The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin

Blog tour: 18 to 28 February 2021

Synopsis

An extraordinary friendship. A lifetime of stories. Their last one begins here.

Life is short. No-one knows that better than seventeen-year-old Lenni living on the terminal ward. But as she is about to learn, it’s not only what you make of life that matters, but who you share it with.

Dodging doctor’s orders, she joins an art class where she bumps into fellow patient Margot, a rebel-hearted eight-three-year-old from the next ward. Their bond is instant as they realize that together they have lived an astonishing one hundred years.

To celebrate their shared century, they decide to paint their life stories: of growing old and staying young, of giving joy, of receiving kindness, of losing love, of finding the person who is everything.

As their extraordinary friendship deepens, it becomes vividly clear that life is not done with Lenni and Margot yet.

Fiercely alive, disarmingly funny and brimming with tenderness, The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot unwraps the extraordinary gift of life even when it is about to be taken away, and revels in our infinite capacity for friendship and love when we need them most.

My review

Lenni Pettersson is 17 and suffering from a life-limiting condition. She’s on the terminal ward at the Glasgow Princess Royal Hospital. She’s not sure how long she’s got left but she’s determined to make the most of it.

Lenni attends an art therapy class in the Rose Room at the hospital after bumping into the lady who set it up and it’s there that she meets another patient, 83-year-old Margot Macrae, who is from a nearby ward. The pair realise that together they have lived 100 years and decide to celebrate this by painting their memories of their years alive and sharing their stories with each other. It’s a brilliant idea and the pair enthusiastically get to work!

Lenni also becomes friendly with the priest at the hospital chapel, Father Arthur, and shares some lovely moments with him as she tries to work out the meaning of life and what it’s all about. At first, he’s not sure quite what to make of her as she’s quite opinionated and says what she thinks!

Margot’s story is intriguing and we build up a picture of her past from the little snippets of time that she shares with Lenni. It’s fascinating to put the pieces of the jigsaw together and discover that she’s had a full life with great moments of happiness, joy and love but there have also been dark, sad times of loss too.

Lenni is amazing! Despite her awful predicament, she tries to stay positive and has a very refreshing and humorous approach to life. I loved her little quips and observations. She was often funny in her youthful and innocent way without really meaning to be.

Lenni has such a profound effect on everyone she meets and, despite the big age gaps, it’s moving to see her friendships with Margot and Father Arthur develop. She doesn’t have any family support and she could be depressed and maudlin but she’s actually the opposite and tries to see the beauty in life and keep busy.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book! It was poignant, thought-provoking and sad but also amusing with a positive message about life. It was fascinating to learn more about Lenni and Margot’s pasts and see how they’d got to their current point in life. Although Lenni’s life was tragically cut short, she’d filled her life and had many special memories to look back on. She had a great impact on others at the hospital in the short amount of time they spent with her.

In spite of the sad topic, the book isn’t mawkish or depressing; the opposite in fact! In the beautiful friendship between Lenni and Margot, we see a celebration of life – the good and the bad – and the story shows us not to fear the future, even if it is uncertain.

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is a beautiful, heart-wrenching read and one that I’m still thinking about several days later. This is a special read and all of the characters, even the supporting ones, are memorable and inspiring in their own way. I’ll definitely be buying a hard copy – with that gorgeous, colourful and simple but eye-catching cover – to keep and reread.

Buy the book

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin can be purchased from Amazon on Kindle and in hardback, and as an eBook from Kobo and iBooks.

About the author

Marianne Cronin was born in 1990. She studied English and Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning a PhD in applied linguistics from the University of Birmingham. She now spends most of her time writing, with her newly-adopted rescue cat sleeping under her desk. When she’s not writing, Marianne can be found performing improv and stand up in the West Midlands, where she lives.

Her debut novel, The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot, is to be published around the world and is being adapted into a feature film by Sony/Columbia Pictures. It has been sold in 25 territories to date.

Twitter: @itsmcronin
Instagram: @itsmariannecronin

Blog tour

Thanks to Hana Sparkes at Transworld Books for my digital copy of The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for my place on the blog tour.

See the banner below for more stops on the #blogtour.

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2 thoughts on “The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin

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