Tinder Press 2015
This is a story about Marvellous Ways, an eighty-nine-year-old woman who sits by a creek in Cornwall, waiting for a last adventure. And it’s about Francis Drake, a young soldier who washes up there, reeling from war and broken hearted. It’s about the magic in everyday life and the lure of the sea, the healing powers of storytelling and sloe gin, and how we carry on when grief comes snapping at our heels.
This is definitely a feel good book, Marvellous Ways, wise through life and assisted by a touch of magic is expecting Francis Drake when he washes up there, broken from war and love. Healed by the passing of time, the company and words of Marvellous and the friendship that blossoms the story of both of these lovely characters unfolds. For the reader this book encompasses a healing quality, Marvellous Ways is that fairy tale character; a wise, eccentric old lady, often avoided or ostracised, with a touch of the gypsy spirit and the embodiment of wisdom. And her stories were wonderful, happy and sad but told in a pragmatic way devoid of emotion and demonstrating that we do survive the heartbreak. As Francis Drake does during his time with Marvellous and his journey to recovery following the trauma of war and the loss of his love.
But for me, and there is a but, this book verged too much on the magical and fantastical and not enough on the actual story telling. This is purely about personal preferences and for those who can lose themselves in the magic and myth of fiction this could be a book for you, for me the story got lost in some of the descriptive, whimsical language although the story it self was enjoyable.
I thoroughly enjoyed When God Was a Rabbit so my expectations were high for this one and sadly they were not met. That said I am looking forward to reading Tin Man and my hopes remain high for that book.
In a similar vein I struggled with The Doll Funeral, although an entirely different plot this book pulls that one to mind, so I would urge you not to be put off by this review if you do enjoy fairy tale, fantastical books, if you don’t, well check out what others say and happy reading always!