“The outcome was always the same, alone in my barren old house, thinking of the people who’d gone.”
Missy Carmichael – lives alone in a large house in Stoke Newington, London. The rooms echo her loneliness. Her husband is gone. Her adult son, his wife, and her darling four-year-old grandson live in Australia. Her daughter (with whom she has never really gotten along) lives with her partner in Cambridge. In addition to being lonely, Missy is riddled by long-held guilt and regret. Also, she is bitter at how her life turned out. She was a scholar who gave up any sort of career to become a devoted wife and mother. Now, in her empty house, she wonders why…
“People who truly liked themselves seemed to have a greater capacity for friendship, for letting people in. Perhaps that’s why I, in the past, was always rather solitary.”
Angela – is an Irish born, thirty-something journalist and single mother. She happens upon Missy Carmichael by accident, and becomes her unlikely friend.
Otis – Angela’s small son, though a tad older than her grandson Arthur, reminds Missy of the joys of having a small boy about the place. Missy looks after Otis on occasion when Angela is off working.
Sylvie – a charming and gregarious woman, meets Missy via Angela. She welcomes Missy into her circle of eclectic friends and acquaintances.
and the star of the novel…
Bob (aka Bobby) – a mongrel with the colouring of an Alsatian, comes into Missy’s life much to her chagrin. She thinks she is not a dog person and that dogs are usually over exuberant and emotionally needy. She is cajoled into caring for Bob on a temporary basis as a favour to a friend. Little did Missy know then… Bobby would become ingrained in her heart.I thoroughly enjoyed making the acquaintance of Missy Carmichael. Probably because I am no longer a young woman, I could identify with her on a basic level.
She describes herself this way: “I thought about all the other things I was. A classicist, a librarian, occasionally a witch (and a bitch), a walker and a dancer, and – for now, at least – Bobby’s owner.”
She was an amalgam of all the years she had lived, and all the people who had come before her. She displayed all the wisdom, regret, insecurities, and loneliness that comes with ageing.
Anyone who has read and enjoyed such novels as “The Brilliant Life Of Eudora Honeysett“, “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine“, or other such works of ‘UpLit‘ will surely find this novel heart-rending and entertaining in equal measure. A heart-warming, life-affirming novel of inter-generational friendships, and a must read for dog lovers of all ages. A fabulous debut novel. I can’t wait to see what Beth Morrey writes next.
4.5 stars rounded down for Goodreads and AmazonThis review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from G.P. Putnam’s Sons via Edelweiss.
Beth Morrey was inspired to write her debut novel, Saving Missy, while pushing a pram around her local park during maternity leave. Getting to know the community of dog owners, joggers, neighbours and families, she began to sow the seeds of a novel about a woman saved by the people around her, strangers who became friends. Saving Missy was a Sunday Times bestseller, and Beth was previously shortlisted for the Grazia-Orange First Chapter award.
Previously Creative Director at RDF Television, Beth now writes full time. Beth lives in London with her husband, two sons and a dog named Polly.
Follow Beth Morrey on Twitter @BethMorrey