I wasn’t going to take part in Simon Stuckinabook and Karen Kaggsysbookishramblings’ #1968 club reading challenge because I’d already read Elizabeth Taylor’s “The Wedding Group” and didn’t want to hop ahead to Iris Murdoch’s “The Nice and the Good”. I had a look at what else came out that year and wasn’t that enthused. But then Simon read and reviewed this book a mere matter of DAYS ago, and I had a look on Amazon and there was the Kindle book for £1 and there was I. And I’m VERY glad I clicked, downloaded and read because this book is utterly charming! I really hope I’m not too late for inclusion with this review, because the week has been up to 5 Nov and it’s 5 Nov right now …

Eloise Jarvis McGraw – “Greensleeves”

(ebook – 04 November 2017)

An absolutely enchanting novel starring 18 year old Shannon Lightley, daughter of a film star and a news anchor but feeling she’s inherited the worst aspects of their looks, and cursed to have no roots or home by living in Europe and America, fitting into neither, and having about seven parental figures, the most useful of which appears to be the lawyer Uncle Frosty.

Shannon just doesn’t know who she is (who does at 18?) and when she gets the chance to escape for a summer, she does just that, adopting a new persona, accent and look, leaving her trusty camel bag behind and adopting a cardboard suitcase. She gets a job at a diner and a room in a boarding house and tries to work out for Uncle Frosty why an elderly lady who lived there previously had bequeathed all sorts of odd legacies to the people of the neighbourhood. While she thinks she’s getting it all worked out, some of the people around her are managing to work her out.

What will Shan make of her life, which doesn’t, as she points out, resemble a well-written play? Will she fall for one of the two men she meets and becomes close to, or will she go off to find herself (or indeed stay to find herself)? And which side of Uncle Frosty’s law case will she come down on? Lovely main and side characters and an utterly charming read that I will be buying for a few people for Christmas.

Simon noted that this feels very modern and could have been written now instead of being published in 1968. There’s a tiny bit of casual violence by the men which probably dates it (nothing bad, just different viewpoints) and it has a freshness and dry tone that reminds me a bit of Margery Sharp’s novels – in fact those who like Sharp will probably love this. I’m glad librarian Nancy Pearl rescued this for her Book Crush Rediscoveries Series (I can only find a LibraryThing page on these, here) and even more glad that Simon reviewed it.

Of COURSE I’m still reading “Under the Net”. But I had to pause it for this, I’m sure you’ll all agree!