on 15 July 2010
Life begins at forty, so they say, and Harriet Glover certainly hopes so. She is married to Mark Glover, though they aren't actually married at all. Seeing as their surnames happened to be the same Mark didn't think it necessary. Commitment had never been his strong point, though Harriet would dearly like to be married, or would she?
May be, may be not, not now that she's cast her eyes over the six foot blond hunk who just happens to be her boss, the headmaster at the primary school where Harriet teaches. So begins Margaret Henderson Smith's first novel, A Question of Answers.
The Glovers have two grown up daughters living away from home, though they are still thinking of adding to their brood. The daughters have men of their own, and stressed relationships too. Harriet worries for them, her babies, and the phone never stops ringing, and if it isn't the daughters, it's Harriet's mother who always likes to keep involved.
Add to that a cat that very much has a mind of its own, and the small fact that the Glover's house is up for sale, (the useless estate agents haven't produced a single viewer in months!), and of course, as estate agents always do, produce a viewing at the most inopportune moment.
Harriet is stressed, or `Arriet as some of her friends insist on calling her, much we suspect, to her annoyance. She is going through a clumsy phase, a one woman French farce at times, dropping bottles, knocking things over, including the school caretaker clean off his ladder, and all the while, Joris, pronounced Yoris, Sanderson, the dishy headmaster is there in the background standing, smiling... smiling at Harriet. Could he be? She'd like to think so.
There's a lot going on here, a reflection of contemporary situations we all find ourselves in, or wished we did, or didn't, as the case may be. Resonances of Bridget Jones too, as Harriet stumbles from one cringing situation to another, some funny, some hugely embarrassing, when she wishes the floor would open up and swallow her whole. Little wonder she likes a bottle of wine, or two, with her takeaway tea, little wonder she's often elated, or in tears.
The book is well written and has been well proof read, which makes a pleasant change, and is, we understand, the first of a series of two.
It's a promising debut from this new writer and we look forward to seeing more.
And does Harriet land the man of her dreams and find true happiness? Of course... we couldn't possibly comment on that in any way, except to say you will just have to buy the book and find out for yourself!
The Writing Pad