This Is Us by Helen McGinn is a poignant and hopeful story about friendship, marriage, and new beginnings. It’s the story of Stella’s journey, as she struggles to find her way in life without her husband.
Stella and Simon have been married for eleven years and have three children. They also have a beautiful home in London and a successfull business. Their life is perfect … or so Stella thinks. One evening, Simon abruptly tells Stella he no longer feels the same way about her, and leaves. Just like that, he disappears. Suddenly, Stella’s picture-perfect life is shattered. She’s left devastated and trying to figure out what to tell their children.
As if that’s not tragic enough, the more Stella searches for clues and answers to piece together what’s happened, the more secrets and unfavorable information she uncovers about Simon. Not only does she not know what happened to her marriage, she doesn’t even know who Simon really is. While Stella tries to get her life back together, the mystery of Simon’s whereabouts and identity looms.
Is this story too heavy? No. It’s overall a hopeful and uplifting story about friendship and new beginnings. At the core of the story, is the unwavering support Stella receives from the women in her life. In her time of need, Stella was surprised by the support system she didn’t even know she had: her sister, close group of friends, colleagues, and those she meets along the way.
The storyline is well-balanced with humor, friendship banter, and hopeful moments. One of my favorite parts of the story was the trip Stella took with her friends to Florence. The vivid descriptions of the food, wine, art, and architecture truly transported me to that city. Just like Stella and her friends, I didn’t want their trip to end. It took me back to my own visit to Florence years ago.
This is my first book by this author, and I loved it. This is a memorable story that will stay with me for a long time. Needless to say, I highly recommend this book. If you can, listen to the audiobook. It truly makes the story feel captivating and real.
I think this book would be a good selection for a book club. It offers a lot of food for thought and opportunites for discussions. Also, Stella and her friends had a book club themselves 📚🍷.
Have you read this story too? Which other books by Helen McGinn have you read?