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by Anne Griffin
Did you read Anne Griffin’s first book – When All is Said? It sold over 120 000 copies and was translated into 16 languages. I listened to the audiobook, read in a delicious Irish accent – it was wonderful! And Maurice makes a brief appearance in this second book, Listening Still, a gentle, utterly absorbing read about a young woman who has a special gift – she can hear the recently dead and pass on their last wishes and revelations to grieving relatives. She and her father share this gift which brings clients from all over Ireland to their small-town undertakering business.
But Jeanie is struggling with could’ves, should’ves, would’ves …. Caught between duty to the family business and following her heart. Full of regret, ten years later she is still haunted by her decision not to move to London with her first great love, choosing rather to stay at Masterson Funeral Directors and marry her faithful childhood friend, Niall.
Jeanie is forced to answer some tough, unavoidable questions when her parents – out of the blue – announce their retirement to the coast, leaving her the business. What is it that she actually wants from life? Is she happily married? Why doesn’t she want to start a family? Why does she have such a love/hate relationship with her work? Should she be censoring what she hears to protect the living? And why does she feel her family are withholding something from her?
I was engrossed. A lovely read about life choices and regrets and how to move forward.
A wonderfully unexpected tale of love, death and everything in between – Graham Norton
Absorbing and heartwarming . . . There are deep thoughts sown beneath the light and charming surfaces of Griffin’s novels. Her books are fable-like, deep musings on life, mortality, and what makes a life worth living, philosophy for everyday readers, cleverly disguised as a good old-fashioned story – Irish Times