“Days of Wonder” by Keith Stuart – a father creates magical birthdays for his daughter … but she grows up

Tom wants to make birthdays special for the daughter he is bringing up on his own. As the manager of the local theatre he has access to people, costumes and props and so, from her earliest childhood, Hannah’s birthdays are Days of Wonder in this book by Keith Stuart.

Now that Hannah is a teenager, however, her birthdays are not all important to her but her father is hanging on to the past almost as though he fears her growing up. Hannah wants to explore life a bit more and she also wants her father to have a new relationship. The theatre is under threat and there needs to be a campaign to save it and Hannah’s lifelong heart condition is taking a turn for the worse. For Tom and Hannah things are hard and the future looks bleak.

The author takes all these different strands and weaves them together into a story of two people, with a lot of good friends, adjusting to changes and learning to love every day as though it is wonderful. This description makes the book sound rather sentimental and mushy and I assure you that it is not (although it is best to keep the tissues handy). The author deals with big issues such as identity, growing up, loneliness and death but also manages to make this book funny in places and to include lots of sub-plots about the lives of friends and those in the theatre.

This is a feel good book but it doesn’t duck the reality of life for some people, especially those dealing with a life-limiting disease. It tries to show the importance of making each day special when we don’t know what tomorrow will bring and of understanding what is important in our lives. I enjoyed it a lot.

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