With the emotional intelligence of Maggie O'Farrell and the witty observational skills of Kate Atkinson, this is a novel of unexpected second chances set in 1950s England.
'The 21st century heir to Jane Austen, Barbara Pym and Elizabeth Taylor. SMALL PLEASURES is both gripping and a huge delight' Amanda Craig, author of THE LIE OF THE LAND
1957, south-east suburbs of London.
Jean Swinney is a feature writer on a local paper, disappointed in love and - on the brink of forty - living a limited existence with her truculent mother: a small life from which there is no likelihood of escape.
When a young Swiss 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. But the more Jean investigates, the more her life becomes strangely (and not unpleasantly) intertwined with that of the Tilburys: Gretchen is now a friend, and her quirky and charming daughter Margaret a sort of surrogate child. And Jean doesn't mean to fall in love with Gretchen's husband, Howard, but Howard surprises her with his dry wit, his intelligence and his kindness - and when she does fall, she falls hard.
But he is married, and to her friend - who is also the subject of the story she is researching for the newspaper, a story that increasingly seems to be causing dark ripples across all their lives. And yet Jean cannot bring herself to discard the chance of finally having a taste of happiness...
But there will be a price to pay, and it will be unbearable.
Both an absorbing mystery and a tender love story - and the ending is devastating. Chambers is a writer who finds the truth in things. - The Bookseller, Book of the Month
Clare Chambers is that rare thing, a novelist of discreet hilarity, deep compassion and stiletto wit... Small Pleasures is both gripping and a huge delight. - Amanda Craig, author of THE LIE OF THE LAND
I adored Small Pleasures. It's engrossing and gripping: you want to race on and relish every sentence at the same time. - Sabine Durrant, author of LIE WITH ME
Small Pleasures is a tender and heart-rending tale that will draw you in from the first page and keep you gripped until the very end. Exquisitely compelling! - Ruth Hogan, author of THE KEEPER OF LOST THINGS