Maggie’s List by Brittany Severn

Maggie’s List by Brittany Severn
Publisher: Self-Published
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

When Ivy loses her twin sister, Maggie, to cancer, she discovers a secret journal to be read after her death. Ivy discovers that Maggie has a bucket list that she was unable to complete. To honor her sister, Ivy sets out to complete it on Maggie’s behalf.

As Ivy works through her grief, visiting all the places Maggie never got to see, she finds herself in Scotland. Eager to tick off a few more items on her list, Ivy teams up with Evan, a handsome tour guide. Pouring her heart out in the journal, Ivy soon realizes that her old life is gone, but a new one might be ready to begin.

Every day is a fresh page in the book of life.

Some of the most memorable scenes were the ones that showed how many loose ends surviving relatives must tie up after someone dies. This can be something as simple as cleaning and organizing a bedroom all the way to far more complex tasks like, say, finishing a bucket list. I was especially intrigued by the way Ivy’s grief leaked through sometimes as she checked these tasks off her to-do list. This was such a realistic approach to the process of grieving and healing after a terrible loss.

I would have liked to see more character development in this novella. While Ivy was an interesting protagonist, there wasn’t enough time spent exploring how she changed as a result of her sister’s death and the trips she took after the funeral. There was plenty of material for her to work with. I simply needed to see more examples of her personal growth in order to feel comfortable giving this a higher rating.

The romance was handled nicely. Grief can be all-consuming, especially when someone as young as Maggie dies, so I was curious to see how the author would balance Ivy’s grief for her twin with her budding romance with Evan. Luckily, the romantic scenes were handled sensitively and gave Ivy plenty of time to say goodbye to her sister before she thought of what she wanted to do with her life next. It was also cool to see space left for a possible sequel. I don’t know if Ms. Severn has one in the works, but I’ll happily read it if she does!

Maggie’s List made me smile.

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