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What to expect

Brought to you by Penguin.

For Rich, life is golden.
He fizzes with happiness and love.
But Rich has an incurable brain tumour.

After Rich dies, his wife Ruth can’t see how to how to keep living, and their young son Ollie is intent on working out the meaning of life. Because everything happens for a reason. Doesn’t it?

Rich leaves behind a family without a father, a husband, a son and a best friend. And he also leaves behind a present for each of them. But while Ollie tries to understand the message within each present, Ruth finds herself adrift. The grief that is threatening to drown her has also unearthed long buried pain. Pain she has to face if she is to have any chance of moving on…

Harriet Kline weaves together the voices of a grieving family and paints an achingly beautiful picture of love in all its forms: absent, lost and, ultimately, regained.

© Harriet Kline 2021 (P) Penguin Audio 2021

Critics Review

  • A beautifully written and endlessly touching debut that’s sure to tug your heartstrings.

    Phaedra Patrick, The Library of Lost and Found, and The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper.
  • An exquisitely beautiful and compelling novel about love, loss and life

    Rachel Joyce
  • Poignant but never maudlin, sweet but never saccharine, This Shining Life give us a heartbroken family, complicated and familiar in the best ways, going through the hardest of times but finding love and hope and, especially, one another.

    Laurie Frankel, New York Times bestselling author of This Is How It Always Is
  • Harriet Kline’s This Shining Life captivated me because it’s peopled with lovely and lovable characters who are all trying to solve the problem of grief. Ollie, at eleven-years old, sees this equation in the starkest terms, but his mother Ruth, Aunt Nessa, and grandparents are all struggling too, following the death of Ollie’s dad, Rich. This beautiful book shows us that grief is not a problem to solve, but an expression of love, as we watch a family come together in the most heartwarming way.

    Ann Napolitano, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Edward
  • A ‘Summer best new reads’: the bittersweet story of a family coming together in grief.

    Waitrose Magazine

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