Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Six Weeks to Live by Catherine McKenzie
Narrator: Julia Whelan, Alex Allwine, Eileen Stevens, Caitlin Davies
Published by Simon & Schuster Audio on May 4, 2021
Genres: Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
Length: 9 hours, 9 minutes
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Jennifer Barnes never expected the shocking news she received at a routine doctor’s appointment: she has a terminal brain tumor—and only six weeks left to live.
While stunned by the diagnosis, the forty-eight-year-old mother decides to spend what little time she has left with her family—her adult triplets and twin grandsons—close by her side. But when she realizes she was possibly poisoned a year earlier, she’s determined to discover who might have tried to get rid of her before she’s gone for good.
Separated from her husband and with a contentious divorce in progress, Jennifer focuses her suspicions on her soon-to-be ex. Meanwhile, her daughters are each processing the news differently. Calm medical student Emily is there for whatever Jennifer needs. Moody scientist Aline, who keeps her mother at arm’s length, nonetheless agrees to help with the investigation. Even imprudent Miranda, who has recently had to move back home, is being unusually solicitous.
But with her daughters doubting her campaign against their father, Jennifer can’t help but wonder if the poisoning is all in her head—or if there’s someone else who wanted her dead.
I was excited to read Six Weeks to Live with its family drama and mystery. The mother, Jennifer, quickly finds some irregularities in her tests and realizes she may have been poisoned. She spends lots of time figuring out who it might have been and how they might have done it.
It was easy to dislike her ex-husband and her daughters weren’t the greatest either. I liked her friend Suzie, but she was gone for 3 weeks in the middle on a trip. I empathized with her wanting to know what happened and feeling angry at someone cutting short her life and plans. I was caught up in the investigation and mad no one helped her more.
There was some really family drama as over the course of the story so many secrets were revealed. Again, I felt kind of upset when the daughters berated her for the worst moments in her life. She certainly made mistakes but she worked very hard to get past them, too. Things are quite different than they were 25 years ago also.
It was easy to believe various family members were responsible for poisoning her. I never felt Aline had done it but she was very distanced from her mother and rather unkind to her. The actual murderer was a surprise, of course. The ending is very clear. We know all the secrets and who did the poisoning, and Jennifer knows who poisoned her, but not everyone else knows who poisoned or all the various secrets. I wish some of the characters had suffered a bit more consequences for their various actions.
Julia Whelan is one of my favorite narrators and influenced my decision to review this audio book. She infuses the story with such authentic emotion. She performs a lot of the story as the mother, Jennifer. We also get sections which are point of views of the three daughters. They were shorter and less time overall in the story. It made it easy to tell who was thinking or speaking because of the distinct voices.
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