Mrs Saville by Ted Morrissey

Margaret Saville’s husband has been away on business for weeks and has stopped replying to her letters. She still grieves the death of her youngest child as she does her best to raise her surviving children, Felix and Agatha. Her brother, Robert Walton, has suddenly returned after three years at sea, having barely survived his exploratory voyage to the northern pole. The depth of her brother’s trauma becomes clear, so that she must add his health and sanity to her list of cares.

A bright spot seems to be a new friendship with a young woman who has just returned to England from the Continent, but Margaret soon discovers that her friend, Mary Shelley, has difficulties of her own, including an eccentric poet husband, Percy, and a book she is struggling to write. Margaret’s story unfolds in a series of letters to her absent husband, desperate for him to return or at least to acknowledge her epistles and confirm that he is well. She is lonely, grief-stricken and afraid, yet in these darkest of times, a spirit of independence begins to awaken. Mrs Saville begins where Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein ends. Read our review here.

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All the Lonely People by Mike Gayle

“I’m such a fan of Mike’s, and think this is absolutely his best yet. The characters are so warm and so real, and the issues of loneliness and displacement are so very topical and important.”―Clare Mackintosh, New York Times bestselling author

“A heartwarming story about the power of community and human connection. Hubert Bird stole my heart.”―Beth O’Leary, author of The Flat-Share

—∞—

In weekly phone calls to his daughter in Australia, widower Hubert Bird paints a picture of the perfect retirement, packed with fun, friendship, and fulfillment. But it’s a lie. In reality, Hubert’s days are all the same, dragging on without him seeing a single soul.

Until he receives some good news — good news that in one way turns out to be the worst news ever, news that will force him out again, into a world he has long since turned his back on. The news that his daughter is coming for a visit.

Now Hubert faces a seemingly impossible task: to make his real life resemble his fake life before the truth comes out.
Along the way, Hubert stumbles across a second chance at love, renews a cherished friendship, and finds himself roped into an audacious community scheme that seeks to end loneliness once and for all …

Life is certainly beginning to happen to Hubert Bird. But with the origin of his earlier isolation always lurking in the shadows, will he ever get to live the life he’s pretended to have for so long?

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