Cover Image: Saving Missy

Saving Missy

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Member Reviews

So, a teeny bit confusing here, but by the time the proof for this one arrived with me, it was called Saving Missy, which I think is the title it's now being marketed with. Centring on Missy Carmichael, an elderly lady who is struggling with loneliness. I found this one a little bit too "100 Year Old Man.." levels of out there* but otherwise a fairly uplifting tale about the fact that friendship can spring up just about anywhere. 
(*I think I'm about the only person in the world who found that book irksome, and just struggled a little to believe that this 79 year old lady was likely to be fit and well enough to have done a lot of these things). 
A sweet book and I didn't roll my eyes *too* much at the way things turned out.
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Saving Missy by Beth Morrey is a lovely, comfortable read. From the start, I was immediately engrossed in the life of Missy, eagerly following her life as it changed from being a lonely existence to becoming part of a wide circle of friends. I liked how there was a great and varied bunch of interesting characters to get to know. It was an emotional read at times with past secrets emerging and past differences being resolved. I loved the elements of family history coming into the story from time to time, contrasting life now and life then. I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a feel good read!

My thanks to Netgalley and HarperCollins for the opportunity to read and review the book.
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What a wonderful book - heartbreaking & uplifting in equal measure. I loved the characters human and canine and cared about what was happening to them. An easy read, great for holiday or Lockdown.
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Missy is a 79 year old lady who is set in her ways after losing touch with her family. She reluctantly makes friends with a young mother, Angela and her son Otis and after agreeing to look after her friends dog, Bobby her circle of friends increases.
Her history is slowly revealed as she starts to drop her guard and lets others in and you begin to understand the difficulties she has faced.
This is a slow paced story of a lonely woman coming out of her shell with the help of Bobby the dog.
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I'm not sure why I requested this book, but obviously something in the premise prompted me to do so. It is not my usual genre and even upon re-reading the premise, I'm still at a loss as to why I did.

Missy Carmichael is 78 years old and living alone in the great big house she once shared with her husband Leo and their children Melanie and Alistair. Her children are now grown - with Alistair and her grandson Arthur now living in Australia, and her estranged daughter Melanie about to marry her long time love of some 30 years, Octavia. I could feel Missy's loneliness as it bounced off the empty walls and it was indeed a sad state of affairs. But she was a spiky old woman who was incredibly endearing.

Despite her loneliness, Missy is a very proud woman and refuses to be pitied. So when one morning she collapses at the park and awakes to the smiling face of Sylvie, she bats away the invitation for a coffee...despite secretly longing for the company. When Missy then has a chance encounter at a cafe with the loud and brash Irish woman Angela from the park, she could only sit there and listen to Angela prattle away. Missy took an instant dislike to Angela when she first saw her in the park and she still wasn't particularly fond of her but it gave her something to do. Little did Missy know, these chance encounters would change the course of her life as she knew it.

The most poignant time in Missy's life was also the beginning. It was her 79th birthday, which she sadly celebrated alone. Angela had knocked on her door that evening with a scruffy mongrel named Bob asking if she would take the dog for a while for a friend of hers who is in the transitional stage of leaving her abusive husband and is currently in a refuge, where dogs are not permitted. Missy was affronted that Angela would even suggest such a thing and firmly put her in place. But the following day, Missy made her way over to where Angela had pointed out where she lived in her little flat and she apologised then agreeing to look after Bob.

Missy knew nothing about dogs and had never really liked them but as time went on she soon grew fond of the scruffy beast. And despite firmly telling Bob that she was to remain downstairs on the little rug at night, Missy always woke the next morning to find Bob curled up at the end of her bed, snoring happily. It was endearing and Missy grew to enjoy her warm presence. But Bob? For a female dog? Missy decided to adopt the slightly more feminine variation of Bobby which she thought far more appropriate.

Over the course of this somewhat poignant story, Missy finds friendship where she least expects it - in Sylvie, Angela, Otis and of course Bobby - as well as the many others peppered throughout. As events unfold, we see Missy reminisce over her past and what made her who she is today as she discovers the secrets that make her life worthwhile.

But...the thing I knew would happen, that I spent most of the book hoping beyond hope wouldn't, did...and I bawled like a baby as Missy mourned the love she lost where she least expected to find it. After that, I was so devastated I could only skim to the end. Although I am relieved to say the story did end on a happy note...despite the sadness I am still feeling long after I've put it down.

I still don't know why I requested SAVING MISSY. It is a contemporary/chick lit type of book that I don't generally go for but it is also somewhat heartwarming despite the heartbreaks in between. I really liked the prickly and spiky Missy and her little quips had me chuckling at times. It is an endearing book for those who enjoy these types of stories. And although it is not really my cup of tea, I do not hesitate in recommending it.

I would like to thank >b>#BethMorrey, #NetGalley and #HarperCollinsUK for an ARC of #SavingMissy in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a wonderful emotional rollercoaster of a book. Five huge stars from me! 

The characters all written so well, the story perfectly pieced and full of so much love ❤️ 

I will recommend this over and over.
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Saving Missy by Beth Morrey is one of those books that fills you with joy. It’s like a hot cup of coffee on a rainy morning and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Our protagonist, Missy, is terribly British. She is terribly lonely too and does not believe in second chances, thank you very much. Memories of her life come back to her constantly and her days pass uneventfully until one day she meets two women in a nearby park: Sylvie and her younger friend Angela, single mum to Otis.

Sylvie and Angela take an interest in Missy and they develop a lovely friendship that will make Missy’s life take a turn for the better.

The book is narrated in the first person and it is full of flashbacks in which the reader will learn more about Missy’s younger years: her university days, how she met the man that became her husband and life as a young mum. There’re plenty of things to discover about Missy and the events that made her who she is today.

Heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time, this novel includes a great mix of characters, a believable plot and a very lovely dog named Bobby.

There’s humour and sadness and a sense of community – and lots of cake too.

To be honest, I didn’t expect this to happen but I gave Missy a chance and she filled my days with joy!

For more information about the book you can visit the Amazon page here.
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Saving Missy begins with aching, desolate loneliness, which a reader cannot help but feel is at least partially self-inflicted, as prickly, unhappy Missy trudges painfully through her small and isolated life actively repelling any humans who attempt to reach out to her.

Slowly, slowly, as Missy’s neighbours persist in their overtures and her prickly exterior begins to slowly unfurl, the tone changes. The story becomes warmer and more hopeful, and Missy’s character opens up and blooms into a fully-realised, individual – braver, bolder, still flawed, but willing to connect again, open her heart to others again.

There are mysteries that are deliberately withheld from the reader and teased out through flashbacks, hints and reminiscences as Missy takes us back and forth between her younger years and current older age. What did she say to her daughter that was so unforgivable? What is the dark secret from her youth? These (and more) are built up gradually, layer-on-layer, then sprung on the reader like the drop at the top of a rollercoaster.

Most of the excitement and suspense here lies not in the action – the story chronicles a relatively uneventful year in the life of one “old lady”. The investment is in the characters: how they develop, how they relate to each other and their interactions, big and small. Sylvie, Angela and Otis, and Bobby and the other side characters are all wonderfully realised, believable and engaging, and I came to care about every one of them by the end of the book.

This is a heartbreakingly sad story about human isolation and loneliness, guilt and bereavement, but it is also a heartwarmingly touching story about kindness, forgiveness and second chances at life. Definitely recommended for anyone looking for an entertaining, emotional read.

The magic doesn’t stop the worst happening. The worst happens all the time, every day. And then life goes on. And you just hang on and hope that you can keep whatever crumbs and tiny white teeth are left.

– Beth Morrey, Saving Missy

Review by Steph Warren of Bookshine and Readbows blog
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I was sent a copy of Saving Missy by Beth Morrey to read and review by NetGalley.
I was enjoying this novel when I started reading it but then I’m afraid I started to get slightly irritated. It seemed to become rather predictive with the protagonist Missy always being so morose and down on herself, then there would be the use of the odd strange archaic word – presumably to link into the fact that she was an academic – and I couldn’t shake off the feeling that this was all that there was going to be. However, that said, it did perk up and the author threw in a few curved balls which keep me reading and I did enjoy the book as a whole. It is well written with an engaging cast and by the end had me me seriously considering getting myself a dog!
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Millicent Carmichael lives on her own in a large house in North London.  Her beloved grandson lives in Australia and she is estranged from her daughter.  Millicent is lonely and struggling.  On one of her neighbourhood walks, she gets talking to a couple of locals and slowly she is drawn into their circle.  Then when Millicent is asked to foster a dog she morphs into Missy, the fierce and independent woman she used to be.
Whilst this is very much a gently fictional tale there is lots to love about this book - the quirky characters, the underlying politics and the sense of regret and a life half-lived.  I found myself drawn into the story which stretches credulity but is a very heartwarming tale for a winter evening.  It's not great fiction but there is a sense of a writer who knows what she wants to accomplish and who goes about it in a clever way designed to appeal to the masses.
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Who wouldn't love this book!?  The characters make you feel you are part of their lives, you experience their highs and lows just as you would in your own lives with the hope that the ending would turn out well for them, after all a fairy tale always does doesn't it? This is a fabulous book, humorous, poignant and a true reflection of modern life.  A great read - highly recommended.
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It was ok.  There was nothing particularly amazing or particularly rubbish about the book. Missy was an interesting character and I really enjoyed the theme of having your tribe around you and not realizing who they are until you really need them but it just seemed slow.  I was happy to finish it but there was nothing to make me desperate to pick up the book. 

It is an interesting read with a little twist at the end but I remarked to a colleague I was 92% of the way through the book and still waiting for something to happen.  It almost felt like an article about someone’s life.  Interesting but not unputdownable !
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This is a very gently, slow moving, well written book.  The first half is quite slow as the characters are introduced and we learn about Missy, but the more I came to know Missy, the more I fell in love with her.  I found Angela a little distasteful in the first half of the book with all her swearing and political ranting, but even she grew on me towards the end.  

It’s a moving insight into the world of an elderly person living alone with her family living miles away and it was so charming to see Missy blossoming in the company of her new friends and the acts of kindness at the end were heartwarming.  A lovely debut novel by Beth Morrey.
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A beautiful book that made me laugh, cry and sucked me right in. Missy is a lonely old lady until the most wonderful friendships come into her life. We learn a little about her early life and marriage and in the end Missy felt like an old friend. This is a book I’ll read again. Truly beautiful.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for the ARC in return for an honest and unbiased opinion.
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Missy Carmichael, 79, lives in London, alone. Her husband is dead and her children have left home, her son moving to Australia. Her daughter doesn't live far away but after a huge argument they don't get in touch too often. She realises that she's lonely but she doesn't know if she wants to change it. One day, she heads to a park nearby and meets Sylvie and Angela with her little son Otis - after this meeting her life is going to change, she's going to have friends and a reason to leave the house. Well, even one reason more as she agrees to look after a dog.

The author took her time to let us completely into Missy's life. It made the book a bit dragging on and slow - burning, however the writing style is beautiful and so nice to read. Missy's past is not as straight - forward as we could think at first, and in the end you find yourself rooting for her. We are slowly shown all the parts that has shaped Missy, made her the person she is now, and at 79 she has really a lot of stories to tell, and not all of them are as you'd think her life has used to be.
Angela was a brilliant character, open and honest, taking no prisoners, and I think Missy simply needed someone like this in her life. I loved their banter and I loved how Angela was around Missy, she really knew which buttons she should push to pull Missy out of her comfort zones. We get to know Missy teetering on the edge of depression and thanks to the friendship we see her, albeit a bit reluctantly, blossoming and giving her life a second chance.

There were things and events that made me feel a bit uncomfortable and I could live without them, for example this what happened with the dog - I still think it was unnecessary, and yes, I think I get what the author has tried to accomplish here, touching upon domestic abuse, and one of the scenes was absolutely hilarious, but it also felt like an after - thought to me.

It was a moving and incredibly uplifting story at the same time. Even though it dealt with some heavier issues I wouldn't call it devastatingly sad - because, for me, there was this lovely, overwhelming feeling of hope shining through the pages. It is a great debut novel, very promising, and I'd love to see more from the author in the future. Recommended!
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What a lovely read. I wasn't expecting to be so hooked on this, but it drew me in from the start. Missy, or Millicent Carmichael is in her late seventies, living alone in a rambling old house in London. She has spent her life bringing up her family, in the shadow of her academic, author and large personality of a husband, Leo. Missy is lonely, but is drawn to the local park to an event where she meets single mum Angela, her 4 year old Otis, and Sylvie who knows everyone in the area. Missy is gradually drawn into their circle and out of her shell. It is wonderful to see her blooming and becoming her own person for the first time in her life. We know she is hiding what is behind a fight with her daughter a year previously, and look forward to what will emerge. I was shocked to find the final secret, but what a tale of friendship and of how it's never too late. #netgalley #savingmissy
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What a beautiful book! This reminds me of A Man Called Ove. We initially meet Missy, a prim and rather uptight lady who’s life is changed for the better by meeting a new group of friends in the local park. There’s a whole rollercoaster of emotions we do through with them and we are left with a feeling of calm and peace. I would encourage everyone to read this book.
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Heartwarming, honest, real and beautiful. I can think of so many lovely words to describe not only this story but Beth Morrey's writing however these four stand out most of all. 

Yes this is a love story but not in the traditional sense. Whilst we learn about Missy and Leo's love over a sixty year span the love story that develops is of a different variety, which I found quite refreshing. The last chapters were particularly emotional but in an amazing way. 

There were so many loveable characters in this book but a few stood out more than others. Sylvie was the fairy god mother. Anytime time there was a dilemma or someone in need there she was with her magic wand to save the day. I felt that she was the anchor to Missy's happiness and I think everyone could do with a friend like that. I also loved Angela and her candid ways. You could always rely on her to call a spade a spade but there were some softer moments to her personality which made her more likeable. 

By far my favourite character was Bobby! She was always there when Missy needed her and brought the softer side out. During the final chapters I was holding back the tears (and failing miserably) at the bond they both shared.  

I have often said that people should make more time for the older generation, they have endless stories about their life. Some stories are more interesting than others and some you have probably heard a million times but these stories shaped that person and in the case of family they can sometimes shape you. I remember listening to my nan talk about her life during the war and it was fascinating, what I would give to listen to one more story. 

The same can be said for community. Missy's life changed the minute she opened up to strangers and put herself out there. By getting involved she made friends, became happier and evolved as a person. I'm a firm believe that you only get out of life what you put into it, sitting at home is going to get you no where. 

I am so pleased that I was contacted to read this book and whilst I have an ARC version already I feel that this is a book that needs to sit proudly on my bookcase so I shall be purchasing a physical copy too. Beth Morrey has won me over with her writing, her story and this is a great debut novel. Thank you Beth, you've opened up the writing beast within me and inspired me to take a look at my nan's unfinished book. 

I can not wait to see what you write next!
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Thank you to HarperCollins and Beth Morrey for a gifted digital copy via NetGalley - my thoughts are my own.

This is already one of my favourite books of 2020 and I have been busy recommending it. The story starts slowly as we meet Missy and find out how small her world has become. Beth Morrey has created a wonderful ensemble cast (human and canine), who work together to help Missy find friendship, family and hope.

As a dog rescuer (we adopted Jake over 18 months ago), I loved the relationship developing between Missy and Bobby, and the interaction with the other dog walkers.

In a world where we spend more time with our online 'friends' than our real friends, this is a reminder that humans need social interaction and to belong to a community, and that loneliness is a big issue. My father-in-law always had a dog and they kept him going, giving him a reason to get up and to go out.

A stunning debut novel which should be enjoyed with a dog curled up in your lap
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I started Saving Missy with no absolutely no expectations and I am delighted to be able to report that I  enjoyed it so much! Millicent (Missy) Carmichael is about to turn eighty, and is feeling very isolated and depressed. She is grieving for her departed husband and misses the various members of her family with whom she has little contact for a myriad of reasons. In this fabulously written début, Missy is about to discover that in order to make friends, she just needs to be herself and allow other people to get to know her.

Through a series of events and fortuitous circumstances, Missy gradually releases some of her inhibitions, reservedness and self-restraint. She meets a cross-section of interesting people including the spirited Angela and her young son Otis, as well as designer and dog-walker Sylvie Riche.

Initiated by conversations with her new acquaintances and items from her attic, memories from Missy’s childhood are revived. These reminiscences include her first rendezvous with her late husband, Leonard Carmichael, and consequential incidents during their long marriage, so the reader learns how Missy Carmichael arrived at this juncture in her life. Also revealed are Missy’s long-held secrets, her regrets, and happenings that caused her feelings of guilt.

Saving Missy is a début, magnificently told by Beth Morrey, about friendship, being open to new experiences, and entering uncharted waters, that warms the cockles of the heart. I confidently recommend this lovely, bittersweet story.

I received a complimentary copy of this novel from HarperCollins Publishers via NetGalley at my request, and this review is my own unbiased opinion.
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