About the Book:
Inspired by real, hundred-year-old love letters.
At thirty-three and with her future unclear, Ali Waller finds her way home again. A box of long-forgotten love letters written to her great-grandmother holds the unlikely key to Ali finding her new path.
As she tracks down the letter writer and his descendants, Ali learns the magic of love, hope, and resilience.
Told by three characters, and across century and an ocean, Genealogy is an enchanting story about love and loss, taking chances, and embracing the surprises that life brings.
Inspired by the real 100 year old love letters belonging to the author’s great-grandmother, Genealogy is a moving story of love, missed opportunities and destiny in action.
‘Come with me, Alice. Stay with me, explore with me, journey with me. Marry me. Because when the ground gives way under my feet again, I don’t want to have been the man who sent you pink roses, too afraid to buy the red ones that I wanted to give you. I don’t want to be the man who worked so long to prepare the perfect place for you that he spent all of his life waiting. I’m sick of waiting. Beyond full of it. Without you I am hollow.’
More than just a love story, Genealogy is also a novel about finding yourself when your life has taken an unexpected turn. In many ways, it’s about second chances, not only at love and happiness, but for yourself, and tuning into what you really want out of life. Lessons from the past thread through this narrative and I enjoyed Ali’s journey of discovery – both of her great-grandmother’s letters that reveal Alice’s past life and Ali’s own personal growth as she stood at a crossroads within her life.
‘And at that moment, Alice became real to me. I could be her. I could be the woman writing letters. And a hundred years later, she could be me.’
I really enjoyed the arrangement of this novel, hearing Elliott’s story (the letter writer) as well as Alice’s version of events, each bracketed by Ali herself at key points in time. While I predicted the direction of Ali’s story, I appreciated the way it unfolded. Instead of the usual insta-love and happy ever afters that sometimes typify the romance genre, the growing connection between Ali and Ben, Elliott’s great-grandson, was more realistic with an open ended finish that inspired hope for the future of these characters. I particularly loved how the author paralleled the love letters between Elliott and Alice from a hundred years earlier with the email exchange between Ali and Ben. The same intent, but 100 years later, adjusted for the technology of our times.
“I don’t want to look back in twenty years and wish that I’d explored this with him. I don’t want to have a file on a computer somewhere of all our text messages and emails and let a big ‘what if’ haunt me.”
“I get it. You don’t want to be Alice with her box of love letters.”
Genealogy is a novel that has a wide appeal. The letters between Elliott and Alice contain a wonderful nod to early 20th century history and the contemporary story about Ali and Ben had a lot to offer in terms of contemplation and good feels. Family history is such an area of growing interest and I enjoyed how this novel taps into that, proving that for many of us, we still, no matter how far we’ve come, are often looking back over one shoulder for our roots, the beginning of who we are, as a means of measuring who we want to become.
Thanks is extended to the author, Mae Wood, for providing me with a copy of Genealogy for review.
About the Author:
Professional sassypants and novelist, Mae Wood has been a bookworm her entire life. She loves cheeses, complicated crafts that she’ll start but never complete, and puns. A while ago Mae decided that she needed to give up the fear that she couldn’t write “great literature” and write what she wants to read. And she wants romance. And laughter. And real life. She wants heroines who are brave. Brave enough to be themselves and brave enough to fall in love. She wants men who are strong and kind. Mae is married, and has two darling children and an old dog who naps at her feet while she writes.
Published by Atacama Books
Released on 25th October 2018