The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot

Paperback edition released 09/12/2021

by Marianne Cronin

Modern and Contemporary Fiction Feel-Good Fiction Debut Books of the Month Family Drama Humorous Fiction Literary Fiction Star Books

LoveReading Expert Review of The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot

This truly beautiful feel-good novel champions friendship as 17 and 83 year-olds Lenni and Margot meet in hospital.

The One Hundred years of Lenni and Margot is so special, it’s gentle yet pointed and warmly amusing as it highlights life within sight and touching distance of death. To celebrate their joint 100 years, 17 year-old Lenni and 83 year-old Margot paint their life stories while in hospital. Singing of friendship, love, and family, we discover how they can all be found in the most unexpected of places. This is Marianne Cronin’s debut novel, and I’ve added her to my list of authors to look out for. While Lenni and Margot are the stars, the other characters add essential energy. She brings these characters to vibrant life with a few perfectly chosen words. The smallest of details matter, in fact are vital. This book is so visual, slipping backwards and forwards in time, snapshots of the years appeared like magic to paint their own picture in my mind. The pages dance with joy and hope, while being realistic about death. I laughed and I cried, yes this novel is emotional, yet it also delivers the most heart-warming hug too. A well-deserved LoveReading Star Book, The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot comes with a 'must-read' label of recommendation from me.

Liz Robinson

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot Synopsis

An extraordinary friendship. A lifetime of stories. Their last one begins here.

Life is short.

No-one knows that better than seventeen-year-old Lenni living on a hospital ward. But as she is about to learn, it's not only what you make of life that matters, but who you share it with.

Dodging doctor's orders, she joins an art class where she bumps into fellow patient Margot, a rebel-hearted eight-three-year-old. Their bond is instant as they realize that together they have lived an astonishing one hundred years.

To celebrate their shared century, they decide to paint their life stories: of growing old and staying young, of giving joy, of receiving kindness, of losing love, of finding the person who is everything.

As their extraordinary friendship deepens, it becomes vividly clear that life is not done with Lenni and Margot yet.

Fiercely alive, disarmingly funny and brimming with tenderness, THE ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF LENNI AND MARGOT unwraps the extraordinary gift of life, and revels in our infinite capacity for friendship and love. 

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The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

Sometimes there’s a line in a book with which you know it’s something special, an epic book which will live with you forever. This is one of those books. Poignant, funny, observant and truly, truly amazing. You need to read it, right now.

Please be warned, I’m not going to recount the story of Lennie and Margot in this review, I’m not going to explain the plotline of the book or describe the characters, I’m simply going to rave about how totally and utterly fantastic it is. Sometimes there’s a line in a book, a paragraph even, with which you know it’s something special, an epic book which will live with you forever. This is one of those books. There are so many beautiful scenes you will want to tell people about, so many charming quotes you’ll remember. Words fail me, they really do. Even those that made it through the tears don’t do it justice. Stunning, extraordinary, simply marvellous, they all promise greatness and they all fall spectacularly short. I’m guilty of falling in love with many an author, “Fantastic” I think, “I must get my hands on their other books”. With her debut novel Marianne Cronin has surpassed that, she made me realise what real commitment is, I had followed her on social media by the end of the third chapter. No mucking about here, I’m going to know about her next book at the very first mention. And now I’m sitting writing this instead of doing so many critical, must-do tasks. The evening meal, the ironing and I’m a Celebrity are all on hold. Not because I have a commitment to write a timely review but because I absolutely have to tell everyone about this book as soon as I possibly can, it just can’t wait. The One Hundred Years of Lennie and Margot is a stunning debut, it’s poignant, funny, observant and truly, truly amazing. You need to read it, right now. But sorry guys you’re going to need to get your own copy – once you let the magic of Lennie and Margot into your life you won’t want to let them go.

Sarah H

A lovely book. If you only read one book this year it should be this one.

After reading all the rave reviews for this book I was expecting a lot and I wasn't disappointed. A lovely book. As a lady very close to Margot's age it made me look back on my life and realise how very lucky I am to have reached this age so far healthy. So it was thought provoking, funny and sad. I will be joining the rave reviewers and recommending this book to everyone I know.

Celia Cohen

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin is a brilliant debut novel telling the story of a teenager and a lady in her eighties who become firm friends.

The story tells of an unusual friendship that develops between a girl of seventeen, Lenni, and a lady in her eighties, Margot. Based in a hospital with both of them knowing their illnesses are terminal the two of them become involved in a close friendship. As the story progresses they realise between them they have lived one hundred years so decided to celebtate this by painting one hundred pictures to represent their lives. A very emotional rollercoaster of a book which makes a great tear jerker of a debut novel, I loved it and can't wait for the next one!

Glenda Worth

A well written, heart-warming read. Highly recommend!!

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot follows a 17 year old Lenni who has a terminally illness. While living what’s left of her life, she meets 83 year old Margot who is awaiting an operation for a serious heart condition. During a new art class that has been set up for the patients Lenni and Margot decide on creating 100 paintings showing their lives over the hundred years between them. As they paint their pictures we both characters share their life stories.

The book is well written, the writing is simple yet enough depth to send your emotions on a roller-coaster of a ride. As for the characters well, I couldn’t get enough of both Lenni and Margot.

The characters are well done and I could really sympathise with them both. Having spent long periods of time in hospital myself I could really feel Lenni’s frustrations of not being able to do things freely when and how you want to do things. I thought the side characters were also done very well, although I wasn’t a fan of Meena, she really started to get on my nerves and honestly every time she came up I sort of skimmed past those parts.

There are only a few books that have had me near to tears, in fact I can probably count them all on one hand, but this is one that will be added to the count. So, if you’re the type of person that cries when reading books, I highly suggest you sit down with a full box of tissues as you will definitely need them.

This was a truly heart-warming read. Highly recommend!!

Please check out some of the trigger warning below as there maybe some topics readers find triggering.

Trigger Warnings: Terminal Illness, Death of baby, Grief, Alzheimers, Death


An emotional and heart-warming read - fantastic!

From the outset, I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t wait to read the next instalment. It starts off by introducing Lenni, a seventeen-year-old Swedish girl who is hospital in Glasgow with a terminal illness. She straightaway struck me as a very sassy character, and I warmed to her instantly.

During her time in hospital, at an art class she meets Margot an 83-year-old lady who is also a patient in the hospital. These two hit it off and discover that their ages together equal one hundred years. They decide to celebrate this and tell stories and do paintings that represent their life so far. We find out more about their lives through these paintings and it is fascinating to know more about the two characters and how they got to where they are now.

It really is a celebration of life told in the most heart-warming way, it is sad, yes but also the characters are so engaging that it becomes moving and poignant. I experienced so many different emotions while reading with this beautiful story.

Nicola Coen

Two women of different ages and experiences with one thing in common - their deaths are imminent. This book is about a beautiful friendship that will stay with you for a long time.

When I looked at the cover of this book I knew it would be one I would want to read. The title was intriguing and made more so with what, to me, was a very happy cover. The book has two protagonists, seventeen-year-old Lenni and Margot eighty-three. There appears to be only one thing they have in common – each is dying in a Glasgow Hospital. The two meet in hospital and agree to join an art class where they embark on a project to make 100 paintings to celebrate moments in each of their lives and with the paintings come the life stories behind them in two time frames. It is an unlikely friendship, between two totally different characters. From this description, you might think that the book is depressing but don’t be put off. It is, at times, funny, sensitive and heart-breaking. Rather than concentrating on death, the book is very much about life and a genuine friendship between two women at either end of the age spectrum who come together because of the only thing they both have in common. I loved this book where issues are handled sensitively. It is rare to find older characters taking centre stage and I applaude it. The quality of the writing is exceptional and I would definitely look forward to reading more from this author in the future.

Lynn Johnson

A stunning story of friendship, love and kinship spanning time and divides - celebrating the beautiful of truthful human connection. Exploring a hundred years of life, death and above all, love - be ready to smile through the tears with Lenni and Margot.

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is a stunning story of friendship, love and kinship spanning time and divides - celebrating the beautiful of truthful human connection. This is the kind of story that makes you sit back and look around, revelling the joy of simply being alive in this moment.

Lenni and Margot, despite being told they have 'life limiting' conditions, are determined not to let their lives have any limits on them - their relationship manifested quietly and naturally into something beautiful and moving, each of them revealing their stories to each other and the reader at the same time - from Lenni's first kiss to Margots marriage and the chickens she kept with him. Each story weaves seamlessly into one another, creating an intricate tapestry of two lives that are very different but still lead back to each other.

Exploring a hundred years of life, death and above all, love - be ready to smile through the tears with Lenni and Margot.

Bethany S Casey

Heart-breaking, but worth it.

I had read a lot of positive things about this book before reading it and so I was slightly nervous that I wouldn't find it as good as everyone said it was. I needn't have worried. I honestly think this was one of the most beautiful books I've read for a long time. I loved all of the characters (especially Father Arthur) I loved their relationships with each other and I loved that it didn't flinch away from the hard bits. It felt messy and painful and real, a bit like life.

Nikki Whitmore

Marianne Cronin Press Reviews

A gorgeous, heartbreaking story readers won't soon forget - ELLE MAGAZINE

Charged with light and colour. Gloriously original and full of wisdom, humour, and hope. It made me think and care and laugh and cry. One of my all-time favourite books - HAZEL PRIOR, author of AWAY WITH THE PENGUINS

Cronin's characters are fully drawn, and chime together to tell a sweet story about connection, loss and living - IRISH TIMES

A gorgeous, heartwarming novel. The perfect antidote to the world right now - FABULOUS MAGAZINE

Filled with kindness and quirky characters who restore your faith in life. This debut will stay with you, answering the question, What is life made of? - MY WEEKLY, BOOK OF THE WEEK

Full of honesty and warmth. A beautiful debut - CULTUREFLY

An extraordinary tale of living, love and heartbreak - The Sun

A beautiful, funny, and incredibly assured story filled with rich characters. - INDEPENDENT

A special and lovely read. Guaranteed to leave you wanting a hug - STYLIST, Best New Fiction

Heartwarming and remarkable stories of two loveable characters - BBC NEWS, ones to watch, 2021

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781529176247
Publication date: 09/12/2021
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780857527196
Publication date: 18/02/2021
Format: Hardback

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About Marianne Cronin

Marianne Cronin was born in 1990. She studied English and Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning a PhD in Applied Linguistics from the University of Birmingham. She now spends most of her time writing, with her newly-adopted rescue cat sleeping under her desk. When she's not writing, Marianne can be found performing improv in the West Midlands, where she lives. Her debut novel The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot is to be published around the world and is being adapted into a feature film by a major Hollywood studio. You can also follow Marianne on Instagram: @itsmariannecronin

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