Thank you to Emma of Damppebbles blog tours for the invite on to the blog tour for Mrs Narwhal’s Diary– a humorous tale of life in a dilapidated manor house. Is it just the house that’s falling apart at the seams or are a few cracks in the marriage beginning to show too?
Don’t forget to check out the other reviews on the tour.
About the Book
“It was Woman’s Hour who suggested I keep a diary. They said it was good for mental health, and I must say I did feel much less frazzled after writing everything down yesterday. The frustrations were all still there, but somehow smoothed out – as if by a really good steam iron.”
Mrs Narwhal is overwhelmed. Her husband, Hugh, is unkind and unhappy – working every hour at a job he hates to save the ancestral home he never wanted. Then there’s Hugh’s sister, Rose, who’s spurned her one true love, and ricochets from crisis to crisis; and not to mention two small boys to bring up safely in a house that could crumble around their ears at any moment…
When Hugh’s pride receives a fatal blow, and he walks out, Mrs Narwhal is plunged into a crisis of both heart and home. With help from Rose she sets out to save the house her husband couldn’t. But can she save her marriage? And does she really want Hugh back?
Funny, charming, and moving, Mrs Narwhal’s Diary is an irresistible story which will enchant and delight its readers.
What I thought
More than anything else, this book is funny. I think the turn of every page brings at least a smile, but more often a full on laugh out loud. Littered throughout with amusing analogies this author certainly has a way with words, and yet its a natural humour which never feels forced.
The story sets out with the small family gathered together in the tree house to remember the last Narwhal, Hugh’s Father, on the anniversary of his passing 7 years ago. Its a family tradition carried on through the generations. A gathering in the Tree House, the tolling of a bell at the top of the tree house and a Scots piper. All very civilised, followed by a family dinner with goose served centre of table. Historical fiction then, you might think. But you’d be wrong – this is present day Narwhal tradition.
It’s a strange book because you’re never really given any background on who the Narwhal’s were originally. Why they have this big old house which they appear to be lumbered with and just accept, rather than getting any sense of joy from living there. It’s rapidly falling into decay and you as the reader certainly soon come to realise, that whilst these people may have been gentry at one time, they don’t really have two ha’pennies to rub together any longer. Certainly not enough for the upkeep of a large crumbling manor house, which I have assumed it is.
The story is told via Mrs Narwhal’s diary as the title suggests but you don’t really notice it as a diary. It’s an account of the most part of a year in the family’s life, when things have reached crisis point and its all going a bit downhill especially where the Narwhal’s marriage is concerned.
Mrs Narwhal is the lead character in the book and obviously the narrator, it being a diary but all the other characters have a big part to play. I liked her two boys (again we’re not filled in on the detail of ages but I assume them both to still be of primary school age) they were funny, but I thought the star of the show had to be Rose, Hugh’s rather errant sister who brings some modernity to the family. She’s not so much errant as free spirited I suppose you would say. She at least makes some attempt to bring Hugh kicking and screaming into the 21st century anyway.
There’s not a huge plot to the book but the author keeps you entertained with her descriptions and as I said before, her way with words. A gentle meander through one family’s struggle with the trials and tribulations of life in a crumbling old manor house is how I’d describe it. I enjoyed it very much, with a narrative that brings in a degree of eccentricity, it certainly made me smile from beginning to end.
♥ Happy Reading ♥
The book was published by Louise Walters Books on 16th May 2021. The book is available in both paperback and ebook format from the following:-
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3aDOjKw
Book Depository: https://bit.ly/3xscUMc
S J Norbury lives in Herefordshire with her family. Mrs Narwhal’s Diary is her first novel.
Published by Louise Walters Books.