So to my second review of the day for another book in the Fairlight Moderns collection, another novella. A short story with a lot to say and set mainly on the beautiful Isle of Wight back in the mid 1980’s.
About the book
Postal worker Jenny’s life is in the doldrums. Her daughter is all grown up and ready to face the world, her marriage is falling apart, and now her best friend and colleague tells her he plans to retire. So, when a postcard from Australia, begging the recipient for forgiveness but marked ‘insufficient address’, lands on her sorting table, she does the unthinkable – she slips it up her sleeve, with the intention of delivering it herself.
Jenny sets off on a journey around the Isle of Wight, determined to find the recipient, and with the help of the locals she hopes to reunite the long-lost lovers. Will she be able to give them the happy ending she didn’t allow herself to have?
Set against the backdrop of the strikes in the 1980s, Missing Words is a heart-warming journey about self-discovery, the power of family ties, and the strength needed to face whatever life throws your way.
What I thought
When Jenny who works in the Post Office sorting office sees the postcard with an incomplete address, she can’t help but read the message on the back. When she reads the plea from one lover to another from the other side of the world, it causes her to think back to her own life and what she thinks of as a missed opportunity. Jenny was once asked herself, to take the chance and see the world with a teenage boyfriend but she turned him down. Now she wonders what if……and decides that this couple should at least have a chance to make things work, if only she can find the other half of the puzzle and find the woman who the postcard is addressed to somewhere on the Isle of Wight.
Jenny’s life is somewhat in turmoil at the moment. She’s not the happiest she’s ever been and as she takes her bike over to the Isle of Wight in search of the postcard recipient, she uses the time to be alone with her thoughts and to think about where she would like her own life to go from here.
It’s a story about family life, grief, and searching for what is most important in life. Jenny feels like life is passing her by and that things must change. She questions her marriage and whether it will survive the heartbreak the family has suffered. It does tend to meander a little, especially when Jenny is on her bike rides but there are family scenes and workplace scenes which include a little more dialogue and help the reader to see why she feels like she has reached a turning point in her life.
It was also a chance for a step back in time and to realise how much things have changed in such a relatively short space of time. Phone calls made from telephone boxes, no Google to search out names, trade unions in their last throws of calling the shots in the workplace all take the reader back to another era. Many of the changes from then are probably for the better, but some perhaps not so much.
It was quite a poignant book at times and I enjoyed it very much.
♥ Happy Reading ♥
Thank you to Fairlight Books via Netgalley for an advance review copy of the book.
The book is published today and is available in e-format and paperback. You can find it on Amazon and all independent book shops as well as Waterstones and Blackwell’s