Keeping Time by Stacey McGlynn
When I read the description of a book I think I might like to read in a publishers catalogue by an unknown author I don’t know if I will be in for a book worth reading or not. But he discovery of a terrific first novel is one of my greatest delights as a bookseller so I’m more than willing to give them a try. A first novel I read recently is Keeping Time by Stacey McGlynn.
Keeping Time is a novel I will say that I recommend with some reservations – the writing is uneven – the writer is apparently a screenwriter and it shows – as this novel is often simply a description of a scene when it could be so much more. What does make it worth reading is that the story itself is compelling and the characters are so likeable that you want to find out what happens – from beginning to end.
The story is simple – a wartime love affair between an English woman, Daisy, and an American soldier, Michael, and her search for him in her old age. Daisy has relatives in America, people she doesn’t know at all, but still family. She invites herself to stay and begins what will turn out to be a great adventure.
The American relatives are a cousin, Ann, who wants nothing to do with Daisy, and a second cousin, Elizabeth, a busy professional woman and mother of five sons. Elizabeth welcomes Daisy and as time passes Daisy very much becomes part of the family. Daisy has raised sons herself, Dennis married to a demanding younger woman is pestering Daisy to sell her home and move into a retirement residence, something Daisy has no desire to do. The other son, Lenny, has been a bit of a lad and has only now, in middle age, met a woman who might just be the one to make him happy and settle down.
The novel was inspired by the visit of the author’s own English relative, who must have been a wise and lovely woman. As Daisy says, “I think as you get older you become more of who you always were. You become a more concentrated version of yourself. You really learn who you are, why you're unique, who you've always been … what remains is your core, your essence, the real 'you,' and you realize you're still you without what you've lost as long as you still have all your marbles--or most of them anyway.”
This is a sort of snowy day on the sofa kind of book – with a good cup of tea or two, and some chocolate biscuits, it is an entertaining, feel good chick lit novel. You won’t mind the lack of literary skill because you’ll find yourself so thoroughly enjoying your time with Daisy and her family.
Keeping Time would make a great film – I bet it’s in the works.