Published by HarperCollins UK on April 26th 2017
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary Women, Family Life, Romance, Contemporary, Literary, Humorous, General
Find on Goodreads
What if your life was built on lies?
Julia Simmonds had never been bothered about not knowing who her father was. Having temperamental supermodel, Philadelphia Simmonds, as a mother was more than enough. Until she discovers she’s the secret love-child of the late, great artist Bruce Baldwin, and her life changes forever.
Uncovering the secrets of a man she never knew, Julia discovers that Bruce had written her one letter, every year until her eighteenth birthday, urging his daughter to learn from his mistakes.
Julia begins to dig deeper into the mysterious past of her parents, opening up a history she’d never have imagined, but as she discovers the truth she needs to decide if she is willing to forgive and forget...
Rachel Burton’s debut novel is one of the most emotional books I’ve read this year. I’m on an incredibly good run of really good Chick Lit books at the moment and I’m relishing that I’m discovering so many new authors as I read. I’m so impressed with the new calibre of authors coming through, that their debut novels are so impressive, so addictive, and they don’t seem like debuts at all. I absolutely devoured The Many Colours of Us, the story, the writing, the characters (particularly Edwin Jones *Insert heart emojis*), it was all so incredible.
The Many Colours of Us could have easily been a novel where, when Julia learned about her father, she pushed everyone away and started questioning her whole life/who she was, etc. And while there is a hint of that, I feel like Julia finding out that Bruce was her dad liberated her in a way. Yes, she was angry, yes she wondered why her mother had kept it as this huge secret when Bruce, seemingly, was a fairly decent person, if his letters are anything to go by and yes, it took a lot for her to understand her mother’s reasons, but it wasn’t an over the top reaction of that she suddenly had no idea who she was or what anything meant any more, as people are wont to do in fiction when they find this stuff out. Perhaps I’m a tad judgemental, but I kinda feel like if for any reason I found out my parents weren’t my parents, that wouldn’t change a thing. Your parents are who raise you, who make you, not necessarily who give birth to you and maybe that’s a simple view for someone who has two fantastic parents who are definitely mine (I have my dad’s nose and people are forever telling me I look like my mam, which I don’t see at all) but I feel like that’s how I would see it.
Julia was a great main character. I love how she took everything in her stride. Yes, this news rocked her world, but it didn’t tip her over the edge and she (mostly) had a good handle on her emotions, which is particularly impressive since not only did she finally find out who her dad was, but she had to also deal with a massive inheritance (the kind of inheritance one dreams of) but also the breakup of her relationship (which is, honestly, just a footnote because it wasn’t working anyway, really and Julia herself confesses to just stagnating along). But it’s still a lot for one person to deal with and I loved that Julia had Edwin there to guide her, to help her, for her to lean on should she need it, despite the fact they didn’t really know each other (although they did know each other, as kids, kinda). Edwin was wonderful. So gentle, so warm, and I loved how their relationship progressed throughout the book. It wasn’t the main plot of the book, but it was there bubbling away in the background and I loved their chemistry and understanding of all their issues. They both had things to work through, and there was a bit of drama, but it was never annoying, it was just two people, clearly attracted to each other, with a hell of a lot to deal with.
Rachel Burton is a fantastic writer. I loved Julia, I loved her mother, I loved Bruce’s letters, I loved the whole story, how it was written, I loved the whole idea that the past is the past and I loved seeing Julia adjust to her new surroundings, to her new life, to everything. The Many Colours of Us is a thought-provoking read, a sad read, but ultimately a hopeful read. It touched me, and I’m so excited to see what Rachel writes next, this book made me happy, sad, grateful and thankful for the family that I have. This is an incredible read, one that you won’t want to miss.