capable of doing so, and once you get past the ‘hang on a minute….’ uncertainty, you’ll open your mind to the beauty of the book.
How do I know this?
Well, I was just like that to begin with, but once I ran with the authors words and let myself be led by Jeanie’s gift, her relationship with her husband, her father etc, I allowed myself to be consumed by this poignant, tender story that was not just about life vs death, but was also about regrets and making every last second count. For me, probably the biggest lesson that this book taught me was the art of listening. To know something you have to feel it, but to feel it you need to listen.
Anne Griffin is such a descriptive, tender storytelling who, no pun intended, gave this book life, and I absolutely adored reading every single word of this novel. Truly a beautifully crafted, magnificent read.