For Emily by Katherine Slee

Posted On 7 September 2019

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ForEmilyFor Emily is a lovely read about a young woman coming to terms with loss.  In some respects it puts me in mind of PS I Love You in that Emily is sent on a voyage of discovery by her deceased grandmother (not the same as PS I love you but similar(ish)).  I would say this would be a good book to take on holiday and sit reading by the pool or on the beach – which probably sounds odd or contradictory after saying it’s about a young woman coming to terms with loss – but, this is a light read, it’s not overly sombre and Emily herself goes on a number of excursions that take her to some beautiful places along the way.

This isn’t my usual type of read to be honest, no hints of the supernatural grace these pages, no ghosts or unexpected bumps in the night not even a suggestion of magical realism but it was a quick and light morsel between some heavier to digest books and in that respect it worked well for me.

Emily’s grandmother (Catriona) passed away a few weeks before the book starts and as the story begins a stranger appears on Emily’s doorstep to deliver a letter that Catriona wanted delivering.  From here on out we discover that Emily’s gran has set her a mission which will take her on a journey following in the footsteps of Catriona herself as a young woman when she set off on her own adventure.

By way of background we soon discover that Emily has been raised by her gran since the death of her parents in a terrible car crash.  Emily was the only survivor, sustaining terrible injuries herself that took a long time to recover from.  Catriona became Emily’s guardian and retreated to a small cottage in Norfolk where the two embarked on a writing project that saw Catriona become a famous author of children’s books that Emily provided the illustrations for.

This was a nice light read.  The writing was very easy to get along with and there was a good balance between pacing and backstory.  I would say that it reads a little bit ‘twee’ at times but not overly so.

The settings are probably what make the book for me, probably because I’ve been to a number of the places involved along the route and it almost felt like I got to revisit some of them as I experienced Emily’s journey.

The characters.  We get to see a little of Catriona’s past life as we follow Emily’s progress which was a really lovely way to find out about her.  Catriona was obviously a very spirited individual who led quite a fascinating life and made some very good friends along the way – this is a side to her that Emily never saw.  For Emily, Catriona had always lived in the small cottage that they called home – in fact Catriona had herself made lifestyle changes after her own daughter died in the car accident.  Emily, well, this felt like a journey for me as well as Emily in that at first I found her a little infuriating – for example, when she receives the letter from her gran she puts it to one side – I was almost shouting at her at that point – read the letter!  But, that’s me, sat in the comfort of my own home, reading a book and being intensely curious about the contents of that letter.  For Emily the letter was a shock and also a reality check, it jolted her out of the place she was settling into and forced her out of her comfort zone – which was exactly Catriona’s aim in the first place.  So, yes, I needed to give myself a bit of a reality check, give my head a wobble and realise that maybe I was being a bit too harsh!  Tyler is the other character who joins Emily as she follows the clues left by Catriona.  I’m not sure about Tyler, even now I’ve finished the book.  He wasn’t a bad character but I didn’t quite feel like I’d fully come to terms with his and Emily’s past.  I would have liked a bit more information, particularly given the ending – which I won’t spoil for others.  But, I can see that his inclusion acted as a way of keeping Emily on track.

In terms of criticisms.  Nothing too major to be honest.  Yes, this was a little twee as I already mentioned.  I wouldn’t say that the clues and mystery were very ‘mysterious’, if anything it felt a little light in some respects and there is definitely a feeling of everything being very easy.  But, I think the author was trying to keep this light and entertaining rather than making it a sad read and in that respect she succeeded.  Also, I must say I think this would make an excellent adaptation to screen.

Overall, this was a good read. It was entertaining and quick paced and as I stated above would make a good holiday read, the type of book that you don’t have to overthink even though there is a lovely message in the voyage of discovery and a hopefulness that is uplifting.

I received a copy courtesy of the publisher, through Netgalley, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

I would rate this as 3.5 out of 5 stars



10 Responses to “For Emily by Katherine Slee”

  1. Tammy

    This is very different from what you usually read, but I do enjoy completely setting aside my normal reading at times, so I get it. Bonus, you reminded me I want to watch P.S. I Love You again!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yes, I should rewatch that film sometime soon too.
      Lynn 😀

  2. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    Haha, I was gonna say, when reading your intro I was thinking, this does not sound like a poolside read at all! But now I see what you’re saying. Loss and grief are always tough topics for me in books, my mood is often affected by what I read and so they tend to get me down. But I’m glad to know it’s not too somber, and that it’s even a bit uplifting. It’s probably not my kind of book but I’m glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for the introduction 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yes, it’s a difficult one because I think the thought of reading about loss would put some people off but the author manages to give it a hopeful theme. I enjoyed it as a ‘between books’ type of read. Don’t think I’d make it my go to style of book though.
      Lynn 😀

  3. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    This looks like the kind of between-books read that somehow manages to reset our minds, a sort of… hard-disk formatting operation 😀 that takes us away from our main staples of dark fantasy or hard SF and shows us there is indeed a world all around us.
    Thank you so much for sharing this! 🙂

  4. waytoofantasy

    This doesn’t sound like my usual type of read either, but it sounds like a good one. I rather like stories that deal with this subject matter, although most of the time I am seeing those in film rather than in books. I might have to check this one out.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I actually think this would make a good film – it would be so beautiful given some of the locations.
      Lynn 😀

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