I received this book as a gift at the Headline New Voices 2019 event on January 23th 2019.
I was lucky enough to sit and talk with Richard about his book. Richard is an outstanding person. I could have sat and spoke with him all day. The love he has for this story goes all the way back to the point at which he wrote the first 100 page 25 years ago. I have to be honest, I went to the event with the sole purpose of trying to get a copy of Blood Orange by Harriet Tyce, but after speaking to Richard, I knew I absolutely NEEDED a copy of his book and I NEEDED to read it as soon as possible.
(Picture of the finished cover shown at the bottom of this post. Picture copied from Amazon – Link to book and picture here)
I remember my dreams but not where they start.
Further back, I recall some of yesterday and the day before that. Then everything goes into a haze.
Fragments of memories come looming back like red London buses in a pea-souper.
Time plays funny tricks these days.
I wait for the next memory. I wait and I wait.
At 117 years old, Billy Binns is the oldest man in Europe and he knows his time is almost up. But Billy has a final wish: he wants to remember what love feels like one last time. As he looks back at the relationships that have shaped his flawed life – and the events that shaped the century – he recalls a life full of hope, mistakes, heartbreak and, above all, love.
I couldn’t get enough of this book. I constantly wanted more, even as it came to an end.
Billy’s story is not just a romantic one. His five loves also include his son Alfie. The story follows him into war, in love, in life, in heartbreak and devastation, into a home and then, inevitably, to the end of his life.
So many things have happened in Billy’s life, which is to be expected considering he’s 117 years old, but so many things that you didn’t see coming (and neither did Billy) also happen. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but this really is a story of how one small decision really can change your entire life and send you on a path you did not have planned for yourself.
I fell completely and utterly in love with Billy. Despite the fact I found him reasonably naïve in his early life, and a little stupid in some of his decision making, it was all very endearing, and I just wanted to give him a cuddle and tell him it’ll all be okay, and he’s done his best.
Richard’s writing style is one that will have you coming back for more. I absolutely cannot wait to see what else he has lined up for us as I am aware, he has a few more books in the pipeline at the moment.
All in all, Billy Binns with give you a wave of emotions and will really have you thinking about your outlook on life. I cried, I laughed, I shouted, I was frustrated, I was rolling my eyes, but most of all, I fell completely and utterly in love.
Thank you, Billy Binns and Richard Lumsden, for this beautiful story that I will not forget in a hurry.
I gave this book 5/5 stars.