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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly engaging read
Small Kindnesses by Fiona Robyn is utterly delightful. Leonard, a widower, finds a railway ticket in an old handbag belonging to his late wife Rose. The ticket to Didcot, together with a letter from an old school friend of Rose, set Leonard off on a trail of discovery. A closely observed portrait of an extended family, as well as a study in grief and identity, Small...
Published on 15 Nov 2012 by C L Hawley

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Someone else looking at the growing world to keep them steady with the natural world
This book related to me,I especially like d the references to the growing world. It's world through the eyes of an older man, with a past that affect s his present.
I would recommend it.
Published 20 months ago by C


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly engaging read, 15 Nov 2012
This review is from: Small Kindnesses (Kindle Edition)
Small Kindnesses by Fiona Robyn is utterly delightful. Leonard, a widower, finds a railway ticket in an old handbag belonging to his late wife Rose. The ticket to Didcot, together with a letter from an old school friend of Rose, set Leonard off on a trail of discovery. A closely observed portrait of an extended family, as well as a study in grief and identity, Small Kindnesses is vibrant and real. Leonard is lightly flawed and very likeable as he deals with crisis after crisis without Rose's help and advice. Robyn highlights the double whammy that is every widow and widower's main tragedy: the dealing with grief and trauma without the help of the lost spouse. It is, as you would expect, touching, but it is far from soppy and makes you smile time after time.

Robyn's true strength is in her portrayal of relationships, particularly parent and child relationships. Here there are very different relationships between Leonard and Rose and their daughter, and their own parents, and their grandchildren:

In the morning they go to a park with a lake in the middle and an impressive playground. The boys swing on their swings for as long as the adults can bear to push them. After half an hour of continuous swinging, Leonard wonders if they would ever get tired of it. He sees them in his mind's eye with a huge back-up team of adult pushers to launch and re-launch them into the air twenty-four hours a day. They'll eat and drink on them, learn their times tables, sleep on them, grow out of their tiny trousers and into bigger and bigger ones, holding mini-TVs in their laps, chatting with friends who jump onto the swings beside them. 'The Amazing Swinging Twins!' the papers will announce, and psychologists and film-makers will come from far and wide to analyse them and film them as they swing. The'll only stop when Rory, aged 17, falls in love with one of his young pushers and leaps off into the air and into her arms.

As well as being a parent and grandparent Leonard is a gardener. His day job is with the National Trust and he thinks of flowers and plants throughout the day at work and at home. This living background to the narrative gives the book a real painterly quality: character portraits with leaf work.

Leonard has a gardener's sharp observation: he sees the detail and has the patience to wait for the whole picture which time will reveal, and he is prepared to spend time nurturing for he knows the rewards to come. A truly lovely book, gently incisive, witty and engaging!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a touching, inspiring story, 16 Nov 2012
This review is from: Small Kindnesses (Kindle Edition)
Small Kindnesses by Fiona Robyn is an excellent read. The novel is written in the third person present tense which took me by surprise. But it works so well. I was "in" there straightaway from the first page. The protagonist, Leonard, is an endearing widower who is so real and normal that I warmed to him straightaway. The plot twists and turns but you never flounder and think where's all this going? That there's a secret is obvious from the start. But what the secret is, is revealed very cleverly, layer by layer. The author has a couple of red herrings lying in wait and I found myself changing my mind just as Leonard does, as more information is revealed. It's almost a mystery, without a murder! If you like "solve it" type of novels, this would be one for you. But even if you're not into mystery novels, this is worth a read. The romance is tender, the pace, although "here and now" is actually quite fast paced. The reader sees things through Leonard's eyes and follows his train of thought as it goes off at a tangent - just like one's thoughts do in real life. But you have to keep reading. You have to find out what the secret is. A very neat, concise novel, an interesting cast of characters and a compelling plot that draws you along. Great for a holiday read or a back to work read - I rate this novel very highly indeed. And don't be put off by someone comparing Fiona Robyn to Joanna Trollope. Robyn is miles better than Trollope!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Lovely, gentle, engaging story, 14 Feb 2013
By 
Ms. E. Holmes-ievers (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Small Kindnesses (Kindle Edition)
One of my New Years' Resolutions was to read more and this was the second book I have finished so far. It was delightful. The story was not complicated but flowed beautifully. The characters came alive and I cared about each one. The "mystery" wasn't a surprise, but didn't spoil the story. The ending was touching. Altogether an engaging book. I really enjoyed it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Blue Handbag, revisited, 15 Nov 2012
By 
N. B. Smith (Ohio, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Small Kindnesses (Kindle Edition)
What would you do if you suddenly found that the person you were married to for many years had a secret life, a life that didn't gel with you knew her/him to be? That is the premise behind Fiona Robyn's "The Blue Handbag", now under this new title. Leonard, still grieving for his wife Rose, finds a ticket in a handbag of hers that seems inexplicable to him. Leonard is a father, grandfather, friend, husband, and most importantly, a good man. Three years after his wife Rose has died, he is almost ready to move on until he discovers the mystery of the wife he knew so well. Weaving an intriguing plot with great characters, Robyn has produced a novel that is a fine read about people we'd like to know. Pickles the dog is a personal favorite. This novel is definitely worth reading--check it out.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A small gem of a novel, 2 April 2014
This review is from: Small Kindnesses (Paperback)
Small Kindnesses moved me to loud sobbing tears. I was touched by the tenderness of everyday characters being heroes of their own worlds. Satya Robyn, thank you for Leonard.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read - highly recommend., 3 July 2013
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This review is from: Small Kindnesses (Kindle Edition)
I loved this book and thought it was a beautifully observed exploration of loss, relationships and slow discovery of emerging new awareness. I was caught into Leonard's world right from page one and loved his gardener patience and sharp observation of the growing world. I enjoyed the gardening metaphor. I loved Satya's observation of relationships with all their light and shade. It was a book that made me laugh out loud in places and also made me cry. I read this very quickly and will read again more slowly a second time to savour. Satya is a new writer to me and I will look forward to reading more of her work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Small Kindnesses, 13 Mar 2013
This review is from: Small Kindnesses (Kindle Edition)
I found this story engaging and touching without feeling that my feelings were being manipulated. The main character extremely endearing and real. A story that made me feel reflective and a little sad.
Coral.macgregor@hotmail.com
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely fantastic read., 5 Mar 2013
By 
ElaineG (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Small Kindnesses (Kindle Edition)
This is an absolutely breath taking read. It is the story of Leonard, a widower who finds himself in a dilemma when he comes across a train ticket in an old handbag belonging to his late wife Rose, to a town where as far as he is aware, she had never ever been to. The train ticket plays on his mind (as sometimes unexplained things do); he can't get it out of his head and when he meets an old friend of hers, Lily, something she says makes him realise that maybe he didn't know Rose as well as he thought.

The story moves in a very gentle way, the mystery is revealed gradually and deepens as the tale goes on, so by the end of it you really are hooked, wanting to know the truth, as much as Leonard.

Leonard himself is a wonderful character - a genuinely nice man who is very normal and the author has portrayed him in a very realistic way, we see his good points and his bad points. We soon get to really care about him as it his very normalness that is so appealing to the reader - he could be anybody's father, husband or brother.

The writing is wonderful and in particular the author has done a fantastic job of describing the loneliness of a widower living on his own after years of happy marriage. Just a simple sentence, such as pointing out the single set of crockery and cutlery on the draining board is enough to set the scene of Leonard's existence. It is a very poignant, moving story, but not all doom and gloom - there are some nice gentle humorous moments in there as well. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful read, 4 Mar 2013
This review is from: Small Kindnesses (Kindle Edition)
'Small Kindnesses' grabs our attention right from the start. It is an engaging book, beautifully written. Leonard (our hero) is wonderfully drawn and I loved the way he lived life at his own pace (slow!) but always got there in the end!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 7 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Small Kindnesses (Kindle Edition)
The story slowly unfolds and draws you in. I had a job to put it down as I wanted to find out what the mystery was. Fiona never fails to write interesting books and the characters and plot all are very different.
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Small Kindnesses
Small Kindnesses by Satya Robyn
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