Is there ever a right time to let go?
HOW DO YOU LEAVE THE PERSON YOU LOVE THE MOST?
Will Curtis’s six-year-old daughter, Ella, knows her father will never leave her. After all, he promised her so when her mother died. And he’s going to do everything he can to keep his word.
What Will doesn’t know is that the promise he made to his little girl might be harder to keep than he imagined. When he’s faced with an impossible decision, Will finds that the most obvious choice might not be the right one.
But the future is full of unexpected surprises. And father and daughter are about to embark on an unforgettable journey together . . .
The synopsis for Time to Say Goodbye doesn’t give much away about the plot at all but from tweets that I’d seen I had my suspicions about what the book might be about and I was right. In a nutshell this is a novel about a man who has promised his young daughter that he will never leave her. Ella has already lost her mum and so this promise is incredibly important but sadly promises are sometimes broken despite our best efforts.
Will has no choice in the end about leaving Ella because he is killed in a road accident. He finds himself outside of his body and he knows he simply has to find a way to get through to his little girl, to comfort her. The problem is whether this is going to be a good thing for Ella in the long run, or should she be left to adjust to life without her dad.
I love the premise of this book, I seem to be quite drawn to novels like this and have read a few now that are in a similar vein. I really wanted to fall in love with these characters and their stories but it just lacked a little something for me. I was expecting this book to be a real tear-jerker but, while there are moments that are incredibly emotional, it didn’t quite get there for me. I did love Ella and Will but I wanted to be focused on them and it felt like there were just a few too many elements to the sub-plots that kept me away from the main story for too long, and this stopped the emotional connection that I wanted to have with Ella and Will.
Having said that, there are some very moving moments throughout the novel. I adored the moment when Will finds Ella in a dream, it was such a special scene and really did get to me. I treasure the dreams I have of my late mum as they are the only times when I can hear her voice, in real life I can’t remember it anymore so the days when I wake up and just for a fleeting second I can hear her are wonderful. I felt such a fluttery, happy feeling when Ella finds Will on that beach, it’s an incredible moment and it seemed so real and believable.
Some of the scenes with Will and his father were beautiful and very emotional too. I’m sure so many people wish they could have just one more minute, or wish they had the chance to tell someone they loved them just one more time but in real life once someone is gone, they’re gone and there are no do overs.
Will’s anguish and distress about whether he should stay as a spirit with his daughter was heart-renching to read. To know that leaving Ella all over again could likely cause real emotional damage to her but to stay having seen the potential future she would have left Will with such a terrible dilemma. I could feel Will’s pain radiating off the page and was so hoping that he’d find a way to have peace and for his daughter to be ok.
My issue with this book is purely down to the fact that I wish there hadn’t been so much going on alongside the main story with Will and Ella. I know sub-plots are there to move the main story along and to maybe add in the odd twist but in a book that relies so much on the emotional dilemma of the main character, too many distractions away from that just watered down the experience a little bit for me. The moments that I loved in the book were absolutely wonderful, and so believable – I just wanted more of them.
On the whole this is a good debut novel, and I’m looking forward to reading S. D. Robertson’s next book! I rated this 3.5 stars.
I received this book from Avon via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
Time to Say Goodbye is out now.