Book Review: The Many Colours Of Us by Rachel Burton
This will be the last letter I write to you. I hope she will let you read this one. I hope she will let you ask questions and hear the story you need to hear. The story of you. And if she doesn’t I hope that one day you will get curious, wonder where you came from and come and find me.
Called to a lawyers office to be informed of an inheritance, Julia Simmonds, discovers she’s the secret love-child of the late, great artist Bruce Baldwin. With temperamental seventies supermodel Philadelphia Simmonds as a mother, Julia is used to drama, but is completely unprepared for the way her life is about to irrevocably change.
Bruce not only left Julia his house, but as she discovers, her father wrote to her. One letter every year of her life, urging Julia to learn from his mistakes.
It is finally time for Julia to dig deep into her mysterious past and take control of her future, but as more secrets and lies are uncovered, she must find the courage to follow her dreams…
Published by HQ Digital 26th April 2017
I make no secret of the fact that I'm an emotional reader, drawn to books that are likely to result in a lump in my throat and a quiet sniffle into a tissue (while my 12 year old exclaims "are you crying again?") and that's what attracted me to The Many Colours Of Us in the first place. It sounded like an emotional read, with letters from the past revealing a life changing secret. Just my cup of tea.
The story centers on main character, Julie. A woman in her early thirties and somewhat adrift having dated the same guy for a decade, without taking the next step of living together, working an office job she hates and renting the spare bedroom in her friends dilapidated house. But Julia's life is about to change - she's just discovered her father was a successful and respected artist and she's the sole heir of his entire estate.
So girl stuck in a rut, finds riches and all is well - right? Well, yes but not exactly, because The Many Colours Of Us has more depth than that, and the added touch of letters, wrote annually on Julia's birthday draw a more complex and human story of mistakes, regret and an innate fear of rejection. Her father's absence in her childhood is a case of leaving something so long, it's becomes almost impossible to know how to dare to change things. Bruce's letters provoked mixed feelings in me - anger, frustration and yet, some sympathy too. Similarly, Julia's mum has acted in a credibly human way by being both selfish and selfless. There's blame on both sides and I couldn't help feel that someone at some point in the past just needed to bang the two of their heads together. Both being celebrities and famous though, I felt the people around them had probably pandered to them rather than been honest with them.
I really liked the character of Julia though, she's far nicer than I ever would've been - a genuinely warm, understanding and thoughtful person and it was easy to root for her. There's a real feeling of self discovery from this character, as she not only finds out about her father, but gains confidence in herself having been overshadowed by her glamorous mother. I also enjoyed the slowly simmering romance between herself and solicitor Edwin, which was tender rather than passionate.
With some more lighthearted moments - usually from Julia's mother, Philadelphia (who quite frankly wouldn't have looked out of place on the set of Ab Fab) and exuberant Italian cafe owner, Marco, The Many Colours Of Us was a delight to read. I read it on a lazy Sunday morning and it would be perfect for those times when all you want is a relaxing book to while away some hours peacefully. It had emotion, entertainment and romance with an interesting cast of characters and a plot that allowed the right amount of intrigue to keep me reading. I really enjoyed the time spent in Julia's world and left it feeling satisfied and hopeful for her future, and with a big smile on my face.
(I read an advance Ebook edition courtesy of Netgalley)