Thursday, April 20, 2017

Miss Mary's Book of Dreams

Title:  Miss Mary's Book of Dreams
Author:  Sophie Nicholls
Publication Information:  Zaffre Publishing. 2017. 320 pages.
ISBN:  1785761765 / 978-1785761768

Book Source:  I received this book as a publisher's galley through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Opening Sentence:  "When I first scribbled those words in my notebook a couple of years ago, I thought that I was writing the end of a particular story, the story of Mamma and me."

Favorite Quote:  "We all have so many different selves inside us, like Grace's set of Russian dolls, made of painted wood. You opened one to find another, and another inside that and another, until you discovered the tiniest doll, not much bigger than a seed or a grain of rice ... Who was the Ella in the centre of it all - the Ella that she was when every other self had been opened up and set aside? That, she thought was what she was searching for."

This is a a book about magic - literally and figuratively.

It is the story of three generations of women - Maadar Bozorg, Fabia, and Ella - and of two sisters Selena and Bryony who enter their lives.

Maadar Bozorg is the storyteller and spell weaver in her homeland in Tehran, Iran. Fabia's story and the beginning of Ella's is told in the book The Dress. In that book, Fabia and young Ella come to York, and Fabia opens a shop of vintage clothing. The book is about hints of the the "Old Country;" about Fabia and Ella having the gift to see "the signals" in the world about situations, emotions, and people; and about the secret messages Fabia embeds in the embroidering or sewing the clothes. This book continues their story.

Although a sequel, this book does stand alone. The story and the characters are easily followed without the background of the first book; in fact, it may add to the mystery and magic about them. This book is Ella's story - her mother's dress shop which has now evolved into Ella's bookshop, her marriage, her young daughter Grace, and a new customer - Bryony - to whom Ella's finds herself drawn.

This book is also about Ella's discontent, a feeling that life is somehow off kilter. Is it that she misses her mother? Is that her writing does not seem to progress amidst the demands of family? Is it her husband's beautiful co-worker? Is it the constant denials of "the signals" she sees emanating from other people? Is it that her vision for her life seems clouded?

This is book about all that but not just for Ella. This book is about each of these women finding a path forward for their lives - their own bit of magic, if you will. "When we finally listen to our instincts, when we're able to listen past all the chatter in our hearts, past all the things that other people tell us, all the advice and information, everything we read or learn and everything we think we should be thinking ... right back to what we feel, deep inside our own bodies ... that, my dear, is the strongest magic of all." For each of the women - Fabia, Ella, and Bryony - this discovery takes a different direction. It becomes a choice of where to live. It becomes a choice of career. For all three, it becomes decisions about relationships. A little actual magic helps things along, but what really draws these different stories together is that for each, it becomes about making that decision for themselves.

You might ask. In the middle of all this, who is Miss Mary? Miss Mary is not actually a character in this story. Her book is. Miss Mary is described as a witch who lived centuries ago. She can to an unfortunate end at the hands of the society she lived in. Her wisdom and her spells were left behind in her book - the book of dreams. This is one of those special books that finds its way to a reader who needs it. Snippets of advice from this fictitious book find their way sprinkled throughout the story of these women.

Strong women. A bookshop. A really special book. A little big of magic. A beautiful combination for a sweet, engaging story. Definitely one for the "feel good" pile of stories.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

No comments:

Post a Comment