I have liked Salley Vickers ever since I read Miss Garnet’s Angel and I have blogged about Dancing Backwards (way back in 2010!). I borrowed this one from the library.
Here’s the blurb
A charmingly subversive novel about a library in 1950s England, by the acclaimed author of The Cleaner of Chartres
Sylvia Blackwell, a young woman in her twenties, moves to East Mole, a quaint market town in middle England, to start a new job as a children’s librarian. But the apparently pleasant town is not all it seems. Sylvia falls in love with an older man – but it’s her connection to his precocious young daughter and her neighbours’ son which will change her life and put them, the library and her job under threat.
How does the library alter the young children’s lives and how do the children fare as a result of the books Sylvia introduces them to?
This was written in a contemporary style (it felt very 1950s to me). It is a story about books and reading, but also about relationships and betrayal.
I do quite like Salley Vickers – I haven’t read everything she has written, but the bits I have read I enjoyed. I borrowed a copy of this book from a friend.
Mrs Heatherington sets sail alone on a cruise, with hopes of new experience and replenished independence. Vic, the on-board entertainer, has an eye for lucrative freelance work, and sets his sights on the elderly lady, lonely and vulnerable, whose heart he thinks he can unlock as fast as her purse. In this witty and beautifully written new novel, Salley Vickers uncovers the poetry of self-discovery and the possibilities of change for us all.
I found it quite slow to get going and the bits on the cruise didn’t interest me much at all, but when Vi read her old notebooks and the narrative switched back to a time in the past I was intrigued. The writing is beautiful, the characters well-portrayed and realistic.
Unusually for me (I generally think novels need more editing) I thought some of the threads of the story could be fleshed out a bit more. Particularly the other couples on the cruise and Des/Dino.