Book Review: The Marble Collector by Cecelia Ahern

Format: Paperback, gift
Links: GoodreadsAmazon UK
Blurb: A forgotten childhood. A discovered life. What if you only had one day to find out who you really were?

When Sabrina Boggs stumbles upon a mysterious collection of her father’s possessions, she discovers a truth where she never knew there was a lie. The familiar man she grew up with is suddenly a stranger to her.

An unexpected break in her monotonous daily routine leaves her just one day to unlock the secrets of the man she thought she knew. A day that unearths memories, stories and people she never knew existed. A day that changes her and those around her forever.

The Marble Collector is a thought-provoking novel about how the most ordinary decisions we make can have the most extraordinary consequences for how we live our lives. And how sometimes it’s only by shining on a light on someone else, that you can truly understand yourself.

Review: I used to be a huge Cecelia Ahern fan. That’s not to say I’m not any more, I am and I can still pin point a few of her books which became my absolute favourites (The Time of My Life and A Place Called Here were both fantastic and cute and quirky and magical and just ugh! Read them) but I don’t really read her genre any more, simply because over time, my tastes have changed. But I acquired The Marble Collector and have heard good reviews so thought it would be nice to re-visit Cecelia’s magical worlds again after quite a fair amount of time away. I also absolutely adore this gorgeous cover!

So The Marble Collector is about Sabrina, who’s dad, Fergus has suffered a stroke and now lives in a care facility. Due to the stroke, he’s lost a lot of his memories and can’t remember simple things that happened just yesterday. Sabrina meanwhile, feels like she’s stuck in a rut of the same old, same old, every day and the stability and routine-ness of motherhood is getting to her. Until she’s told to go home from work one day and her normal schedule is thrown off balance, she finds it to be the most exciting and eye-opening day she’s had in a long time.

Upon finding a whole box full of marbles in her dad’s care home, which even her mum has no idea about; some of which are valued at thousands of dollars, she begins a journey of not only self-discovery but a discovery of her dad. The man who she grew up with may not have been the same man underneath the closed off façade all this time. She learns of her dad’s old life, one he so passionately lived behind closed doors. She thought he’d lost his marbles but in the end, she found hers.

Now… I have mixed thoughts on this book. On one hand, it has all the beauty and mystery and magic of your typical Cecelia Ahern book. But compared to her others that I love, which I mentioned above, it does feel very much more “grown up”. Which obviously isn’t a bad thing at all but this is my review after all and what I thought of the book and personally, I didn’t enjoy it as much as her others. I don’t know what it was. The writing was beautiful, the descriptions were stunning, the characters were all very well developed. Like I said, it had all your typical “Ahern-isms”.

The main focus of this book is the marbles, which Sabrina’s dad used to collect and play and has a very extensive collection of marbles of all different sizes and colours and designs. I’m sure we all used to collect things and probably most of us still do, so it’s easy to tell how important these marbles were to him throughout the flashback parts of the story. The story being split into 2; the present day, with Sabrina and flashbacks to various parts of Fergus’ life – most of which, contain the marbles. Like I said, it was the epicentre of this book and entire story and whilst these marbles were described absolutely beautifully – of course which I wouldn’t of expected any less from Ahern – I just found the whole thing a bit… boring. Sorry.

I get it, I do. I get the story and I get how important the marbles were to Fergus and how precious they were and how excited he got by them but I kinda felt like it was like me trying to get one of you excited about my collection of thimbles from when I was younger. They might have meant something to me but I wouldn’t ever expect anyone else to be interested in them (I didn’t actually collect thimbles).

I think that’s the only reason I didn’t like this book and it was because that whole element took up such a big chunk and taken away, there isn’t much more of the book left. I would have loved to have known more about Sabrina, I thought she was an interesting character from what we found out and her connections to her dad that she didn’t even find out until now because he had kept his life such a secret. I would have liked to know more about her home life with her husband and children and her job.

There’s absolutely nothing inherently wrong with this book. If you love Cecelia, I’d definitely give it a try. If you like books based around family, I’d definitely give it a try. If you like warm-hearted stories of self-discovery, I’d definitely give it a try. It just simply wasn’t for me. Not enough happened and yeah. I don’t really have an excuse with this one, I just didn’t enjoy it that much. And that’s cool.



  1. It’s a shame the book wasn’t for you. Thanks for sharing your opinions on it.

    1. Yeah it is a shame, I was hoping for more!

  2. Corinne & Kirsty 🌸 (@corinnekirsty) says:

    This a great review. The cover does look cool! I don’t really read her books to be honest. I have read PS I love you but that’s it and I don’t read much lately. I may give her books a go though xx corinne

    1. Thanks, Corinne. I’d highly recommend her books.

  3. Kimberley jessica says:

    Although this book sounds good, it also sounds slightly boring too! Maybe one day I’ll give it a read when I have nothing else to read 🤔 Thank you for the review!

    1. Right?! I dunno, it was such a tough one!

  4. This definetely sounds like my kind of book!! Great review xx

    1. Thank you!

  5. allaboutaoife says:

    Great review, my mum actually read this too and thought the same thing so I ended up not reading it! it can be such a shame when great authors release books that just don’t do it for you!

    1. Oh really? I’ve heard multiple people say the same! It is a shame but when an author releases as many books as Cecelia Ahern has, it’d be almost impossible to love every single one of them I guess!

  6. lolitambonita says:

    Doesnt sound along my line of things, so I am really glad I read this review as I fell in love with the front cover already. Oh well! You win some you lose some!
    Lola Mia //

    1. Just goes to show, you should never judge a book by it’s cover! And it works both ways. A gorgeous cover doesn’t always equal a great book!

  7. Great review! I’ve never read anything by this author, but I agree with you to me the book does sound a bit boring. However I do enjoy reading new things and would like to read something out of my preferred genres, so I might invest in this or another book by Cecila Aherns 😊 X

    1. I’d definitely recommend another Cecelia book, if you’ve not read anything by her yet! Don’t start with this one. A Place Called Here is my favourite and it’s such a beautiful book!

  8. Lauren Shh.. says:

    I love Cecila Aherns books, but I felt exactly the same as you with this book, I wasn’t sure whether it was because I couldn’t relate to the concept of marbles…I’m not sure! But either way I’ll still keep reading her books. My fav is P.S I love you!
    Great review! 🙂

    1. Oh my gosh, really?! I’ve had a few people say they felt the same. Yeah, maybe you’re right. If it’s not something you’re interested in, it’s hard to read so much about because unfortunately, you just don’t care! Absolutely, I’ll still keep reading them too. Funny enough, P.S I Love You is one I haven’t read – I’m not too into “sap”. I did like Where Rainbows End / Love Rosie though!

  9. I’ve had my eyes on this book but don’t know why I didn’t pick it up. Your review is great and I think I should really buy it the next time I see it in store! x Ain

    1. Hope you enjoy it more than I did!

  10. I have seen this in book shops and wondered whether to buy it. I think I will give it a read because the concept does sound interesting. From what you have described the story has quite a few parallels with Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey! Have you read that book?

    1. Oh my God I actually started that book last year and I couldn’t get into it AT ALL. I only got about a third through and I gave up. Maybe it’s something about books with that theme that just doesn’t sit well with me haha!

  11. Sophia Whitham says:

    Thanks for such an honest and real review, it’s hard to dislike something when you love the rest of the works by an author, but if a book doesn’t grab you then it just doesn’t grab you xx

    Sophia x

    1. Oh absolutely! When an author has SO many books, it’s near impossible to adore every single one of them and that’s okay. Doesn’t mean you’re any less of a fan of the author!

  12. A great honest review! I really like Cecila Ahern books so I’d definitely be intrigued to read this!
    PaleGirlRambling xo

    1. Thank you very much! Hope you enjoy it more than I did!

  13. Great review! Books that don’t leave much of an impression on you are always the hardest to review since…well, you don’t have much of an impression to work from. Yet you were able to express yourself to eloquently about your thoughts. Kudos! Can’t wait for the next review.

    1. Thanks so much, Emma! What a great comment and I’m so glad the review comes across like that. But you’re absolutely right. Bad reviews are brilliant to write but ‘meh’ reviews are so, so difficult – like this one. Next review will be up in a few days 😉

      1. I’ll make sure to make a note of it! 😉 And I totally get what you mean. Still, you managed to pull it off! Congrats!

  14. Thank you for such an honest review! I’d never head of this author and I think I definitely will check out some of her other books now 🙂
    xoxo, Sarah

    1. Yes, do! She’s fantastic, her books are so beautifully written and quoteable.

  15. ruminvte says:

    I must admit, I’ve never read any of Cecilia Aherns books but this review definitely makes me want to take a read, maybe not this particular book but one of her others perhaps. I love books which have beautiful description alongside interesting characters as you say. Thanks for sharing + giving such a honest and helpful review!

    1. Oh yes absolutely I would 100% recommend her books but just necessarily not this one. Time of My Life and A Place Called Here are BRILLIANT. Also, The Book of Tomorrow and One Hundred Names are both great too.

  16. GirlMasked says:

    Brilliant review!
    I’ve been wanting to read this book for ages!

    1. Thank you – hope you enjoy it more than I did!

      1. GirlMasked says:

        No problem!

  17. jodiedcmitchell says:

    My mum loves Cecilia Ahern books, so I’ll definitely let her know about this one! x

    1. Aw yay! I hope she enjoys it more than I did though!

  18. Teaisawishyourheartmakes says:

    This sounds like such a great book! Also how cute is that cover 😮💖

    1. I know, I love the cover! Probably more than I loved the book, unfortunately!

  19. abbeylouisarose says:

    Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts on this! I respect your honesty! I completely understand your analogy with the collection of thimbles – the book seems like more of a miss than a hit there! I have heard great things about Cecelia Ahern’s novels but I don’t think this would be the first book of hers I’d reach for!

    Abbey 😘

    1. Yeah, it was funny. Like despite the title, I didn’t think it would be SO heavily focused on that! And despite everything I’ve said here, I’d never not recommend Cecelia’s books. She’s a beautiful writer!

  20. Loved this review! I haven’t read anything by Cecelia Ahern before but she’s on my to read list. I think this sounds really interesting, I might have to give it a read!
    Claire xo

    1. Yes, do! She is a fantastic author. Although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this one over her others. A Place Called Here is my favourite – it’s SO unique!

  21. Love Cecelia Ahern so will definitely give this a read at some point, sounds really interesting even if it isn’t necessarily for everyone! Great review 🙂

    Tiffany x

    1. Absolutely, just because I didn’t like it THAT much doesn’t mean you won’t either. It would definitely appeal to a lot of people, it’s a very cute, sentimental book so if you like that, I think you’d love it!

  22. Kayleigh Zara says:

    This sounds like a super interesting book, it’s not necessarily something I would reach for in a book shop but it does sound great none the less x

    Kayleigh Zara

    1. I think the cover would make me reach for it but storywise, it’s probably not something I would have gone directly for. The fact that it’s Cecelia, would have made me do that though as I’ve always been drawn to her books!

  23. 2any1blog says:

    Thank you so much for review! 🙂 But i don’t think i’m gonna check out this book , because of you’re review. Maybe i’m gonna, because i’m so into books right now and need suggestions on good books 🙂 xx

    1. I wouldn’t discourage anyone from reading it. On paper, it has everything a good book should have, just wasn’t really for me!

  24. I wasn’t a fan of this book either. I also thought it was very boring and it was a disappointment for me after One Hundred Names. I think Ahern is back on track with her YA stuff, though.

    1. Oh really?! Interesting to hear you thought the same as me! Maybe it depends what “type” of Ahern you prefer. I liked One Hundred Names too but again, not as much as Time of My Life or A Place Called Here. I think A Place Called Here is my favourite, it’s such a unique concept and story!

  25. Great review! I think this sounds really interesting, thank you for putting it on my radar!
    love, elena

    1. You’re very welcome! I think a lot of people will adore this book; it’s very sentimental and I like that. Just wasn’t 100% for me. I hope you enjoy! xo

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