My book review of 'Sipsworth' by Simon Van Booy

by Simon Van Booy
by Simon Van Booy

I heard about this book through the author, and bookseller Ann Patchett. From her bookshop in America - Parnassus Books - she posts on Instagram twice a week with recommendations, and news of her dogs. It's rather lovely!

I can't remember now what she said about this book that made me think it was absolutely essential that I read it, but there was something and I was delighted to get an advance copy.

Helen Cartwright has returned to the English village of her childhood from Australia where she had built a family and a career over the preceding 60 years. Her husband and son have passed away and she's marking time before she joins them.

She doesn't want company or surprises but one night she sees her neighbour put out rubbish for collection at the end of his drive and curiosity gets the better of her.

Retrieving an old fish tank with its various accoutrements she inadvertently takes in a mouse and, despite her best efforts, she finds she cannot rid herself of it. And so begins a remarkable friendship and reawakening.

This is a wonderful book. I was full of expectation after Ann Patchett's brief recommendation and it didn't disappoint. It's unusual and tender, soothing and poignant, amusing and uplifting. It's got to be my favourite read this year so far. I just loved it!

Date of this review: June 2024
Book publication date: 18th July 2024