You may have been like me growing up and spent your Sunday evenings listening to Bruno Brookes on the radio as he counted down the Top 40 charts on Radio 1. You may have also recorded it using a tape recorder. This seems so funny and archaic now, yet it was what most teenagers did in the late 1980s and 90s, and something that we all seemed to love. So you can imagine the lovely bursts of nostalgia I felt reading This Could Be Everything in which Bruno’s weekly chart show and the music of the time play a profound role.
Even the late, great INXS frontman Michael Hutchence makes a couple of cameo appearances in this coming of age story; one appearance is so touching and the other so lovely but also comedy.
Even if you are too young to remember this cultural era, This Could Be Everything is such an endearing novel full of emotional intelligence as it explores the complexity and pain of grief that I am sure will give you hope and make you smile.
Set in Notting Hill during the summer of 1990 when The Happy Mondays were in the charts, This Could Be Everything is the hopeful, poignant and very moving story of 19 year-old February Kingdom. Following a series of heart breaking family tragedies February barely leaves her bedroom, never mind her house and takes her only comfort listening to Bruno Brookes dulcet tones as she repeatedly plays the chart show back on tape.
February’s fearful and intense trepidation is skilfully juxtaposed with the passion and abandonment her aunt experiences as she embarks on an all-consuming affair with a married colleague. The empathy I felt for both of these characters, as well as for Robert, her aunt’s husband really touched me. Like their niece, Ann and Robert’s characters are full of complexity, texture and vulnerability. This adds a beautiful intricacy to their individual relationships with February which I found fascinating to explore.
Confronted by tragedy head on, February has hidden away from life, until a canary mysteriously appears flying around her kitchen enticing her to cautiously start living again. She soon finds out that the canary is called Yellow, and with Yellow comes the bird’s owner Theo Farrah. Theo manages Plato, a wannabe pop star, whom Theo is determined to get performing at Reading Festival, sure that this will catapult Plato to stardom and making them both rich. I love Theo as a character; he is a wise and vulnerable realist. Yet like February, even though he brings attitude and humour to the narrative, I wasn’t so sure about the larger than life Plato at times.
This Could Be Everything is a touching story full of depth. It is also full of subtle, emotional twists which gripped at my heart. I really loved reading this novel for so many reasons, the nostalgia it evoked in me, the emotionally tender story, the reality of family relationships, especially between sisters, and the hope and warmth that ran throughout the narrative. Released today on 16 February 2023, this is definitely a must read.
Thank you to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to the blog tour which kicks off today. To follow the blog tour over the next couple of weeks, please see below.