The Love Story of Missy Carmichael Summary and Reviews

The Love Story of Missy Carmichael

by Beth Morrey

The Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey X
The Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey
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Book Summary

For readers of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and A Man Called Ove, a life-affirming, deeply moving "coming-of-old" story, a celebration of how ordinary days are made extraordinary through friendship, family, and the power of forgiving yourself--at any age.

The world has changed around seventy-nine-year-old librarian Millicent Carmichael, aka Missy. Though quick to admit that she often found her roles as a housewife and mother less than satisfying, Missy once led a bustling life driven by two children, an accomplished and celebrated husband, and a Classics degree from Cambridge. Now her husband is gone, her daughter is estranged after a shattering argument, and her son has moved to his wife's native Australia, taking Missy's beloved only grandchild half-a-world away. She spends her days sipping sherry, avoiding people, and rattling around in her oversized, under-decorated house waiting for...what exactly?

The last thing Missy expects is for two perfect strangers and one spirited dog named Bob to break through her prickly exterior and show Missy just how much love she still has to give. In short order, Missy finds herself in the jarring embrace of an eclectic community that simply won't take no for an answer--including a rambunctious mutt-on-loan whose unconditional love gives Missy a reason to re-enter the world one muddy paw print at a time.

Filled with wry laughter and deep insights, The Love Story of Missy Carmichael is a coming-of-old story that shows us it's never too late to forgive yourself and, just as important, it's never too late to love.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Morrey has deftly created a series of love stories, interwoven together and told in snippets through time...There are no saccharine moments to mar this tale. Pain, grief, and hurt are all part of life in this moving portrayal of the many forms love can take." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Here is a love story of the most important kind: that of coming to love oneself through accepting and returning the love of others—be it people or dogs." - Elizabeth Berg, author of Night of Miracles

Masterful and a real page-turner. Missy is a joy...the humor and courage with which she faces loss and aging are handled with such wit and empathy. The world needs more assured female voices like Beth Morrey's. Her novel is a breath of fresh air!" - Felicity Hayes-McCoy, author of The Library at the Edge of the World

"For everyone with an Eleanor Oliphant-shaped hole in their heart, this is the book to fill it. Gorgeous characters, heartfelt storytelling and the sort of book that lifts your heart." - Eithne Shortall, author of Grace After Henry

"Deeply moving, charming, and filled with wit and empathy - you can read on every page the love and care that Morrey has for each of her characters and by the end you'll love them too." - Kathy Wang, author of Family Trust

This information about The Love Story of Missy Carmichael shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

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Reader Reviews

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Cloggie Downunder

a wonderfully uplifting read.
“Surveying the boxes, chests and trunks - the leftovers of lost lives: Fa-Fa, Jette, my mother and father, Leo, even Alistair and Mel, since they’d begun new lives elsewhere – I fancied I could hear the echo of them all in their things.”

Saving Missy is the first novel by British author, Bath Morrey. Now that dear her son Alistair and her sweet little grandson Arthur have returned to Australia after their Christmas visit, Missy can admit to herself that she is desperately lonely. Their big house is so empty without Leo, and her daughter Melanie, teaching in Cambridge, no longer visits London after the row they had. But Millicent Carmichael is also a reserved English lady who does not display her feelings in public.

When she spots young Otis in the park one day, that ache for her grandson intensifies. His redhead mother is obviously a terrible woman, loud, and unpleasant. Casually waiting for another glimpse of Otis, Missy meets interior designer Sylvie Riche and is invited for coffee along with Irish Angela and Otis. But do these people really want her company?

It turns out that Angela needs someone to watch Otis when journalistic deadlines loom, and Missy decides she can put up with strong opinions peppered with expletives, imparted through a haze of smoke and alcohol, if it means a dose of little boy. But even more urgently required is a place for Bob, a dog whose family can’t keep her just now. Missy is quite sure she does not want a dog.

A change of heart, though, sees Missy meeting dog walkers and, almost unintentionally, allowing Angela, Otis and Sylvie into her house, her attic and, eventually, her life. Inside, the house is more than “minimalist” bare: Missy has relegated clutter and anything deemed unnecessary to the attic.

Triggered by exchanges with her new acquaintances, and items brought forth out of the attic, memories from Missy’s childhood, her first encounter with Leonard Carmichael, and significant incidents during their almost six decades of marriage, emerge. Thus the reader learns how Missy Carmichael arrived at this point in her life. Gradually revealed, too, are Missy’s secrets, her regrets and those things about which she feels most guilty.

When Missy has unbent enough to accept the help and love and care on offer, it turns out she herself has more to offer than she ever dreamed. Missy discovers that, even in her eighty-first year, she can give comfort and support and knowledge to those who need it, something quite different from the role of a wife and mother that precluded any possible career her splendid degree might have offered.

Morrey gives the reader a beautiful story with some predictable moments and a few surprises. Her depictions of London and Cambridge are evocative, and her characters feel like people you meet in real life. She gives lots of them wise words and Missy’s observation on the memory stick: “You just plugged it in, apparently. If only memories were that easy to access, and contain” is bound to resonate with readers of a certain vintage. There are plenty of wry observations and more than a few laugh-out-loud scenes. This debut novel is a wonderfully uplifting read.
This unbiased review is from an uncorrected proof copy provided by NetGalley and Better Reading Preview and Harper Collins Australia

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Author Information

Beth Morrey

Beth Morrey's work has been published in the Cambridge and Oxford May Anthologies and shortlisted for the Grazia Orange First Chapter competition. She lives in London with her family and dog. The Love Story of Missy Carmichael is her debut novel.

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