Cover Image: Saving Missy

Saving Missy

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Member Reviews

What a fabulous read! So heart-warming and touching - a cast of characters who seem to be very different but come together to find their commonalities. Highly recommended for a clever, unpredictable but uplifting read!
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Quite enjoyable but not quite in the unputdownable league for me.
Well written and interesting would happily read further works by this author.
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As soon as I found out that it had been compared to Eleanor Oliphant – one of my favourite books ever – I knew that I had to give this a go.

This is a really lovely book full of heartache, sadness but also a lot of happiness. It explores the theme of loneliness in such an effective way which is a relatively common but unspoken issue in society today especially involving elderly people. Saving Missy will really pull on your heart strings. It is very touching throughout. You may need your tissues at certain points.

I did like some of the characters within this, my favourite has to be Angela she is such a fun loving wonderful character. Her antics did make me laugh numerous times. However, I did not like Missy as a character. I know the author intended the reader to feel sorry for her and connect with her but I just couldn’t do it. If I had not been told that she was an 80 year old lady, I would have thought she was a young adult, I do not feel like her character was portrayed in a way that was appropriate to show her age. Maybe that is just me. A lot of reviews that I have read state that Missy is a favourite character so don’t let me put you off. I just found her boring and not a very likeable character. I liked the idea I just could not connect to her in the way that I needed too.

Whilst this is an easy read that you can get through very quickly, Saving Missy took me a while to get through. I just didn’t feel the urge to pick it up and read more. I found that I didn’t really care what happened next. Due to the hype surrounding this book I did continue to read it because I wanted to make sure that I didn’t miss anything … I didn’t. I must say that I did find that once I had picked this book up I kept reading but it was the initial picking up that made it difficult for me.

Saving Missy is compared to Eleanor Oliphant, but for me it doesn’t come close. Eleanor was such a likeable character for me and I loved her character and story. Saving Missy was just okay. I know it is a debut novel which is why I have given it an extra star as I do think I would pick another book by this author and give her another chance. But this one wasn’t for me.
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This a very moving account of an older ladies loneliness and incited feelings of dread at times for what is ahead Really pleasant read, took me by surprise.
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It took me a while to get into this book but in the end I really enjoyed it. There is also a twist at the end but I won’t ruin the surprise!
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An absolutely delightful book about loneliness, friendship, love, family and belonging - and how life can be as full or as empty as you make it. Stay open, a motto often bandied about in yoga classes, is a good philosophy for life. 

Millicent (Missy) Carmichael is nearly 80, living alone, estranged from her daughter and her son and adored grandson live in Australia. She has the air of a grieving widow, often referring to a terrible, mysterious illness that took her husband Leo. She is sad and lonely, rattling around in a large old house in London, passing time. She doesn't have any friends and keeps to herself. But a chance encounter at the park with a young mum and her son, and some dog walkers, set her life going in a very different direction.

Other reviewers have remarked on similarities with Eleanor Oliphant - and while I can see their points, this is a very different kind of character at a different stage of life, with different traumas and problems that have affected her. While like EO it is a comment on the very high hidden levels of loneliness rife in our society, Missy is also a book taking the temperature of London at a very particular moment in time. It is the first novel I've read that has dealt with the events of 2016. For that alone it is worth a read. As Missy mourns her personal losses, I found myself reliving the grief and turmoil of that time. It made me deeply nostalgic for London's streets, cafes, shops and parks. Even though Missy's world was in Stoke Newington, it was the London I lived in and knew (a few miles north!) that I imagined as I read the story. So it was a lovely read in that respect too.

I enjoyed the author's classical and literary references - Missy often flashbacks to her student days at Cambridge and I was thoroughly tickled by the fact she attends the launch party of St Botolph's Review (Sylvia Plath fans, you know this story). 

As we enter Missy's world and she reminisces about the past, we realise how much she has suffered from a lack of unconditional love  - luckily she finds it in Angela, Otis, Denzil, Sylvie and in the dog she was forced to adopt that ends up becoming her best, most loyal friend.

Most of all, what I really appreciated about this novel was a window into the psyches of people similar to Missy that I've known in my life who I simply haven't understood and have taken their strange behaviour towards me very personally. For example, Missy struggles to articulate why she instantly dislikes her son's Australian girlfriend (later wife) but gradually realises that it's because she resents knowing her son loves another woman more than her, and will probably leave the country at some point too. "If he'd married a British girl, this would never have happened," laments Missy. Ah, but we have a feeling Missy would have had a problem with whoever her son married! 

All in all, despite some very sad moments that made me gasp with shock, this is a compelling, heartwarming and moving story, with many twists, and filled with characters that despite their spiky-ness you can't help but root for. Highly recommended for a cosy evening in by the fire.

With thanks to the author, publisher and Netgalley for an ARC.
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This is my favourite book of 2020 so far. Such well-rounded characters, with multiple layers that we discover as the story unfolds, presented with lots of humanity and compassion. 

The main character, Missy Carmichael, is 79 and lonely, having lost her husband and her adult children living their own lives, far away from her. Through a fortuitous event, Missy gets entangled with the local dog walkers community,  allowing new people in her life, gaining friends, the companionship of a dog and even getting a part-time job. Throughout it all, Missy is reminiscing about past evens of her life and with each brushstroke, the author paints a very real life story for Missy and her family. The other secondary characters are also developed in a convincing manner, with good traits but also weaknesses and the same human touch comes strongly all the way in the narrative.

This is a remarkable debut novel from the author, whose next books I very much look forward to reading.

The cherry on top was the fact that I actually purchased the audiobook and Harriet Walter did a wonderful job bringing Missy to life.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of the book in exchange of an honest and impartial review.
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Missy is a grumpy, antisocial old lady whose life is transformed by the kindness of the community. 

The story is told from Missy’s point of view and you slowly learn about Missy’s past and discover the reasons for her behaviour.

This is an easy read and the characters are good. There’s a mix of personalities and you feel you get to know the main characters quite well, I could even picture her little dog. 

For almost half the book I didn’t warm to Missy at all but I ended up really liking her character. She changes from grumpy to funny and vivacious. 

From a chance meeting in the park, Missy ends up making a lot of new friends, gets a dog and learns to live her life again. 

This is a heart warming story but the cynic in me wonders if people would really be so helpful and kind to someone they haven’t known that long. 

I would recommend this and would read more from this author. 

Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins UK for providing me with a copy to review.
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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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