By: Katy Regan

Published: February 15, 2022

Publisher: Berkley


I love sibling stories and this one of siblings reconnecting after a horrible incident in their childhood gave me all the warm-hug feelings. Siblings Stephen and Emily were the best of friends, doing everything together, including watching the birds. Stephen has a passion for birds, especially the Swifts, who migrate back to their English village the same week every year. Emily and Stephen would spend many hours in the marshes watching the birds, sometimes even with their dad. When the mum and dad get a divorce and their mum marries their dad’s best friend, the family dynamics are never the same.

Emily, now an adult, and working for a housing agency that helps homeless people, hopes every day to see her brother walk through their front doors. You see, Stephen has been homeless ever since he was released from prison several years ago. Emily hasn’t seen him since she was in college and doesn’t like to think about the day that Stephen was sent to prison. Instead, so hopes that someday, she will be able to be the heroic sister that gets him back on his feet.

Stephen hasn’t been able to get a footing on life since his four years in prison. Drugs and alcohol wreaked havoc on his life and he’s been living life on the streets ever since. When he realizes he can’t take another day of it and there is more to life than street life, he takes a chance on walking into the local housing agency for some help.

The event that led to Stephen going to prison is alluded to throughout the story, but you don’t get a full grasp of the event until nearly the end of the novel. What led up to that event and the final incident have affected their whole family ever since. Forgiveness is a large theme in this story and one that isn’t so easily given.

“Stephen has spent so long yearning for his mum, for her love and forgiveness, that now, even if she were to forgive him, he was starting to wonder if he could forgive her.”


As a bird lover, I enjoyed the explanations of the various birds and Stephen and Emily’s Bird Bucket List. I actually wasn’t sure what a Swift was so I had to look them up. They remind me of a barn swallow here in Iowa. But, his passion for birds and his deep love for his sister warmed me to Stephen and I made me root for him in the story. Emily’s grandiose living surprised me and made me a bit curious about her, but when the story comes together in the end, it all makes sense.

A lot of the story is told in flashbacks to Stephen and Emily’s childhood intermixed with the present day. There is a lot of pain and hurt in this family and it manifests itself in adulthood in many ways. Emily can’t seem to stay with a guy for more than a few months. Stephen can’t stop living on the streets. Their dad has moved on with a new family and the mum is stuck in a neverending cycle and can’t find a way out. When one final secret comes out, there is the fear that everything that the story has built up to will be for naught. But, I appreciated how Regan brought the story to a conclusion. I wasn’t sure I could handle any more disappointment at the end. So, even though the ending isn’t sad, it’s left open and hopeful of a future with no more secrets and lots of healing.

Fans of family dramas, stories with long-held secrets, and characters to root for will enjoy Regan’s newest fiction novel set in her home, the United Kingdom. For more about the author, check out Katy Regan’s website, HERE.

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Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to make a purchase through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.
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