This Writer Gal

Kakul Ehsan Butt

A Year and a Day, a book by Isabelle Broom

A Year and a Day is a novel written by Isabelle Broom, who is a Book Reviews Editor at Heat magazine. She has a pretty cool job, if I must say.

Okay, so let’s review her book. I was initially drawn to this book because it is set in Prague and I would read everything and anything about Prague. (Gosh, how sad am I?!)

Meaning behind the title

The title is clever because it indicate stories about wishes coming true (hopefully in a non-cheesy way). The synopsis suggests three different women experiencing the magical warmth inside the fairy dust sprinkled snow-globe city of Prague. Pretty cosy, right? Well….a bit about that later. Let me first explain the meaning behind the title.

In Prague, along the Charles Bridge where all the statues are found, there is a spot with a shiny golden cross marking where Saint John Nepomuk’s body was thrown into the river Vltava by the orders of a paranoid King Wenceslas IV in 1393. Legend has it that seven stars were seen over the very spot he was thrown from. So, many tourists who know about this story will touch the plaque with a cross and stars and make a wish. It is said that a wish will come true within a year and one day!

In touch with reality

I must hand it to Isabelle Broom for creating characters that ache of realism and who slowly unpeel as chapters go by, revealing their insecurities, fears and aspirations. These characters can be found in everyday life. Megan and Ollie remind me of friends I have, with their easy-going demeanour and sharp wit. Sophie reminds me of some girls who make me eye-roll because they have not known life without a partner by their side. These are the girls who put their partners up on a high pedestal and worship them like a religion. Hope reminds me of women who have never known independence until their children have grown up and left the nest.

The title of the book carefully interweave into the these women’s lives, with each of their aspirations being left at the hand of a superstitious inanimate object. Sophie’s storyline was sad, as I found in the end. I did briefly feel bad for thinking she was so annoying with her constant hero worshipping of Robin. At one point, I wanted to throw the book away, if I read any more about her love for Robin and how wonderfully perfect he was to her. But I am glad I didn’t. I am glad to see her hero worship take on the next level of craziness. Jokes aside, people like her do exist, where the understanding cease to exist when love cease to exist. It’s poetic in a dark way, so I understand.

A free tour guide

I also love how readers are taken on a tour guide by these three women. On every page, there’s a wonderful description of places like the Old Town square, where the Christmas markets have come to life amidst the chilly and snowy evenings. I love how it takes me back to my own memories of Prague. I enjoyed travelling through Prague with Megan and Hope. I didn’t enjoy it so much with Sophie, because every place reminded her of Robin and I felt I was being a third wheel on her trip.

So, who will this book appeal to?

It will appeal to those seeking light romantic stories set in a fairy-tale Christmassy town. For those seeking epic love stories that is on par to Anna Karenina, look elsewhere. It will make readers want to book a flight to Prague this winter. I think secretly, Isabelle Broom has been hired to promote tourism in Prague. Could I envy her more?!

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