As she nears 80, Mary O’Rourke looks back over her life in the form of 20 letters to people who have made an impression on her – from her childhood growing up in Athlone to her college days in Maynooth, to those who supported and mentored her during her political career, the friends who have sustained her in good times and bad and family members who mean the most.

Many of the letters concern the political career which once consumed Mary but there are also moving letters about her deepest losses in life, and how she emerged from them, with inspiring words on how life has flourished and renewed itself once again in her later years.

As well as showing gratitude to those who have supported and inspired her, Mary also has advice for a young politician starting out, for working mums trying to balance career and family, as well as an insight into her own family’s past and their tragedies, including a fascinating story about her Uncle Joe, the black sheep of the family who became a German spy.

What emerges is a thoughtful meditation on the universal themes in life that touch us all – love, loss, facing adversity and the passing of time among them.