One Last Time by Helga Flatland
Translated by Rosie Hedger
Anne’s life is rushing to an unexpected and untimely end. But her diagnosis of terminal cancer isn’t just a shock for her and for her daughter Sigrid and granddaughter Mia it shines a spotlight onto their fractured and uncomfortable relationships.
On a spur-of-the moment trip to France the three generations of women reveal harboured secrets, long-held frustrations and suppressed desires, and learn humbling and heart-warming lessons about how life should be lived when death is so close.
With all of Helga Flatland’s trademark humour, razor-sharp wit and deep empathy, One Last Time examines the great dramas that can be found in ordinary lives, asks the questions that matter to us all and ultimately celebrates the resilience of the human spirit, in an exquisite, enchantingly beautiful novel that urges us to treasure and rethink … everything.
Having really enjoyed A Modern Family I have been so looking forward to One Last Time (Orenda Books) and is Helga Flatland’s sixth novel and her second to be translated into English and beautifully translated by Rosie Hedger. I have become a fan of Helga Flatland’s writing as she does really bring a story alive with her characters.
Families can sometimes be complicated, and secrets can be kept and even cracks that appear are papered over. In One Last Time we follow the story of Anne who has been diagnosed cancer and the news is bleak. Now is a time for those close to Anne to come together and no more so than her daughter Sigrid but also for her granddaughter Mia.
In this family there have been many problems that have really caused cracks in the family to become much deeper which in turn has affected all the relationships in the family. The story focuses mainly on mother and daughter but not ignoring the problems that are occurring between Sigrid and her daughter Mia.
You may think that this is a novel that could be bleak and even dark, but with Helga Flatland you just know that she will bring something into the story even humour will find a way into the devastating storyline. Many novels can leave a lasting impression and is why I have come to love Flatland’s writing as this is a storyline that will leave a legacy on the reader as much as Anne only wants to leave only the positive of memories behind. This is a family trying to reconnect and trying to reconnect with themselves.
At the end of the day all we have is love and love can mend broken hearts and even broken families. The characters that have been created are characters you will come to know, and it is Anne and her strength and even humour when faced with what is to come.
Helga Flatland has again weaved a beautiful and emotive story and one to be cherished like life itself.
My thanks to Karen Sullivan (Orenda Books) for the review copy of One Last Time by Helga Flatland.
One Last Time by Helga Flatland is published by Orenda Books on 24th June 2021. Available to order through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop or through Bookshop.org that supports your local independent bookshop. UK Bookshop.org