Sunday, May 17, 2020

Millicent “Missy” Carmichael can be difficult to like.  A 79 year old lady who lives alone in a big empty London house, she lives for the yearly visit of her son and grandson from Australia.  Her daughter lives closer, but they’ve had a falling out recently and don’t speak much (they were never really close anyway).  The Love Story of Missy Carmichael shows what happens when you open yourself up to new experiences.

Missy, daughter of an early, ardent feminist, went off to college and shone brightly as a classics scholar.  One night at a party she meets handsome Leo Carmichael, and is instantly smitten.  They have a brief affair, but then he goes off and she’s left with her books and her longing for him.  When he eventually returns a few years later, they marry and (as women did at the time) she instantly devotes herself to having children and keeping things running while he becomes a famous historian and author.

Current events in the novel are interspersed with earlier events from Missy’s life.  Her beloved grandparents, fiercely determined mother, and adored yet absent husband all help to explain how Missy came to be alone, bitter, and yet still yearning after connections.  A decision to go out to a local event leads to unimagined benefits in Missy’s solitary life.  After a spell of light-headedness, Missy meets single mother Angela and her young son Otis (who reminds Missy painfully of her absent grandson), interior designer Sylvie, and, eventually, the new love of her life: a patient yet excitable dog named Bobby.

Walking Bobby (who Missy agrees to look after “temporarily” for a friend of Angela’s) exposes Missy to a whole new group of acquaintances:  the park dog-walkers.  Since she now has an area of common ground, Missy finds herself suddenly shedding her prickly persona in favor of exchanging dog stories with others who are eager to talk about their furry companions.  Angela is also delighted to find a compliant and available baby-sitter, and young Otis enjoys the attention of a surrogate grandmother.

Soon Missy’s life is opening up in ways she could never have imagined.  Having spent her entire life looking after others (with little appreciation or thanks) it’s nice to see her finally enjoying herself and living a little.  There are a few surprises at the end as more and more of Missy’s secrets are exposed.  Overall, the adventures of Missy and Bobby make for an enjoyable and inspiring story of how it’s never too late to find new loves.

Disclaimer:  I received an advanced reader’s copy of The Love Story of Missy Carmichael in exchange for this review


About Me

My photo
I'm a librarian who is interested in all things British. I try to visit London as often as possible, and am always planning my next trip. I lived in Sweden for a few years with my Swedish husband, so the occasional Swedish reference may occur . . .

I'm waiting! My library holds

Header by:


My LibraryThing Library

The Gherkin Scale

5gherkinsb Brilliant!

4gherkinsb Good, innit?

3gherkinsb Fair to middlin'

2gherkinsb Has some good points

1gherkin Oi! Wot you playin' at?

0gherkins3Don't be givin' me evils!

Blog Archive

Popular Posts