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Mary Wesley has become one of my favourite British female authors since I discovered her last year. This is not a happy story by any means, as it starts with our protagonist Matilda Poliport who's been widowed for a few years and having lost her cherished husband, with four grown children who refuse to visit her, has decided the best life has to offer is behind her. When the novel begins, she is just putting the last touches to a major housecleaning as she is carefully putting into execution her meticulously planned suicide. Her beloved pet gander Gus is sold to a farmer, where he'll ostensibly be happy with a harem of six geese, and she's off to her favourite secluded beach to have a picnic of brie and Beaujolais before taking sleeping pills and swimming into the tide. But of course her plans are foiled when she meets Hugh Warner, an attractive 30-something man on the run from the police and known all over the media as "The Matricide". She saves him before committing his own suicide attempt and brings him back to her cottage to hide away, where of course, a most unusual relationship will develop. Relationships are Wesley's strength, as is writing from a mature person's perspective on life, but mature not so much in the sense of having acquired bundles of wisdom as having lived life fully and being past caring what others think and feeling free to impose one's personality on others. Which of course makes for fascinating characters. I don't know if Matilda is necessarily a likeable character, since we learn she has mostly lived her life denying all the uncommonly unpleasant things that have been thrown her way, but thanks to Wesley's subtle skills it is impossible not to form an attachment to her AND the matricide. Of course, we're not to expect a happy ever after given the ingredients this story is made up of, but that hardly matters, as Wesley succeeds in creating another thing of messy and unruly beauty.
Would you try another book from Mary Wesley and/or Anna Massey?
I bought this book because I love listening to Anna Massey read. The story was a dreary English tale that started nowhere and went nowhere. Just interesting enough to keep listening and take one's mind off menial tasks such as weeding the garden. No more books from Mary Wesley.
What was most disappointing about Mary Wesley’s story?
The lacklustre story. There was no plot development.
How did the narrator detract from the book?
The narrator saved the book. I would have dumped the books if it was not read by Anna Massey.
You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?
Yes, the voice of Anna Massey.
Any additional comments?
This is a book I bought on the strength of the narrator. Can't expect every book to be a
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Is there anything you would change about this book?
Not keen on the story line
If you’ve listened to books by Mary Wesley before, how does this one compare?
Part of the Furniture & The Camomile Lawn are my favourites, I also liked Not That Sort of Girl, this one was not in the same class.
Which scene did you most enjoy?
There wasn't really a scene I could pick out.
If this book were a film would you go see it?
1 of 1 people found this review helpful