This Could Be Everything by Eva Rice

My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate in the blog tour for This Could Be Everything by Eva Rice. I’m delighted to share my review today.

Published by Simon and Schuster on 16th February 2023, This Could Be Everything is available for purchase through the links here.

This Could Be Everything

From the author of modern classic The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets comes a feel-good novel about hope, love and the powerful bond between sisters. 

It’s 1990. The Happy Mondays are in the charts, a 15-year-old called Kate Moss is on the cover of the Face magazine, and Julia Roberts wears thigh-boots for the poster for a new movie called Pretty Woman.

February Kingdom is nineteen years old when she is knocked sideways by family tragedy. Then one evening in May she finds an escaped canary in her kitchen and it sparks a glimmer of hope in her. With the help of the bird called Yellow, Feb starts to feel her way out of her own private darkness, just as her aunt embarks on a passionate and all-consuming affair with a married American drama teacher.

This Could Be Everything is a coming-of-age story with its roots under the pavements of a pre-Richard Curtis-era Notting Hill that has all but vanished. It’s about what happens when you start looking after something more important than you, and the hope a yellow bird can bring…

My Review of This Could Be Everything

There’s a yellow canary in February Kingdom’s kitchen!

This Could Be Everything is utterly charming, tenderly written and a maelstrom of emotions played out through February’s story and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the first person approach as it enabled the reader to see right inside February’s mind and witness her grief, her fears, her anger, her love, her jealousy, her hope – all her emotions – so vividly. The plot is measured and well paced to match the gradual emergence of February from her agoraphobia arising from her grief. There’s a fascinating metamorphosis that I found so affecting making me love February completely. It took me a while to warm to February, but Eva Rice’s skilful writing made me a snivelling, weeping wreck by the end of her journey. That’s not to say that this is a navel gazing morose story. Indeed, there are flashes of brilliant humour that I adored too.

Eva Rice plunges her readers into an absolutely authentic era in This Could Be Everything. Through cultural references, fashion and, especially, music, she provides so much that will resonate with those reading February’s story. I confess this aspect of the narrative made me feel quite old as I realised I was more Ann and Robert’s age at the time! However, it’s not just the brilliantly researched cultural elements that packs a punch here. Rather, societal attitudes are subtly and effectively explored so that my heart went out to Robert and Plato in particular. Eva Rice explores the concept that we are not necessarily what we seem. I loved the names of the characters. The irony is that Diana is named after the huntress, but it is February who is hunting for her place in the world and a self-understanding that takes time to happen. Similarly I loved the fact that Plato had a physical presence akin to the philosopher’s supposed size, but better still, his throw away lines are imbued with real philosophy and meaning. That said, it was Theo who held me so captivated. He’s flawed, a catalyst for change, fiercely loyal – including to himself – and as a result I thought he was wonderful.

It’s actually quite difficult to review This Could be Everything without spoiling the link between February and other readers. The effect of the novel, of Yellow’s role, of the lyrics scattered through the text, of the slight mysticism, is to enhance the reader’s own sense of self so profoundly and I think This Could Be Everything will feel very different to each reader. I found myself reassessing my own approach to life and how I might behave in the future. My own version of ‘everything’ seems to have changed. Maybe, as a result of reading This Could Be Everything, I might find pieces of blue eggshell around me too, but you’ll have to read the novel to see if it has the same impact on you. I recommend that you do because whilst This Could Be Everything is billed as a coming-of-age story, there’s no limit on what that age might be!

About Eva Rice

Eva Rice has written 5 novels and is the author of the Sunday Times bestseller The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets– a post-war coming-of-age story that was runner-up in the 2006 Richard and Judy Book of the Year. It is currently being developed by Fudge Park (creators of The Inbetweeners) and Moonage Pictures (Pursuit of Love) as a major new TV series.

Eva has toured with bands since her early twenties. She has written the music and lyrics for Harriet a musical based on an early Jilly Cooper novel due to open in 2023. She has a geek-like fascination with pop music, and her party trick is recalling chart positions.
Follow her on Twitter @EvaRiceAuthor.

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