The Book of Tomorrow

The Book of Tomorrow

The Book of Tomorrow is a novel by Cecelia Ahern published in 2009. The narrative follows sixteen-year-old Tamara Goodwin, who's life is turned upside down by the unexpected suicide of her father. She and her mother relocate to her Aunt and Uncles house in the country to escape the city but Tamara quickly grows bored and wants to return to her old extravagant life. A travelling library arrives and within it is a mysterious leather-bound book locked with a golden clasp and a padlock. Tamara's curiosity gets the better of her and what she finds inside the book sets her on the track to find out the truth about her life and her family history, with the help of a local nun who knows much more than Tamara is willing to believe.

This book feels like more of a mystery novel than the traditional romance driven narratives Cecelia Ahern is famous for. The story is delicately constructed and the reader, along with Tamara, discover secrets from her past that could have remained dead and buried, in more than a literal sense. Of course, Cecelia's usual magical element, in this case it is the book, is the focus of the narrative but the romantic notion forms the basis and subplot rather than being the central narrative theme.

This book is far less innocent that it's predecessors too, with more adult themes of drug abuse, mental illness, and a coming of age sexuality being explored in the text. While Cecelia's books have never been targeted at anyone younger than their late teens, she has never directly discussed a sexual encounter in a book. She implies it in many stories, featuring the birth of children, pregnancy, affairs, and love-making, but never discusses it to the extent that is within The Book of Tomorrow. And while she doesn't go into great detail about it, it is still the primary cause of the climax of the book.

The magical element of Cecelia's books often make them seem a little unrealistic; imaginary friends in If You Could See Me Now, a place where lost things go in A Place Called Here, and a pill that can put you in two different places at the same time in The Gift. The magical Book of Tomorrow, while it is an impossible notion, makes for quite a realistic story about discovering family histories and the importance of identity.

While keeping in with Cecelia's traditional stories, The Book of Tomorrow offers a more grounded magical narrative making it a lot like a gripping soap opera. The lies and cover-ups that Tamara uncovers on her journey of self discovery lands her family in scandal even as she tries her best to cope as her world spirals out of control. It is a recommended read for any fan of Cecelia's books as it doesn't falter making it one of her great magical stories that we know and love, but also those who have never read her books before simply due to the well-constructed mystery narrative running through the book, right until the end.

By Sophie Atherton @SophAthers