October 2, 2020
(A.K.A: Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You in the UK)
Genre/Categories: Women’s Fiction, Family Drama, Friendship
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Eudora Honeysett is eighty-five, has endured her share of suffering, has experienced a lot of life, and is ready to die….but on her own terms. She contacts a clinic in Switzerland which will help her facilitate her well thought out decision. Before she can get to Switzerland, she meets ten-year-old Rose, a highly spirited and friendly child who becomes Eudora’s fashion consultant and introduces her to the joys of life as seen through ten-year-old eyes. Rose also includes Stanley, a recently widowed neighbor, and they form a companionable trio. As these three new friends spend time together, it triggers Eudora to have flashbacks of her past life. Suddenly, her newfound enjoyment, friendships, and meaningful activities cause her to feel conflicted about her Switzerland decision. Now that she has found some joy will it be possible to say good-bye?
Although for different reasons, Eudora reminds me of Ove in her desire to end her life. Ove simply misses his wife and finds it difficult to consider living without her while Eudora wants to take control of her final days. This book also has vibes of Me Before You because of a desire to end one’s life. Because suicidal ideation is prevalent in both books, a trigger warning is needed here. ***Spoiler: Eudora has more in common with Ove as she finds joy in her relationship with a youngster. If you have concerns about the TW, I’d be happy to clarify it more in comments.
Tone: In spite of contemplating the final days of Eudora’s own life and a few painful memories, there is an overall light tone in the book. Eudora displays a dry sense of humor, an entertaining and ongoing commentary on “stupid” people and situations, a fierce and lovable sense of independence, and a surprisingly tender heart.
Friendship and Kindness: Ultimately this is a story of friendship and kindness. Gestures of friendship and small acts of kindness can touch the loneliest person. The other lesson to be considered is that friendship and kindness is not limited to adults. Children can make a significant difference in the lives of others through their small acts of service and affection.
Enjoyment: For me, a huge part of my final Star rating is based on enjoyment. I thoroughly enjoyed The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett and the time I invested. I love quirky curmudgeons, and Eudora will be added to my list of favorites! I love her determination and feistiness, her candor, and her friendship with Rose. I love talkative and expressive Rose and her commitment to friendship with Eudora and Stanley. Rose is a colorful burst of energy and kindness throughout the story without being overly precocious. She knows loneliness when she sees it and adopts Eudora and Stanley. I loved the small acts of kindness, the tea parties, the trip to the mall, the shopping excursion, the black cat, the swimming activities , and the birthday party. In addition, the character development was lovely as we learn about Eudora’s early life, her disappointments, and her hardships. Ultimately, I fell hard for the “found family” theme. Enjoyment factor: 5 Stars.
Recommended: I’m highly recommending The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett for fans of quirky characters; for readers who appreciate a heartwarming story with themes of friendship, kindness, regret, grief, compassion, and found family; for those who enjoy well written, thoughtful, and engaging contemporary women’s fiction, and for book clubs.
Trigger Warning/Content Consideration: suicidal ideation (I can clarify more in comments)
My Rating: 4.5 Stars (rounded to 5)
Meet the Author, Annie Lyons
After a career in bookselling and publishing, Annie Lyons published five books in the UK including the best-selling, Not Quite Perfect. When not working on her novels, she teaches creative writing. She lives in south-east London with her husband and two children.
Is The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett on your TBR or have you read it?
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