This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! by Jonathan Evison

BLOG“This is your life, Harriet, what it’s become.”

Harriet Chance’s life has not turned out the way she would have liked.  At seventy-nine years old she finds herself alone and her relationship with her two children is strained and complex.  Her husband Bernard had passed away two years earlier, and has begun to re-appear from time to time, being only visible to Harriet.  When she learns that Bernard has won an Alaskan cruise as a result of a draw he entered before his death, she decides to embark on the journey.  At the start of the cruise she learns a long kept secret that shocks her, and forces her to take a look at the events in her life that shaped her reality.

This is Your Life, Harriet Chance! takes us through key moments and events, big and small, that have influenced and ultimately determined the course of Harriet’s life.  The book skips around to various years, and over time we get to see the significance of these events.  Harriet proves to be an endearing and flawed character as we are given a tour of her life through an all-knowing narrator that provides insight and commentary.  We learn of incidents during her childhood, her marriage to Bernard and relationship with her children, Skip and Caroline, as well as the period of Bernard’s declining health and the struggles that came along with it.  As each little story is revealed we develop a clearer picture of who Harriet is, the difficulties she has faced that have influenced her life, and the way her own disappointments influenced her treatment of her children.  It is a book about choices we make and how they affect those around us, the things we believe about ourselves that influence our decisions and the road we take in life.  It is about taking responsibility for our actions, forgiveness and letting go.  Presented in a unique and interesting way, This is Your Life, Harriet Chance! is a portrait of a woman and a life lived.

*ARC provided by NetGalley. Publication date: September 8, 2015.

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