One soul. One pact with the Devil. One chance at love.
Elizabeth Murray has been condemned to burn at the stake. As she awaits her fate, a strange, handsome man visits her cell. He offers her a deal: her soul in return for immortality, but what he offers is not a normal life. To survive Elizabeth must become Death itself.
Elizabeth must ease the passing of all those who die, appearing at the point of death and using her compassion to guide them over the threshold. She accepts and, for 500 years, whirls from one death to the next, never stopping to think of the life she never lived. Until one day, everything changes. She – Death – falls in love.
Desperate to escape the terms of her deal, she summons the man who saved her. He agrees to release her on one condition: that she gives him five lives. These five lives she must take herself, each one more difficult and painful than the last.
I was scrolling down the my timeline on twitter, as you do, and came across a tweet from Unbound that 5 lucky people could win a copy of The Life of Death. After a quick google, I felt like I’d really enjoy this book so I decided to give it a retweet and enter, lo and behold I won a copy! A big thanks to Unbound for hosting this competition and sharing such great titles.
The novel is focused on Elizabeth or Lizzy Murray as she navigates her role as ‘Death’ and gives comfort to the souls of those who are close to passing. I thought this was such a unique and interesting concept for a story and there were some truly touching moments as the book progressed. We read as she fulfils her deal with the devil to help these souls, over hundreds of years. I loved the bits of history or different time periods we got to see Lizzy experience and how each person she visited, is distinct and has their own voice.
You discover in the authors note page at the beginning that the author, Lucy Booth was diagnosed with cancer after which she wrote The Life of Death. Sadly she did not live to see it published but this gave the book another layer of meaning for me. It’s poignant to read Lizzy’s journey in the book and the meditation on life and death and consider how Booth may have been thinking about these issues whilst writing and dealing with her diagnosis. I feel honoured to have read her book and have connected with her words so deeply. This book deals with very human issues and it speaks to the sensitive and scared part of us all that wonders about death, love and loss.
I also liked the element of the deal Lizzy makes in order to win her soul back; she must complete the difficult task of taking the lives of 5 people, with each one getting progressively harder and more emotionally taxing. Here Booth forces both Lizzy and readers to question themselves, is it okay for Lizzy to take five lives in place of her own? How far would someone go for their own purposes? Is there any way it can even be done without losing your morals? So many valid points here and Booth explores them all through Lizzys inner turmoil as she sets about her task.
Overall, I enjoyed reading The Life of Death, I found it to be a refreshing and deeply important novel. There were some very sad moments for sure and it’s emotional but I think readers from all walks of life will be able to relate to some element of the novel and feel a connection. I know I certainly did.
Until next time,