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
- Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57