A strange elderly gentleman rents a run-down holiday cottage in the Dartmoor village of Great Calne so he can adapt his one-time best-seller into a soap opera. There ensues an intricate comedy of characters very much in the Ambridge mould. As some people fall in love and some fall out of love, and as one harbours an escaped convict, the plot folds and refolds until everything has to come together in a single climax.
Mr Golightly agonises about the tragic death of his son and tries to make sense of what is happening. At the same time he himself is able to soothe the many sadnesses around. Gradually, you begin to realise that he is not all he seems. Then, once you have discovered who he is, everything starts to happen.
Vickers, who wrote the wonderful Miss Garnet's Angel, illuminates scene and characters with a warming glow. She writes with love and empathy. She weaves the mystical in with the everyday: Mr Golightly receives odd emails and Ellen Thomas thinks the sheep on the hillside look like runes which she tries to decipher. At the same time a father tries to persuade his daughter to eat prawns with the shells on because these are cheaper than shells-off and Sam Noble names his dog after his wife's still-born twin sister. This is a celebration of the magic that is within our mundane, sometimes frenzied, existences.
"This notion that a creator had influence over the objects of his creation - where on earth did that idea come from? A parent, even a raven parent could tell you it was nonsense."
A fabulous, feel-good read. July 2013; 345 pages
Also by Vickers read The Cleaner of Chartres
- I live in Bedford, England. Having retired from teaching; I am now a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Threshold Concepts in the context of A-level Physics. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. I have also recently become a keen playgoer to London Fringe Theatre. I enjoy mostly classics and I read the playscripts and add those to the blog. I am a member of Bedford Writers' Circle. See their website here: http://bedford-writers.co.uk/ Follow me on twitter: @daja57