“It was Woman’s Hour who suggested I keep a diary. They said it was good for mental health, and I must say I did feel much less frazzled after writing everything down yesterday. The frustrations were all still there, but somehow smoothed out – as if by a really good steam iron.”
Mrs Narwhal is overwhelmed. Her husband, Hugh, is unkind and unhappy – working every hour at a job he hates to save the ancestral home he never wanted. Then there’s Hugh’s sister, Rose, who’s spurned her one true love, and ricochets from crisis to crisis; and not to mention two small boys to bring up safely in a house that could crumble around their ears at any moment…
When Hugh’s pride receives a fatal blow, and he walks out, Mrs Narwhal is plunged into a crisis of both heart and home. With help from Rose she sets out to save the house her husband couldn’t. But can she save her marriage? And does she really want Hugh back?
Funny, charming, and moving, Mrs Narwhal’s Diary is an irresistible story which will enchant and delight its readers.
I couldn’t make this out at first. The writing is very different – ah! of course, it’s written in diary form – silly me.
I’ve never wanted to keep a diary, not since I was about fourteen. Monday – Met friends. Played our Beatles records. Talked about boys. Tuesday – Met friends. Played our Beatles records. Talked about boys. Boring and I soon gave up.
Mrs Narwhal’s diary is quite different. Woman’s Hour suggested keeping a diary is good for one’s mental health, so she starts writing things down. She muses about her life, her husband, her marriage, her boys and her high-maintenance sister-in-law Rose. Then there’s Jo the rude, bad-tempered cleaner, uptight Juliet down the road, Rose’s ex-husband Nick, Ian who has known Narwhal Hall forever and Tony who rents the workshop. She muses about them all, as well as the Tree House, which is on its last legs (or branches), the stuffed polar bears in the attic and her nemesis – the late-but-not-great, more grating on her – mother-in-law Greer.
She muses a lot to begin with, without any real direction, until one day husband Hugh disappears, leaving her a note and asking her not to try and call him. This is where the story ramps up for me. I enjoyed the first half, but it is now that I started to get that can’t put it down feeling. While the dramatic saga of Rose and Nick – will they won’t they – is exciting, it’s Mrs Narwhal’s relationship with her husband Hugh that is central to the book. Mrs Narwhal copes rather too well with the sudden change to her life, though without Rose and the others she might have struggled a bit more.
Mrs Narwhal’s Diary is charming and funny and often sad. It is much more than the story of mid-life crises – it pulls in the familiar (how many times have we felt that way) with the hilarious and the unusual. I loved it.
Many thanks to @damppebbles for inviting me to be part of #damppebblesblogtours
About the Author
S J Norbury lives in Herefordshire with her family. Mrs Narwhal’s Diary is her first novel.
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3aDOjKw
Book Depository: https://bit.ly/3xscUMc