There is absolutely nothing bah humbug about this book. Losing yourself in the magic and “Christmassyness” of it all is a wonderful addition to any Christmas reading traditions, and may just have become one of mine.
The whole atmosphere of the town is so perfectly rendered; everyone has secrets — even the young kids. The pacing of the gradual reveal of these secrets is masterful; Hawkins is a pro at building up just the right amount of suspense.
The novel is such a clever study of dementia — the ebbs and flows of the illness itself. The progression from a woman who is mobile, continent and conversant — even if in an erratic way — to a woman who needs full time care; the periods of calm and stability to the swift progression of falls, incontinence, and full time care. All of this is dealt with sensitively but without being overly sentimental.
“The relationship between Rose and Sofia is often perplexing. Sofia tries to makes sense of the woman who, for so long, has ruled her life. She describes herself as a “sleuth” for forever trying to uncover who her mother is.” — Angela Vincent, Reviewer
This novel was long listed for the Man Booker Prize last year and has received many other worthy accolades. Here in my humble opinion is why.
Rachel Joyce has a skill for understanding the best of human nature. ‘The Music Shop’ shows she also has an ability to write about music in such a way that the pages almost sing with the joy of it. Surely this ability can only come from a true music lover?