by Keith Stuart
Published by Sphere (7 June 2018)
I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher
Tom, single father to Hannah, is the manager of a tiny local theatre. On the same day each year, he and its colourful cast of part-time actors have staged a fantastical production just for his little girl, a moment of magic to make her childhood unforgettable.
But there is another reason behind these annual shows: the very first production followed Hannah's diagnosis with a heart condition that both of them know will end her life early. And now, with Hannah a funny, tough girl of fifteen on the brink of adulthood, that time is coming.
With the theatre under threat of closure, Hannah and Tom have more than one fight on their hands to stop the stories ending. But maybe, just maybe, one final day of magic might just save them both.
Days of Wonder is a bittersweet story of a close father-daughter relationship.
Hannah was diagnosed with a serious heart condition as a young child. Yet she tries to take it all in her stride - her hospital appointments, her symptoms and the knowledge that she has no need to plan for her future, as it's unlikely she'll reach adulthood. Tom, her father, is a single parent, living every day as if it's their first and their last, trying to keep the magic and wonder alive for his daughter, and his daughter alive with them.
I cried and laughed my way through Days of Wonder - and then cried again. Some people may find it a bit too sweet for their taste, but it was pure (and perfect) escapism for me as I became totally absorbed into the lives of Tom, Hannah and their actor friends.
This uplifting book is touching and moving and felt very real, with some quirky characters that will be hard to forget. Keith Stuart has tackled emotional health issues with sensitivity but also some gentle humour to lighten the load.
Days of Wonder is about love, hope and second chances. It's a story of growing up, of parenthood and of creating powerful everlasting memories for the future. And that sometimes parents have to let go... and let their children grow up, despite wanting to cushion them forever.
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