Monday, 30 March 2015

A Year of Marvellous Ways - Sarah Winman

Of course it was the title that struck. What is this one about? And the cover, what is that all about? Can I just say first that the cover was illustrated by someone who actually read the book and understood it too (so often this is not the case), so well done that man or woman. It's a beautiful cover which together with the dark turquoise page edges, make this a lovely paperback to have and hold. This is a story of love and loss. Of lives intertwined in the oddest of ways, of a very young and broken young man, and a very old and interesting woman.

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Miss Ways, Marvellous, never knew her mother. Francis Drake never knew his father. They find each other in Cornwall, a few years after the end of WW1, when he delivers a letter to the father of a young soldier killed in France and handed to him for delivery. In Cornwall, this man broken by war and the loss of a woman he loved, happens upon Marvellous, and collapses into her care. As she nurses him back to life and health again, she recalls her whole life, tells him bits of it and as he regains his health, he realises that what he has found is the most generous friend and nurse, a woman who has led a rich but very odd life, and who has dragged him back out of the mud that was his life into one full of optimism and hope. And Marvellous, with her yellow waterproof, grass in her hair and a gypsy caravan to call home, has found a new love - not in the sexual way, but in the way that sometimes we come across kindred spirits. It's an awakening of consciousness for both of them, and I loved my journey through their lives. There is a shock in the last couple of pages that I didn't see coming but enjoyed reading, so, just don't read the last few pages pages until you get there. It is a moving and funny and lovely and of course a Marvellous book.