by Clare Chambers
29 April 2021
LONGLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION 2021'A WORD-OF-MOUTH HIT' Evening Standard 'A very fine book... It's witty and sharp and reads like something by Barbara Pym or Anita Brookner, without ever feeling like a pastiche 'David Nicholls 'Perfect'India Knight 'Beautiful' Jessie Burton 'Wonderful'Richard Osman 'Miraculous'Tracy Chevalier 'A wonderful novel. I loved it 'Nina Stibbe 'Effortless to read, but every sentence lingers in the mind' Lissa Evans 'This is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.
I honestly don't want you to be without it'Lucy Mangan 'Gorgeous... If you're looking for something escapist and bittersweet, I could not recommend more' Pandora Sykes 'Remarkable... Small Pleasures is no small pleasure 'The Times'An irresistible novel - wry, perceptive and quietly devastating 'Mail on Sunday 'Chambers' eye for undemonstrative details achieves a Larkin-esque lucidity' Guardian 'An almost flawlessly written tale of genuine, grown-up romantic anguish' The Sunday Times 1957, the suburbs of South East London.
Jean Swinney is a journalist on a local paper, trapped in a life of duty and disappointment from which there is no likelihood of escape. When a young woman, Gretchen Tilbury, contacts the paper to claim that her daughter is the result of a virgin birth, it is down to Jean to discover whether she is a miracle or a fraud. As the investigation turns her quiet life inside out, Jean is suddenly given an unexpected chance at friendship, love and - possibly - happiness.
But there will, inevitably, be a price to pay. Book of the Year for: The Times, Daily Telegraph, Evening Standard, Daily Express, Metro, Spectator, Red Magazine and Good Housekeeping