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Saving Missy by Beth Morrey

Writing.ie | Book Reviews | General Fiction

By Swirl and Thread

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Meet Missy.
A bit prickly.
Very stubborn.
Terribly lonely
And it’s all her fault….
But does Missy deserve a second chance?

Saving Missy is the debut novel from Beth Morrey. Published with Harper Collins, it is described as ‘2020’s most astonishing debut’. After the first few chapters, I fell in love with Missy and I know you will too….

Millicent (Missy) Carmichael is seventy-nine years of age. She lives in a big house that she is struggling to maintain. This is her home, the place she reared her family, a place full of memories, both good and bad.

Missy would not consider herself someone who folk gravitate toward. Over the years, life has sharpened her edges and caused loneliness and isolation for Missy. Alone now, Missy recalls her husband Leo and her two adult children, Alistair and Melanie. Estranged from everyone, Missy has become quite insular and has almost hidden herself away from society. Her only motivation to step outside is so she has some news to put in an email to Alistair, now married and settled in Australia.

It is on one of these journeys outdoors to the local park that Missy takes a turn and soon finds herself surrounded by concerned strangers. Sylvie and Angela are two local women, friends who show some empathy toward Missy, but Missy prickles and refuses their invitation to join them for a cuppa. Why would she? Why would they want her, an old lady accompanying them? Surely they were only being polite?

Missy spends time considering what happened, but slowly ventures outside again, taking tentative steps into the world she has for so long cut herself off from. As the days pass, Sylvie, Angela and Otis, Angela’s son, become part of Missy’s daily routine. Missy begins to believe that perhaps, just perhaps, she is someone to be liked, someone folk could warm to, if given half the chance.

Missy remembers back to her younger days. She remembers her parents and grandparents, before and after the war and she recalls the first time she met Leo Carmichael. Missy studied in Cambridge. Her mother was very involved in women’s rights and Missy was always encouraged to be a strong independent woman. But as the years passed, and following her marriage to Leo, Missy’s career was side-lined for family life. Leo became an eminent author, a respected academic and Missy soon found herself in his shadow. No longer a person in her own right, she was Leo Carmichael’s wife. After the birth of her two children, Missy felt herself slipping away.

But Missy had a secret, a secret that caused her so much pain, one that she never wished to forget but one that she feared the family discovering. Harbouring this secret gnawed away at Missy. Now, in her seventies, alone and lonely, she remembers back over those years and recalls moments of happiness, moments of sorrow.

Saving Missy is a book that will affect every reader in many different ways. We all have our own personal journeys, our own relationships with our family and with others. How we choose to live our lives is based on our experiences and how we deal with them. Missy’s story is heart-breaking and heart-warming. Her life is filled with tender moments of passion and love but also with sorrow and sadness. Chapters are filled with melancholy but also there are plenty packed full with hope and joy.

Missy is a wonderful human being but she has her faults. When we first meet her, she is prickly and stubborn, and most certainly lonely. But her life experiences have made her this way. Missy is deserving of second chances and as a reader, I was rooting for her all the way through. We all deserve a second chance in life, a chance to be happy, to be ourselves but we cannot do it alone. Missy Carmichael is seventy-nine and afraid of change. Is it too late for Missy? Has she spent too many years dwelling on her past and the secrets she keeps?

Meet Missy within these pages. Immerse yourselves in Beth Morrey’s writing and enjoy an uplifting, nostalgic, sentimental and gorgeous read about an elderly lady called Millicent Carmichael who has so many regrets but discovers that, with the right support, it’s never too late to change…

(c) Swirl and Thread

Order your copy online here.

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