EVIE EPWORTH IS TEN YEARS OLDER. BUT IS SHE ANY WISER?

1972. Ten years on from the events of The Miseducation of Evie Epworth and Evie is settled in London working for the BBC. She has everything she’s ever dreamed of (a career, a leatherette briefcase, an Ossie Clark poncho) but, following an unfortunate incident involving Princess Anne and a Hornsea Pottery mug, she finds herself having to rethink her life and piece together work, love, grief and multiple pairs of cork-soled platform sandals. 

Ghosts from the past and the spirit of the future collide in a joyous adventure that sees Evie navigate the choppy waters of her messy twenties. Can a 1960s miseducation prepare her for the growing pains of the 1970s?

Big-hearted, uplifting, bittersweet and tender, All About Evie is a novel fizzing with wit and alive to the power of friendship in all its forms.

My Review

All About Evie is the first ‘real’ book I’ve read in years, as opposed to reading on my Kindle. Somehow it makes more sense. I have a big yellow hardback with a picture of Evie on her spinning chair and Oscar the basset hound in the bottom right hand corner. I even have an Evie postcard as a bookmark.

I read The Miseducation of Evie Epworth twice (something I almost never do) and it became one of my favourite books of all time. In All About Evie we are reintroduced to Caroline and Digby plus Mrs Swithenbank, but we also meet a whole new cast of characters from the two Nicks at Right On!, lovely Lolo and his dog Oscar, budding fashionista Genevieve, ghastly Griffin and many more. And Evie is introduced to opera, though it’s a bit more Victor Borge than Mozart, all plinky plonky music and lots of shouting. It’s actually Puccini’s La Boheme. Something easy to start with, break her in gently.

So moving on from The Miseducation, it’s now 1972 and Evie has been in London for 10 years. It was the year I went to The London College of Fashion to study Fashion Writing. I was 19, a few years younger than Evie. It was so London-y, as Genevieve would say. Sipping a Buck’s Fizz at eleven o’clock in the morning, penning a review of a fashion show, with a sun-kissed Judith Chalmers in charge of the commentary. Evie would have loved it, I’m sure. Definitely so would Genevieve.

But back to the story. All About Evie is full of hilarious snippets. Most will make you laugh – some will make you cry. This was one of my favourites. Evie is meeting Lolo from BBC Radio 3 with Oscar, all ears and slobber (Oscar that is, not Lolo), at a cafe on the Serpentine, to discuss a review she has written of the aforementioned opera. Lolo slips Oscar’s lead under a chair leg. ‘It’d take much more than a basset hound to shift a chair with me sitting on it,’ he jokes. I once did this in the Pimm’s tent at the Three Counties Show in Malvern with our old terrier Nipper. I forgot and walked away. A few seconds later, Nipper was chasing after me, dragging the chair with her across the tent. Looking back I think it has the ‘essence of Evie’ about it. But it pales into comparison with what happens next in the book.

There are also memories from the 1950s from someone called Catherine. It’s very poignant, but I won’t give anything away. You’ll find out soon enough who she is. And of course we hear from Mrs Scott-Pym, Caroline’s mum, and Evie’s beloved next-door neighbour.

All About Evie is a book full of warmth and humour. It’s like being wrapped up in a fluffy bathrobe, with a pair of furry pink mules and a cup of hot chocolate, while watching Dad’s Army and listening to Simon and Garfunkel on the radio. At least it is for me because this was my era, my time, one which I remember with fondness and I loved every minute I spent with Evie and friends. Roll on 1982.

About the Author

Matson Taylor grew up in Yorkshire (the flat part not the Bronte part). He comes from farming stock and spent an idyllic childhood surrounded by horses, cows, bicycles and cheap ice cream.

Matson now lives in London, where he is a design historian and academic-writing tutor and has worked at various universities and museums around the world; he currently teaches at the V&A, Imperial College, and the Royal College of Art. Previously he talked his way into various jobs at universities and museums around the world. He has also worked on Camden Market, appeared in an Italian TV commercial, and been a pronunciation coach for Catalan opera singers. He gets back to Yorkshire as much as possible, mainly to see family and friends but also to get a reasonably priced haircut.

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