Book Review

November '15

This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! (Hardcover)
Jonathan Evison

Harriet Chance's priest is worried about her.  She keeps telling him about conversations she has had with her husband Bernard.  Harriet relates that he put a container of WD-40 next to a squeaky door, spoke to her in the aisles of the grocery store, and left his slippers in the front hall.  The interesting thing here is that Bernard has recently passed away.  In spite of the fact that Bernard has moved on to the afterlife, Harriet takes comfort in feeling his presence.  

Imagine Harriet's surprise when a representative from a local charity calls to say that her late husband won an Alaskan cruise for two, but had failed to claim the prize (well of course, said Harriet, he's dead!)

Harriet, wondering why Bernard had never told her that he wanted to go on a cruise, decides to honor her late husband by taking the trip with her best friend Mildred. Mildred, however, backs out at the last minute, and asks Harriet to read a letter from her when the ship is under way. The cruise is replete with several intriguing plot twists and surprises, including (as you might expect) ghostly visits from Bernard and an in-person visit from their estranged daughter. 

The author does a nice job telling this story.  It is one of those books that draws you in from the first page, and keeps you wanting to know more.  Evison uses alternating chapters to tell Harriet's story, heading each one with the year and her age, so the nonlinear story is not too confusing.