As he steps out under the dome of stars, he finds a prayer on his lips – not a prayer to a distant god, but a prayer wholly domestic, wholly earthbound.
Don’t let them take her away…I couldn’t bear it.
After a long and happy marriage, George’s life has changed since his wife Penny’s death three years ago. Now he lives alone, and his only friends are his old mate Redgum and his sister Shirl, who pops in regularly to check on him. He misses Pen, but he doesn’t want more friends or company. He’d rather be alone.
So when he meets single mum Angie and her daughter Rory he doesn’t want to get too close. But Angie unexpectedly saves his life, so George feels he owes her something. And Angie, who isn’t used to people being nice to her, makes the most of it. Gradually, George’s reluctant involvement blossoms into something rich and fulfilling but when he faces losing Rory, the girl he comes to love like a granddaughter, he finds himself on the wrong side of the law.
Mercy Street is a warm hearted story of an unlikely hero, dealing with themes of family, security and cross generational friendships. With a host of moving moments, there are also laughs and a wonderful depth to both the setting and the cast of the novel.
A beautiful book.
Mercy Street, by Tess Evans
Fourth Estate, an imprint of Harper Collins, 2016
‘Hello. Does Michael Clancy Live here?’
Silence. The door between them remained shut.
‘Michael Clancy. Michael Finbar Clancy?’
‘Moss- Miranda. Miranda Sinclair.’
Moss wasn’t a spiteful person in general, but in later moments of honest self-appraisal, she had to admit that spite was one of the less savoury elements in her decision to seek our Michael Clancy. she had nurtured this ignoble spite for months. It had walked with her up the path to his house, stuck like some disgusting mess to her shoe. And it was directed at Linsey. Linsey, who loved her. Amy’s softness offered not resistance and Moss needed hard edges on which to hone this uncharacteristic desire for revenge.
Moss has travelled to Opportunity to meet Michael Clancy, a man she has never met. She is running away from Melbourne, away from her mother, away from uncomfortable truths. She has no plans, no expectations beyond finding this man. But she can have no way of knowing the impact she will have on him and his community. The ripples from her arrival spread wide and far. Through Michael-known-as-Finn she meets an elderly woman who lives next door and knits tea cosies for the United Nations, and a man who wants to build a ‘Great Galah’. Each has secrets, as big as the one Moss brings with her. Each affects Moss as much as they affect her and her sense of self, her sense of direction.
Most novels have one or two main characters, but like a theatre performance, Book of Lost Threads is an ensemble piece, or a garment of disparate colours. Every character has their own story and thread by thread they are unravelled and knitted anew like the patterns in Mrs Pargetter’s tea cosies. Moss is the connector, the catalyst for change but Finn, Mrs Pargetter and Sandy all struggle with their present too. Incidents in their past trap them and hold them tight. From the strength that these new friendships provide, each begins to unsnag their history and let it ease gently into the past where it belongs. Then they can again begin to properly live. Families come in all shapes and sizes, and follow their own rules. This rag-tag ‘family’ is finally finding its way. Book of Lost Threads is funny and surprising and a ripper read.
Book of Lost Threads, Tess Evans
Allen & Unwin 2010
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
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