Prickly. Stubborn. Terribly lonely.
But everyone deserves a second chance…
Missy Carmichael’s life has become small.
Grieving for a family she has lost or lost touch with, she’s haunted by the echoes of her footsteps in her empty home; the sound of the radio in the dark; the tick-tick-tick of the watching clock.
Spiky and defensive, Missy knows that her loneliness is all her own fault. She deserves no more than this; not after what she’s done. But a chance encounter in the park with two very different women opens the door to something new.
Another life beckons for Missy, if only she can be brave enough to grasp the opportunity. But seventy-nine is too late for a second chance. Isn’t it?
I do love this book. Poor Missy. A domineering husband. A daughter she has fallen out with. A son and grandson who have emigrated to Australia. And a large empty house full of memories and loneliness.
Missy worshipped her husband Leo. A famous academic author, handsome and respected. Maybe not always faithful we suspect. Missy herself obtained a first class degree in Classics from Cambridge, but she gave it all up to be a mother, a housewife and to take care of Leo. But that’s what women did in the 1950s and 60s.
Often told in flashbacks or letters, we learn a lot about Missy’s early life, her mum and dad, Aunt Sibby who kept chickens, gave them names, but still rung their necks and cooked them. And granddad Fa-Fa who told stories and grandmother Jette who sewed things that she never loved.
Then one day Missy meets Sylvie and her friend Angela, and her life is changed forever. Angela has a son Otis, who reminds Missy of her grandson Arthur, who she misses dreadfully, even though they are nothing like each other apart from being the same age. But what really changes her life is when Angela asks her to look after a dog. The dog is called Bob even though she is a girl. It’s from Blackadder she tells her. Missy has never seen Blackadder. The dog will only be there till her owner finds a new home away from her abusive husband. Bob soon becomes Bobby (less explaining) and Missy becomes part of a community of dog owners, who take her under their wing.
It’s hard to put into words how emotional this book is at times. Especially at a time when we are all already emotional. I laughed and I cried and then I cried some more. At one point my tears were falling onto my scampi and chips, while I sipped a small sherry in honour of Missy’s tipple of choice. This is not a book about twists, but there are even a few surprises in store. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Many thanks to @annecater for inviting me to be part of #RandomThingsTours.
Also many thanks to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review and to The Pigeonhole, the author and my fellow Pigeons for making this such an enjoyable read.
About the Author
About Beth Morrey: Beth Morrey is currently the Creative Director at RDF Television where she has been involved in numerous productions – she helped create The Secret Life of Four Year Olds series on Channel 4 and devised 100 Year Old Drivers for ITV.
She was shortlisted for the Grazia-Orange First Chapter competition back in 2011, had her work published in the Cambridge and Oxford May Anthologies, and was Vice-President of the Cambridge Footlights. Bethlives in London with her husband, two sons and dog.