Though we were but a few, last night’s Saving Missy book club chat was a joy, not least because it was a book we gave a resounding ten to, so lovely was the tale and the main character of this coming-of-old-age-book.
If you haven’t read it, I rather insist you do because it is a life-affirming take on the things each and every one of need to consider as we get older, all wrapped up in the hug of characters, we agreed would stay with us…
If you are a member of our free book club and didn’t get a chance to join us last night, please still feel free to add your thoughts to Saving Missy thread here in the community, and if you aren’t please know you are welcome to join us at any time.
This Month’s Book Choices
As usual I am offering three books up for voting. Simply choose your favourite and add your vote on the dedicated voting thread in the Community, and I will announce the most popular book on Wednesday 17th November.
I’m going to skip December and take us right into January, so we will have a chance to get the busiest months of the year out of the way, and maybe buy the book with whatever book vouchers Santa cares to stuff in our stocking, so we will meet in our online bookclub on Wednesday 19th January – and honestly I’m already looking forward to it. It really is so nice to talk all things bookish isn’t it?
Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers
From the Amazon blurb…
1957: Jean Swinney is a feature writer on a local paper in the southeast suburbs of London. Clever but with limited career opportunities and on the brink of forty, Jean lives a dreary existence that includes caring for her demanding widowed mother, who rarely leaves the house. It’s a small life with little joy and no likelihood of escape.
That all changes when a young woman, Gretchen Tilbury, contacts the paper to claim that her daughter is the result of a virgin birth. Jean seizes onto the bizarre story and sets out to discover whether Gretchen is a miracle or a fraud. But the more Jean investigates, the more her life becomes strangely (and not unpleasantly) intertwined with that of the Tilburys, including Gretchen’s gentle and thoughtful husband Howard, who mostly believes his wife, and their quirky and charming daughter Margaret, who becomes a sort of surrogate child for Jean. Gretchen, too, becomes a much-needed friend in an otherwise empty social life.
Jean cannot bring herself to discard what seems like her one chance at happiness, even as the story that she is researching starts to send dark ripples across all their lives…with unimaginable consequences.
Both a mystery and a love story, Small Pleasures is a literary tour-de-force in the style of The Remains of the Day, about conflict between personal fulfillment and duty; a novel that celebrates the beauty and potential for joy in all things plain and unfashionable.
Someone At a Distance by Dorothy Whipple
From the Amazon blurb…
‘A very good novel indeed about the fragility and also the tenacity of love’ commented the Spectator recently about Someone at a Distance, the 1953 novel by Dorothy Whipple, which was ignored fifty years ago because ‘editors are going mad for action and passion’ (as she was told by her publisher). But this last novel by a writer whose books had previously been bestsellers is outstandingly good by any standards. Apparently ‘a fairly ordinary tale about the destruction of a happy marriage’ (Nina Bawden in the Preface) yet ‘it makes compulsive reading’ in its description of an ordinary family (‘Ellen was that unfashionable creature, a happy housewife’) struck by disaster when the husband, in a moment of weak, mid-life vanity, runs off with a French girl. Dorothy Whipple is a superb stylist, with a calm intelligence in the tradition of Mrs Gaskell (both wrote in the Midlands and had similar preoccupations). ‘The prose is simple, the psychology spot on’ said the Telegraph, and John Sandoe Books commented: ‘We have all delighted in this unjustly forgotten novel; it is well written and compelling.’
On Amazon.Co.UK here (£5.79 on Kindle)
The Sunday Lunch Club by Juliet Ashton
From the Amazon blurb…
The first rule of Sunday Lunch Club is … don’t make any afternoon plans.
Every few Sundays, Anna and her extended family and friends get together for lunch. They talk, they laugh, they bicker, they eat too much. Sometimes the important stuff is left unsaid, other times it’s said in the wrong way.
Sitting between her ex-husband and her new lover, Anna is coming to terms with an unexpected pregnancy at the age of forty. Also at the table are her ageing grandmother, her promiscuous sister, her flamboyantly gay brother and a memory too terrible to contemplate.
Until, that is, a letter arrives from the person Anna scarred all those years ago. Can Anna reconcile her painful past with her uncertain future?
Get it on Amazon.Com here ($12.99 on Kindle).
On Amazon.Co.UK here (£2.99 on Kindle)
Or read it on Scribd: simply use my link to get your first two months absolutely free! Sign up and search for The Sunday Lunch Club and you will discover the book there.
I can’t wait to see which you choose. Snuggly reading Housekeepers.