Missy Carmichael’s life has become small.
Grieving for a family she has lost or lost touch with, she’s haunted by the echoes of her footsteps in her empty home; the sound of the radio in the dark; the tick-tick-tick of the watching clock.
Spiky and defensive, Missy knows that her loneliness is all her own fault. She deserves no more than this; not after what she’s done. But a chance encounter in the park with two very different women opens the door to something new.
Another life beckons for Missy, if only she can be brave enough to grasp the opportunity. But seventy-nine is too late for a second chance. Isn’t it?
I was lucky enough to receive a proof copy of this book, sadly time pressures meant I couldn’t read it as soon as I wanted, but hey, better late than never right?
Missy is a curious character as the description says, she is prickly and unwilling to change her situation, grieving her husband, she feels guilty and deserving of her loneliness. What follows is a glorious story about three women, Missy of course, Angela – a single mother, a journalist and frankly a foreboding character with a heart of gold and Sylvie who was much softer, a warm and caring character; someone everyone would want for a friend.
As their lives intertwine we see Missy grow, forced out of her shell by helping others and gradually allowing herself to be helped. This is a fabulous piece of contemporary fiction, which I was confident from the outset that I would enjoy. Missy’s story is a sad but familiar one, her children have grown up and moved away, as a nuclear family without her husband she now feels lost and alone. She is unable to access help due to pride and simply not knowing how to change things.
At just under 400 pages it is not a short novel but I still felt sad when it came to an end. The characters are endearing and while Sylvie was wonderful, Missy and Angela with their quirks and sharp edges were both endearing as we followed their struggles. Told in the first person voice of Missy, she not only details her current situation as she acquires a dog which proves to be life changing for her, she also reflects on her life, her family, her time as a student at Cambridge University and meeting her husband Leo. She considers the highs and lows of her past, her losses and gains and her own insecurities, which often leave her feeling inadequate. Sad in parts but essentially a heartwarming novel of friendship and the power of this.
Recommended for fans of contemporary fiction, Joanna Cannon, Beth O’Leary or anyone who enjoyed Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine or A Man Called Ove.
About the Author
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.
Previously Creative Director at RDF Television, Beth now writes full time. She was previously shortlisted for the Grazia-Orange First Chapter award, and had her work published in the Cambridge and Oxford May Anthologies while at university.
Beth lives in London with her husband, two sons and a dog named Polly.