Cover Image: Saving Missy

Saving Missy

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Missy is almost 80 and the story is shared between her present life and looking back at her life. Have to admit I was frequently surprised at how she felt about things and people and she made different choices from ones I might have made but that all went to make it interesting
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Oh how I loved Missy! Beth Morrey’s debut novel “Saving Missy”, is a wonderfully heart-warming tale of overcoming loneliness, forming friendships and accepting the kindness of strangers in a superb ‘coming of old’ story.
The world has changed around Missy Carmichael. At seventy-nine, she's estranged from her daughter, and her son and only grandson live across the world. She spends her days drinking sherry in her big empty house, reliving her past. However, it's her mistakes and secrets that she dwells on the most. The last thing Missy expects is for two perfect strangers and one lively dog to break through her prickly exterior and show her just how much love she still has to give.
It’s impossible not to immediately form a bond with Missy, she’s one of those women who are prickly, unknowingly cause offence and have fierce opinions but are instantly likeable at a first meeting and someone who has so much to give, given the opportunity. Her unlikely friendship with single mother Angela, an Irish plain speaking journalist and her son Otis made for some fabulous scenes. When Missy takes on a dog that needs a temporary home, her hardened shell begins to thaw and she realises so much love can come from having a pet. Taking her into the local park and meeting other dog walkers, she forms new friendships and begins to enjoy her different routines. Missy starts to enjoy her regular walks and suddenly she’s no longer lonely and stuck in a rut.
A deliciously uplifting and heartwarming tale that tugs on all your heartstrings (keep some tissues handy for one particularly emotional scene) and seeing life through new eyes in a near eighty year old woman gives the reader hope that we never need to be alone at any age. 
A beautiful story and a brilliant debut that is already doing well and going down a storm with readers of all ages and I feel privileged to have met and made friends with Missy Carmichael!

5 stars
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When I was reading this book I really loved it and couldn't put it down.  However, oddly, after I'd finished I started to pull it apart slightly in my head.
Some plot spoilers ahead:
I felt that Missy wasn't a particularly likeable character, from my point of view.  When compared with characters such as Ove she was actually initially more likeable but then, because she came from a position or privilege I felt that she came across as a bit whiney.
The burglary was really glossed over for such a major incident.  It was only the trigger for Missy getting the dog, so why not just have a break-in downstairs instead of two men in her bedroom and nearly attacking her, for it to then be almost forgotten.
Some of the more historic family stuff went over my head a bit and I couldn't see the relevance to the storyline.
I also guessed fairly early on about what had happened to Missy's husband.
Having said all of that I did enjoy it whilst reading it, so 3 stars from me.
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Such a lovely book!

I really enjoyed reading this, the way Missy's character developed really had me gripped, I loved all of the characters and wasn't expecting the ending!
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Saving Missy is a painfully real exploration of life; through retrospective memories and the hope to move on, Morrey expresses that there is always a way forwards. 

The story follows Missy Carmichael, a 79 year old living alone in a big, stately house in London. Estranged from her daughter after a fight, and with her adored son living across the world, she finds herself lonely, and quite frankly, broken. 
Chance meetings with a single mum Angela, and bright interior designer Sylvie, however, begins to change things. Along with the (reluctant) addition of a dog, Bobby, Missy begins to find herself again in ways she hadn't contemplated she ever could. Morrey truly brings these characters to life, with distinct and realistically flawed characters. My main take-away of the book was the sense of hope; despite several utterly heart-wrenching events in the book, which Morrey paints so vividly, she also indicates a hope, a way out. 

There were a few aspects that I feel could have been improved upon; the traumatic event for Missy (robbery) was passed over relatively quickly. Realistically, I imagine this would have caused considerable trauma, and affected her much more than it did in the book. Throughout the whole of Saving Missy, I had believed Leo, her husband, to have died - I realised by the end it was an undisclosed illness. It's likely this is Alzheimer's, portrayed heartbreakingly tangibly; Morrey insinuates lots of things in the book, and this was something I didn't pick up on (more my fault than the author's)! I'd also add as a content warning, there is discussion of abortion, suicide (I think?) and a wlw relationship which I'd have preferred to know about beforehand. 

Not typically reading contemporary books, this was a marked - but welcome - change for me. Though I wouldn't consider it a favourite by any means, it was beautifully written and may yet persuade me to pick up more of the genre in future :)

'But know this: we may have sung different songs, and sometimes we were out of tune, but I think we harmonised rather well, in the end. Don't you?'
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What a gorgeous book!  I wasn't sure I would like the character of Missy, who seemed anti-social and bitter but as the story unfolded, her layers unpeeled, revealing a complex, loving and loveable lady who was carrying a burden of secrets. I was totally drawn into the funny, poignant and quirky  world of dog walkers. I was enchanted by the evolving relationship between Missy and Bob, the adorable dog who though initially foisted upon her, ended up unlocking her heart. I loved loud but heart of gold Angela and her son Otis who helped fill the void left in Missy 's life by her own grandson who lives in Australia. Sylvie and her dogs are charming aas are all the group of dogs and owners who take Missy to their hearts. My heart went out to Melanie, Missy' s daughter, who has a fractured relationship with her mum, both of her them crying out for love. I laughed aloud at parts of this delicious book but I also wept buckets! I highly recommend this book and give it 5*
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The protagonist of Beth Morrey’s unexpectedly heart-warming debut is seventy-nine-year-old Millicent (Missy) Carmichael.  Aloof, stubborn and always looking to take offence, she is crippled by loneliness and finds herself turning to the bottle as she contemplates her life in the home where she raised a family.  But with Leo, her husband of over sixty years now gone, her son and grandson having emigrated and and a fractious relationship with her recently estranged daughter, Missy has more than a few regrets.  In the hope of finding something interesting to share in an email with her son Missy ventures out to the park and ends up speaking to two women.  Effusive interior designer Sylvie invites her for coffee along with outspoken and potty-mouthed Angela, a journalist with a four-year-old son called Otis.  Fearful of being seen as a burdensome old biddy, Missy declines but having connected with two locals she is ‘adopted’ and finds her horizons broadening.  Reluctant to be seen as needy but overjoyed to be spending time with Otis, a potential replacement for her own grandson, Missy soon finds herself reluctantly agreeing to look after a dog named Bob.  

Thrust into a world of dog walkers and slowly but surely being won over by mongrel Bob, Missy’s canine companion takes her out the house and is the non-judgemental listener she needs.  Harbouring regrets and pondering words left unsaid, Missy’s small, lonely existence gradually begins to expand and brings with it the unexpected joy of friendship.  Still to confront her argument with daughter Melissa and come to terms with the decisions made in her earlier years it is the support of her new friends that gives Missy the courage to tackle the memories left unconfronted and reach out to Melissa.  Narrated in the first person by Missy its gives the reader direct access to her thoughts and observations.  Alternate chapters see Missy reflecting on her past experiences which gives a real sense of what has shaped her and makes many of her eccentricities understandable.  Having devoted herself to supporting her husband’s career and raising their family it meant Missy put aside her own years of dedicated study and first class Classics degree.

Missy’s first-person reminisces see her in childhood, her student years at Cambridge and inaugural meeting with Leo right through to her struggles in the early years of motherhood.  Missy’s observations are clear-eyed and reveal a far more vulnerable woman than the present day version would lead you to believe.  It is this level of depth and the complete absence of mawkishness that made Saving Missy an uplifting read and whilst the final revelation makes for a bittersweet denouement my overriding memory is one of the power of friendship and optimism.  My main reservation is that throughout the story Missy feels like a character a decade younger than her seventy-nine-years but aside from this the characterisation is superb.  Angela is developed with the same attention to detail as Missy and despite their contrasting personalities I found the bond that they fostered one of the highlights of the novel.  Moreover Missy’s reflections on her past convey a vivid sense of Leo and brings the past alive, making for an involving and life-affirming read.
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<p>This was a really sweet book from the story and the way it was written. The meaning of the story was so heartwarming and I think most people will find a way to relate to the story.</p>
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<p>The main character Missy is in her late 70's and is suffering from loneliness. She misses her friends and is feeling neglected by her family. One day Missy goes to the local park and meets new people which really opens up her world. The book explores both the present day and Missy's past, which I found really helpful as we got a true insight into her whole life. Missy was such a likable character and I found it interesting as it was centered around an elderly lady as most books focus on a younger person.</p>
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<p>I think I was slightly younger than the target age group (I'm 22) but I still really enjoyed it. I think everyone who reads this will be able to take away different things and I think certain things will stick more with different age groups.</p>
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A beautiful, heart warming story about the power of friendship and the gifts it can bring. The story shows you can always get a second chance at life.
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I really enjoyed this book immensely. 
The story of missy, as she slowly begins to reconnect with the world after a massive shift in circumstances is as heartwarming s it is poignant. It is a tale of love, friendship and inner healing. 
I thoroughly recommend this book.
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First-person narrators on the margins of society have dominated contemporary fiction for a while – whether The Girl on the Train, The Woman in the Window or Eleanor Oliphant, prolific readers cannot seem to get enough of these narratives. 79 year-old Millicent Carmichael, Missy for short, joins them from her large, rambling London home that has remained unchanged since her wedding day. The death of her husband and the emigration to Australia have left Missy lonely and suspicious of the people in her neighbourhood. An unfortunate fainting episode in a local park, however, forces Missy to engage with a diverse group of locals who bring colour, excitement and variety into her life. One of the starring roles must go to Bobby, the dog who becomes Missy’s faithful companion. I was initially not too keen on split narrative that alternates between Missy’s childhood and her life as an adult, but as the pages rolled by, a more complex picture emerged of this idiosyncratic protagonist. A novel that touches upon many contemporary topics and also pains a picture of contemporary London that makes you feel you are right there with these characters. Warmly recommended! Thank you to the publishers and to NetGalley for my free ARC in exchange for this honest and unbiased review.
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Grieving for her husband, missing her son and grandson who have moved to Australia and estranged from her daughter, Missy is a lonely old lady. Two women who bump into her one day in the park, befriend her and so begins a journey of discovery as the strangers around her gradually become friends, helped in no small way by a dog she is persuaded to foster.

As the story unfolds, we hear about Missy’s childhood, university days, meeting her husband and the early days of parenthood. 

This was a lovely, well written story which I found easy to read, with characters I enjoyed getting to know.

I received a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I had mixed feelings about this book.  I did find it quite slow, but I sort of got into it more in the second half and the characters seemed to grow on me.  But Missy was quite irritating a lot of the time.

Missy is a 79 year old woman living on her own and very lonely, and broke, but most of it her own doing.  Then she meets outgoing (swears a lot) Angela and her young son in the park, along with another woman Sylvia, much more refined, and they sort of drag her back to life.

The story flips between her life now and her younger life, before and during when she was married to Leo (well known writer/deceased).  She ends up looking after a lovely dog, after a bit of persuasion, which she ends up really taking to but... and this is where it ruined it for me, the dog dies.  Unfortunately I can't read books where dogs/animals die, it just completely ruins it for me, so I ended up skim reading to the end.

So I sort of enjoyed it, although it was very slow.  I think books should have warnings on them, like film ratings, i.e. animals die in this one so don't read it if you don't like that sort of thing!!
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I tried to not read up on this book before I read it. I'd heard people say it was a lovely story etc etc and that's all I needed to know. The story was so tender and emotional, and feel the characters were one of it's many strengths. Such fantastic characters, with Missy, I just wanted to meet her, sit down and chat and the lovely moments she had just melted my heart. 

The friendships that Missy made really stayed with me after I finished this book. You saw people coming together, helping each other, supporting each other and the love felt so true and real. 

Really lovely read, and I will be telling many people to give this a read!
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This book is just what I needed to read during the current lockdown - a feel good novel full of warmth, kindness and the power of humanity. 

Missy is nearly 80 and lives alone. She knows her prickly nature can push people away but does she have the power to change? Her son lives in Australia with her grandson and she is alienated from her other child, daughter Melanie. But when Missy meets Otis and his mother Angela in the park could this be the start of her life turning round? 

A five star read with hidden depths.
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I found this book an easy read but somewhat lacking a clear structure. It jumped about a bit and hinted at future storylines which then took a while to be revealed. 
I liked the characters and thought Missy’s friends that she made were the best part of the book. Some more serious parts of the book were rushed over and could have been explored more deeply. Overall, it was an enjoyable read but nothing spectacular.
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A positive book to start the year. Even though Missy is by her own reckoning, somewhat difficult and prickly, she is cajoled along by the people she meets in her local park. Together they are an unlikely band but each brings company to each other and they never give up on Missy, even when she pushes them away.  I loved the descriptions of her house and the treasures that are found and of her past life with her husband Leo. 
I have 2 cats but by the end of this book, I wanted a dog so I can go and find dog walker friends! 
This book  is so reminiscent of what is happening in the world today and gives the reader hope that everyone can find friends no matter what age they are and that we all need somebody.
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Yet another book along the lines of Eleanor Oliphant. 

Missy is 79 and lonely.  She wouldn't admit to it, but she is.  Her beloved son and Grandson live in Australia.  There is a daughter too - but she's barely mentioned when we first meet Missy.   

Missy has decided to go along to the park on one cold winter day.   The fish in the pond are going to be stunned, then put into another pond, which is going to allow the original pond to be cleaned!   
There are signs all over the park advertising this and as I can well believe, it has caused quite the store with the usual dog walkers and parents with kids, all planning to come and watch!   Missy thinks that this will give her something a little more interesting to put in her email to her son.  

This is where Missy first encounters some of the park regulars who are about to change her life. 

As Missy opened up more to the people around her, I warmed to her.   We learned what events in her past have made her the woman that she is today. What she would change if she could and how once she begins to embrace new experiences, she realises that maybe she has more to give.
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Definitely different to what I assumed the story would be about. It’s has some powerful moments within it too. Was glad I continued to read it.
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Thank you Netgalley for my review copy of this book - much appreciated.

I liked the sound of this book which was why I applied in the competition. However, I was a little disappointed in the first few chapters - I thought I would not be able to finish it. Neverthless, I persevered and I am really happy I did.
This book has been compared to Eleanor Oliphant but I am pushing it out there that this book is better. It gave me more promise than that book and it had more imagination with it's characters.
I found the storyline of an older lady struggling to be on her own very poignant for our time where many older people no longer have a social network to rely on and are often ignored in the larger stores and streets in society. This book gave me hope that people can still be decent and sociable and that inside everyone there is a character that shines.
I will definately be looking out for more Beth Morrey books in the future and recommend this book for a cold autumnal day cuddled up on your sofa with your blanket and your cup of tea. Perfect.
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