I got an ARC of this novel through Net Galley and it promptly got swallowed up in my kindle! After rediscovering it, I couldn’t put it down and read it in a little over a day. It is a laugh-out-loud funny, touching, and heart-warming story about a woman who follows her mother’s dying wish to take her ashes to Canterbury Cathedral in England.
Here’s the description from Net Galley:
In the vein of Jojo Moyes and Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, a warm and touching novel about a woman who embarks on a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral after losing her mother, sharing life lessons—in the best Chaucer tradition—with eight other women along the way.
Che Milan’s life is falling apart. Not only has her longtime lover abruptly dumped her, but her eccentric, demanding mother has recently died. When an urn of ashes arrives, along with a note reminding Che of a half-forgotten promise to take her mother to Canterbury, Che finds herself reluctantly undertaking a pilgrimage.
Within days she joins a group of women who are walking the sixty miles from London to the shrine of Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, reputed to be the site of miracles. In the best Chaucer tradition, the women swap stories as they walk, each vying to see who can best describe true love. Che, who is a perfectionist and workaholic, loses her cell phone at the first stop and is forced to slow down and really notice the world around her, perhaps for the first time in years.
Through her adventures along the trail, Che finds herself opening up to new possibilities in life and discovers that the miracles of Canterbury can take surprising forms.
Oh my goodness — I just loved the character of Che. She is a slightly sarcastic, workaholic introvert, stuck in the middle of this “Broads Abroad” pilgrimage. While each woman is unique and has her own story to tell (part of their walk each day is sharing a story), Che was my favorite and the one we get to know the best.
I once read that “taking a journey” is one of the key plot designs for novels, and this story is no exception. As Che journeys, she finds out more about herself, her relationships, and her true desires in life. Themes of the importance of family and relationships, being true to oneself, self-forgiveness, and that special bond that women share ring throughout this very readable novel, often leaving me nodding my head and thinking, “Yes, that’s exactly how it is, isn’t it?”
Highly recommended! Thank you, Net Galley and Gallery Books, for my review copy!