Top positive review
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~A real gem of a novel- review of VMC Designer Edition~
on 23 April 2012
I am utterly in love with the VMC Designer Collection- gorgeous covers and delightful stories with great introductions by other well-known authors, so for me this was another must-read to add to my (rapidly growing) set. With its elegant prose, memorable narrator and a fantastic character driven plot, this book may have introduced me to Muriel Spark but I will definitely be reading more by her in future.
Told from the perspective of the no-nonsense and utterly dependable Mrs Hawkins, the book revolves around her life within the publishing profession and her relationship with her neighbours within the boarding house where she resides. Though not a lot appears to happen on the surface, there is something of a mystery centred on a blackmail plot in the narrative, as well as Mrs Hawkins numerous encounters with an author who she continually offends and appears to enjoy putting in his place, much to the detriment of her career. Evocative of 1950's London and Sparks' own experiences of the time, the book is a realistic look into a forgotten era and laced with titbits of advice from the protagonist, delivered in a very matter of fact fashion.
This book will not only look spectacular on your bookshelf- but it is such a lovely little read too and filled with subtle humour and dark comedy. I will definitely be recommending it to my friends and you will most likely enjoy it if you favour light-hearted, character rather than plot driven novels. Recommended.