Greatest Hits by Laura Barnett

Cass Wheeler – a British singer-songwriter, hugely successful since the early 70s, whose sudden disappearance from the music world three decades later has been the subject of intense speculation among her fans – is in the studio that adjoins her home, taking a journey back into her past. Her task is to choose sixteen songs from among the hundreds she has written since her early teens, for a uniquely personal Greatest Hits record, describing the arc of her life through song.

It has been over a decade since Cass last put out an album; ten years since a tragedy catapulted her into a breakdown. In the course of this one day – both ordinary and extraordinary – each song Cass plays sets off a chain of memories, leading us deep into her past, and into the creative impulse that has underpinned her work.

This is the story of a life – the highs and lows, love and separation, success and failure. Of what it is to live a fulfilled life, and how to make peace with our mistakes.

***

The day has begun slowly, gently, with a steady creeping into life.

8AM

***

(@wnbooks, 15 June 2017, ebook, 465 pages, bought from @AmazonKindle)

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GET A COPY

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It took quite a lot of pages for me to really get into this book. I’m not sure why I just didn’t connect with the characters or what was happening but something clicked and I fell madly in love with Cass and her life. I really enjoyed the structure of Greatest Hits with Cass choosing a song and the rest of the chapter uses flashbacks to recount a significant moment in her life, her childhood, early years as a struggling singer and her catapult to fame and all the pain and heartache along the way, especially her troubled marriage to a man who was once her muse and who becomes the method of her destruction and her trouble relationship with her daughter and the tragic consequences of fame and a broken marriage. I wept for Anna. There are hint for quite a while where Anna’s story is likely going to go and I didn’t want to read on because it was so upsetting. This is an incredible book.

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