The Collected Regrets of Clover

The Collected Regrets of Clover

by Mikki Brammer

3.5 out of 5

Clover Brooks has forgotten how to live.

It might be because she spends her time caring for people in their final days, working as a death doula in New York City.

Or it might be because she has a regret of her own - one she can't bring herself to let go of.

But then she meets Claudia: a feisty old woman who has one last wish . . .

As Clover begins a new adventure, will she remember how to live her own big, beautiful life?

A big-hearted story about figuring out what you want from life - and then finding the courage to go after it. Perfect for fans of Sally Page, Ruth Hogan and Clare Pooley.

Clover is a death doula - she helps people come to terms with their ending lives. She religiously records their final words of advice, or regrets; to the point where she forgets to live.

I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The story follows Clover, a woman in her mid-thirties. Despite living in bustling New York, she's a complete hermit. She lives in her late-grandfather's apartment, surrounded by all of his belongings, nearly as lifeless as the rest of his collection.
She lives vicariously through others, without ever connecting with anyone.
Things start to change when she meets Sebastian, and his dying-but-still-feisty grandmother Claudia.

I found the first half of the book very slow and boring. We see everything from Clover's perspective,  we get to see flashes of her earlier life, where she was always introverted, but at least enjoyed travelling. Now, her life is non-existent. She avoids everyone except her elderly neighbour/surrogate-grandfather-figure Leo. Her life seems to have no value, except in observing others at a distance.
Clover has developed the habit of writing the final words of the dying in books, splitting them into advice, confessions and of course, regrets. Any time she is feeling overwhelmed by the world, she finds comfort in reading them.

The book is well-written, and I liked all of the characters that are trying to be a part of Clover's life. I think the author does a great job of showing how disconnected from the world Clover is. And I think that's the problem, Clover's life is a boring thing to concentrate on for such a long stretch.

Claudia's story injects a bit of life - but again, Clover is just relaying someone else's story again.

It's only with the trip to Maine with Sebastian, that the monotonous circle really starts to break.

I really liked how this book ended. That Clover starts to live life on her terms. Yes, she has a love interest for the first time in her life, and it did help her; but the real prize is Clover embracing and being happy with who she is.


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