A beyond-the-grave, mother/daughter heartstring-tugger, from the shrewd British novelist (Alphabet Weekends, 2007, etc.).
No crying and no black at the funeral, insists Barbara, a 60-year-old mother of four girls, in the first of her to-be-read-after-I’m-gone letters to her children. Noble’s story of how Barbara’s daughters (and second husband) survive her premature death from cancer, aided by farewell letters and a journal, is an unashamed tear-jerker, with its lovable-but-flawed parent sending caring advice into the future to her four grieving but eventually happy girls. Noble assigns each of the main characters a more or less trumped-up problem or secret to be resolved, after which contentment reliably follows. Commitment-phobic eldest child Lisa mucks up her relationship with nice Andy by having an affair and not really wanting to accept Andy’s marriage proposal, but she ends up walking down the aisle. For possibly infertile Jennifer, with her cooling marriage, all is resolved by a sex-fueled holiday and a proper chat, after which she quickly becomes pregnant. Amanda, the wanderer, needs to stop running away, digest the fact that her father was neither of Barbara’s husbands and open up to flawless new boyfriend Ed. And young Hannah simply requires some space in which to grow up.
A comfortable if formulaic and sentimental scenario, delivered in a light tone with professionalism and a straight face.