Cover Image: Needlemouse


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Member Reviews

I really liked this, especially the references to hedgehogs throughout.

It was well written and almost comforting in a way - great characters that I really bought in to.
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Thanks to NetGalley for an advance chance to read this pre-publication date. An ideal summer holiday read....I enjoyed it.
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Sylvia Penton is a loner - she lives alone, dedicated to her job, she immerses herself at weekends in her work at a hedgehog sanctuary - much like her hedgehogs she hibernates in her own world. Her secret, however, is her love for Professor Lomax - her employer and a married man - a love that is, perhaps, an infatuation. People, in fact, think Sylvia to be much nicer than she is. This is an enjoyable, rather compulsive read. It's difficult to really like the protagonist. Somehow, however, you may end up hoping for the very best for her nonetheless. There is little doubt that Sylvia is lonely and your eqmpathy may grow. Engaging, refreshing and an altogether different read which is difficult to put down. Recommended.
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I’m glad I continued reading this book. Initially I thought the heroine, Sylvia, was portrayed two dimensionally, but as the author filled in the back story, the character became more believable. Jane O’Connor has some astute observations on the effects of circumstantial stress & the dreams that can disturb the night.
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When I first started this book I thought it was going to be too slow and I would have to give up on it, how wrong I was. Once I got to know the characters I really empathized with them. We have all loved someone who hasn't reciprocated our feelings. We have all done crazy things in the name of love- although travelling to Italy to spy is a bit extreme. As someone who is estranged from my sister I could relate to the main character and her loneliness. All the way through I was wondering why the book was called Needlemouse but this was answered before the end. A lovely book to while away a few evenings with.
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This book is charming! Sylvia is a hilariously flawed character that any reader is likely to come to love quicker than they could anticipate. If you like The Rosie Project or Eleanor Oliphant you'll love this!
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I enjoyed reading this charming story. I found it to be heartwarming and really well written. Looking forward to more from this author.
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I really enjoyed this novel, although I had some initial reservations about the main character Sylvia. She is a middle aged single woman who has been secretly in love with her employer, the ‘Prof’ for years. 

Sylvia is a person who has built many prickly barriers up around her and lives a lonely life. She volunteers at a local hedgehog sanctuary and learns that the ‘Prof’ is really not all he seems and is not the one for her. 

By the end of the book, I was really rooting for Sylvia as I discovered the reasons why she acted the way she did. The ending was really heartwarming and Sylvia learned to love herself and break down those prickly barriers.
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I raced through this book, from  the first page I was hooked. 
Now I tell everyone about it, that’s how much I truly enjoyed it!
Roll on pub date 27th June.  A delightful heart-warming read that I highly recommend.
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The title of this book does not do justice to the story that is told.. 
At first I didn’t like the Sylvia, the main protagonist, but as her story is revealed and her carefully, created world unravels my sympathy for her grew.
It is disappointing that the ending is predictable but hey –most people like an ending with no loose ends.
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52 year old Sylvia has led a relatively quiet life, never married and has no children. She helps out at a Hedgehog sanctuary run by Jonas an elderly retired teacher from his back garden.  He carries on with the help of Sylvia but most other volunteers tend to come and go and Jonas pays most of the vets bills himself as donations are limited apart from the odd bequest.  Even Sylvia isn’t that dedicated to the rescue of Hedgehogs and does it more to fill her spare time and for the companionship she shares with Jonas, now a widower.

At the beginning of the book Sylvia comes across as a very brusque and off-hand kind of a person, someone who is fond of her own company and likes to keep herself to herself.  However as the book moves on, more of Sylvia’s past is slowly revealed and the reader begins to realise that much of Sylvia’s aloofness stems from a desire to protect herself from hurt.

She works as a Personal Assistant to Professor Carl Lomax or ‘Prof’ as Sylvia fondly refers to him. She’s worked at the University for 15 years and has spent most of that time living in hope that one day Prof might leave his wife, notice Sylvia and dreams of living a happily ever after romance with the man she has idolised and looked after for so long.  However unrequited love can be a lonely and often frustrating path but Sylvia hangs on and looks forward to her monthly lunch out with the professor and the one day a year when he takes her out for her birthday.  When the new PhD student Lola, thirty something single mum turns up for her frequent meetings with the Professor, Sylvia feels threatened and sets out to both protect the Professor and her own love interest too, with less than favourable results.

This is a gentle and humorous story and yet quite moving in some parts. Sylvia leads quite a self imposed isolated life.  She sees her sister regularly, kind of tolerates her teenage niece Crystal and has the company of Jonas at the Hedgehog sanctuary when she drops in to help out.  But that is her life and her loneliness tends to seep through the pages at times as she wonders where her life has disappeared to.

The chapters are based loosely in a kind of dated journal format.  With each passing season, there is a short passage that tells us a little tidbit of information on Hedgehogs.  I liked this extra information that was included. I like the inferred analogy between a hedgehog and Sylvia, prickly on the outside but only to offer protection of their soft and vulnerable underbelly.

Just as Sylvia can be a force to be reckoned with and at times you wonder if she’s beginning to lose the plot, you can’t help but feel empathy for her and the situations she gets herself into.  The other supporting characters in the book all added to the story but my favourite had to be Jonas for his kindness and his calm, philosophical outlook on life.

I really enjoyed this book, would definitely recommend it and hope there will be further books by this author.
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Spinster's story of obsession, vindictiveness and atonement.

Eleanor Oliphant. The Cactus. Needlemouse. Three books on a theme I am very much enjoying lately. Sylvia is such a vivid creation - now middle-aged, she's spent her child-bearing years as personal assistant to a university professor, professionally an ideal aide, personally a women keeping herself looking impeccable for the man she adores. 
"This i s my favourite part of the day, when we spend ten, or maybe even fifteen, minutes going through his diary..."

Having little life away from his office, she volunteers at a hedgehog shelter to have something philanthropic to give her more likeability. 

Looking back on her faded youth, mistakes she's made, the time she's spent on her Professor, her jealousy and hackles are raised when a mature PhD student begins to spend more time with her Professor Lomax. As Sylvia determines to keep her beloved to herself, her dream of a fairy tale ending begins to tear.

We gradually see Sylvia's past, her relationship with her sister, the hedgehog work that she does to "make people think I'm a nicer person than I actually am", and despite the fact that she really shouldn't be likeable, her delusions and unfulfilled desires make her at least a little sympathetic.

I just adored following the path with Sylvia, from the inevitable lows and 'wake up' moments, to her moments of realisation and connection. What thirty/forty-something cannot identify with the feeling of ageing and being surpassed? "It was about a disturbing new feeling of being left behind and past my prime. A new younger generation of women seemed to be... rising up from the ranks of their career-driven mid-twenties..."

There are some truly heartfelt revelations and moments, some pain evident on Sylvia's part, beneath her prickles she is vulnerable. She does some really awful things, but likewise doesn't seem to realise that she is also capable of some compassionate and kind acts.

If you were an 'Eleanor' fan, this will most likely also be your cup of tea. I loved it, I loved Sylvia, I want to see a film version for a talented mature actress. 

Obsession in love, being blind to reality - something all of us have surely at one time or another felt to some degree. The secrets of family, the need to connect with someone... all the most human of experiences.

With thanks to Netgalley for providing a sample reading copy.
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I really enjoyed this debut. I did not take to Sylvia at first but she grew on me. I almost could not believe her infatuation with her boss - despite all the evidence but I was more convinced by her development once forced to confront her life as it was. The exploration of secrets within families and the healing provided by nature and friendship were well written.

I loved the hedgehog theme and the way they mirrored Sylvia.

A lovely read with a positive outcome.
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What a wonderful story, this has so much crammed into it but it all flows so wonderful. I loved how the name of the book came about and the information about hedgehogs. 
The character of Sylvia is so strong but you get to see the the thoughts and feelings through the brilliant writing. I had to keep reading this as it really hooks you in from a lovely family way because you end up wanting them all to be happy. 
I really loved this so a big five stars from me.
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This book will be a hit with fans of Eleanor Oliphant. I did find it a bit hard to get going, but overall enjoyed it.
I also learnt quite a bit about hedgehogs!
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Completely unexpected plot. Very enjoyable read, if difficult in places. I like that the story was told wholly from Sylvia's perspective, that way, we are able to see her grow and change without judging her through the eyes of other characters. The ability of the author to portray so many characters as having flaws, as well as strengths, was so refreshing. In that way, every character felt whole and not just a pawn to tell a story. Would absolutely recommend.
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This is an exquisite and very lovely book. It tells the story of Slylvia and her shut of, defensive life opening up through catastrophic events to a more positive future. It is compellingly told and gradually reveals layers of Sylvia's character as the story progresses. I loved the book and it has been one of my favourite reads of 2019. The interlinking of the story of the hedgehogs and their need for sanctuary is beautifully handled too. I would recommend Needlemouse very heartily to everyone. Great work!
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I wasn’t sure what to make of #Needlemouse when I started the book. It was well written, but the main character was not at all likeable and I was frustrated with her infatuation with her boss and wish to control those around her (and him.)  
I am really pleased that I persisted with the book however, as it was warm, engaging and had unexpected substance. 
And I learned a lot about hedgehogs, which is a very good thing. 
Thank you to #NetGalley the author and the publishers for the opportunity to read #Needlemouse
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I'm loving the new genre of' 'uplit' as this type of book has been classified as. In the same vein as Eleanor Olifant is Completely Fine, Needlemouse is about a woman who doesn't fit into the modern world completely.
Our protagonist, Sylvia works as a PA to a university professor with whom she's in love but unreciprocated by the man himself. He takes her out for lunch sometimes and buys her birthday presents and they once had a drunken snog at an office Christmas party. Sylvia takes this to mean she's in love. She also has a secret which she's kept for many years about another man.
When she's not working she helps out at a hedgehog sanctuary run by an elderly widower.
I raced through this book in a day. It was beautifully written, very poignant in parts and sometimes a bit cringeworthy because of Sylvia's behaviour.
Really readable, thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read it.
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My initial reaction to this was how much Sylvia (the main character and the person from who’s perspective the story is told) reminded me of Eleanor Oliphant with her way of viewing others as an annoyance rather than appreciating others find her to be the strange one. Prickly is definately an apt description and she’s not written to be liked. Her peculiar obsession with her boss and her delusions about him leave you pitying her and the contrasting warmth of Millie, her sister, only highlight her brittleness. I was unsure of how much I was enjoying this until Sylvia’s life started to unravel and from then on I was engrossed, the reasons behind her personality come to life and both the reader’s and Sylvia’s understanding of her alter perceptions. This is a heartwarming story, really well written and in my opinion would be a great book club read. 

PS I love the explaination of ‘Needle Mouse’
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