“I sometimes think we’re at our happiest when bawling at people who can’t hear us.”
“It was Woman’s Hour who suggested I keep a diary. They said it was good for mental health, and I must say I did feel much less frazzled after writing everything down yesterday. The frustrations were all still there, but somehow smoothed out – as if by a really good steam iron.”
Mrs Narwhal is overwhelmed. Her husband, Hugh, is unkind and unhappy – working every hour at a job he hates to save the ancestral home he never wanted. Then there’s Hugh’s sister, Rose, who’s spurned her one true love, and ricochets from crisis to crisis; and not to mention two small boys to bring up safely in a house that could crumble around their ears at any moment…
When Hugh’s pride receives a fatal blow, and he walks out, Mrs Narwhal is plunged into a crisis of both heart and home. With help from Rose she sets out to save the house her husband couldn’t. But can she save her marriage? And does she really want Hugh back?
Funny, charming, and moving, Mrs Narwhal’s Diary is an irresistible story which will enchant and delight its readers.
Mrs Narwhal is feeling somewhat overwhelmed with her life. After several years of living in her husband’s ancestral home the sheer size and constant needs of the house has left her unconnected from her husband, Hugh, and she turns to a diary in order to try and get some perspective on her life.
She begins to realise that the overwhelming sense of duty in respect of Hugh’s inheritance has turned him into a totally different and not so very nice person to the man she married. No doubt, she feels, the same has happened, is happening or will happen to her if, indeed, she continues to live with Hugh.
Then after a couple of incidents Hugh, who is very unhappy with his life, leaves the house to sort things out. Mrs Narwhal, we never learn her first name, takes this almost in her stride and yet the sheer weight that she now carries – the house, two young boys and her ever crisis-ridden sister-in-law, Rose – is about to make or break her.
Through the pages of Mrs Narwhal’s diary we learn what is happening, how she feels, how she thinks the other people in her life feel and how they all cope. It takes some deep dives into how a marriage can or should work and how what life throws at you sends such curveballs that what you once thought was a happy life, a good marriage is shown in such a light that you realise how wrong you are and leaves Mrs Narwhal wondering what she really wants.
Mrs Narwhal is a wonderful character a really strong person, she has her moments but she along with Rose (another great character) are, in their own ways, made of true grit and especially in the case of Mrs Narwhal great heart. This is the central relationship in much of the book and it truly highlights that wonderful bond of affection, friendship and love two women can have. The two women set to and begin to find a way in which the house can survive and along the way work out what and who they want or need in their their lives.
S J Norbury doesn’t baulk at getting Mrs Narwhal to face and address all that life is throwing at her but is that wonderful sort of writer who can bring humour into her story making it a much more uplifting read than would otherwise be the case. This is a book that brings to life it’s characters in such a way that you cannot help but become immersed and invested in what happens in this charming and enjoyable story.
This is a gem of a book which deserves a wide audience.
This may be the last day of the BlogTour but there are some great reviews and blogs to check out on the ‘Mrs Narwhal’s Diary’ Blog Tour so why not pop on your reading hat, take a spin and enjoy!
Published: Louise Walters Books (16th May 2021)
It will be published on Sunday 16 May in paperback and e-book. Audio and large print versions are also on their way, published by W F Howes.
Author: S J Norbury lives in Herefordshire with her family. Mrs Narwhal’s Diary is her first novel.
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