Mavis Forthright carefully rehearses her jump from Portsmouth’s Round Tower. She’s existed for over five decades. Lived hardly at all. Will end her misery with a few second’s fall into the cold sea. Except she’s not quite ready to die. A half day’s delay to try a bacon sandwich from the cafe won’t matter. Mother’s no longer there to disapprove.
She delays another day to lend Janice a book. Then a week to use her new paints. A month. Until the end of term. Mavis makes new plans; to create paintings full of emotion, to live, perhaps even make friends.
As if to balance her survival a number of people connected to Mavis die. At first that doesn’t matter. They’re people she dislikes. Mavis continues painting, tending her garden, feeding the birds and keeping her home properly clean, without additional concern. Then people who’ve been kind to Mavis are killed or injured. That shouldn’t happen.
Why are people dying? Is it because of charming Norman who’s back from her past, or is that strange boy Jake her mistaken guardian angel? Perhaps Mavis herself is to blame. She must learn the truth, stop the deaths and protect those she’s learned to care about before she can enjoy the new life she’s making for herself.
When I woke up wondering what would happen to Mavis, after having started the book the evening before, I knew the author had succeeded in bringing her main character to life on the page. Authentic characterisation, coupled with a teasing and fast-paced plot, resulted in my galloping through this book.
a page-turner in the very gentlest of ways, almost reminiscent of Alexander McCall Smith’s writing style.
a strong sense of place throughout the book, from the striking cover to the closing page.
this story will make you smile for a long time.
I can’t help feeling we all know a Mavis.