This was a different kind of read for me, a book about families overcoming adversity with more than a few secrets to muddy the waters.
The Accidental Life of Greg Millar is told in the first person present tense by Lucy Arigho, a graphic designer. A young woman mourning the death of her fiancé and struggling to come to terms with the fact that the life she imagined has gone. Then she meets Greg Millar through the course of her work. He is a crime fiction writer who is full of zest for life. Greg and Lucy bond over their respective losses, Greg’s wife died in childbirth five years previously and since then Greg has raised their two children, Toby and Rachel with the help of his live-in nanny Hilary.
The first part of the book was a fairly light look at an emerging love affair with Lucy infected by Greg’s outlook on life. When a rapid engagement followed I was beginning to think that it may well be overly saccharine for my tastes but when the family and Lucy decamped to France for the summer their lives took a much darker turn. Not least because Rachel at ten had taken firmly against Lucy and certainly wasn’t amenable to the thought of her becoming a firm fixture – Lucy meanwhile has taken her older sister Gayle’s advice and is frantically reading books on becoming a step-parent.
Once the book moved on from the somewhat superficial beginning there was lots to become interested in although the focus remained on relationships of all shapes and sizes, there were other big issues to be explored although at times I felt that Lucy was impossibly naïve at times and other characters had clearly been living in a bubble, this was a minor point which didn’t detract from the overall plot.
I don’t often get overly-emotional by the books I read but this one did see a sneaky tear or two roll down my cheeks as the story moved towards its grand finale indicating that the author had done her job well. She made me care about this family from Dublin with the scenes concerning the children very well executed. Toby being younger was a typical little boy although I didn’t feel the author was quite as diligent at charting his growth as she was with Rachel who right from the start came across as a genuine girl growing up without her mother, a young girl who looked out for her much younger brother and who enjoyed the adoration shown by Gayle’s younger sons. We see Rachel mature and become part of the solution in the trials that the family faces but Toby remained the cosseted baby, an image that any self-respecting young boy would object to!
This book, despite not depicting any murders or crimes held my attention with its somewhat darker take on the boy meets girl storyline, a book that had enough issues so that I genuinely wanted to know how the story would pan out and I’m glad to say it definitely ended on a high-note.
I’d like to thank the author, Aimee Alexander for giving me a copy of The Accidental Life of Greg Millar for review purposes. This unbiased review is my thank you to her.