The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg

I bought The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg for my mum for Mother’s Day. I had every intention of stealing it for myself to read, as with all tactical book purchases for family members. When my mum read it, she cried, which is unusual for her. I therefore knew that if mum had shed some tears, I would probably bawl my eyes out, and so it was.

Doris is a very elderly lady, who walks back through the memories of her life, via the entries in her red leather address book. The stories unfold across Stockholm, Paris, New York and England, detailing love, family, friendship, heartbreak, war and hardship.

At the end of Chapter 9, Doris recounts falling in love with an American man in a Parisian park in the 1930s.

He gave me such a wonderful sense of peace; I found myself breathing more calmly, and my body took on a different weight when I was with him. I wanted to stay there forever. In his arms.
            Money, status, and the future couldn’t mean less to me than they did right there, right then, in that French park one warm spring day, as I walked alongside the man in the tattered canvas shoes.

The Red Address Book, Sofia Lundberg

It is a beautiful chapter, and the remainder of the story hangs on whether they will ever see each other again. With Doris’s rapidly deteriorating health and the book drawing ever closer to the end, it is increasingly emotional and fair to say I spent the final 30 pages in a steady stream of tears.

This book has some wonderful storytelling, held together by a great cast of characters. The perfect ingredients for a weepy book – long lost love and death, are there in abundance. If you have ever cared for and lost an elderly relative, you will find it difficult not to be moved by this lovely book.