A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman
Published by Tinder Press
31st December 2015
Marvellous Ways is eighty-nine years old and has lived alone in a remote Cornish creek for nearly all her life. Lately she's taken to spending her days sitting on a mooring stone by the river with a telescope. She's waiting for something - she's not sure what, but she'll know it when she sees it.
Drake is a young soldier left reeling by the Second World War. When his promise to fulfil a dying man's last wish sees him wash up in Marvellous' creek, broken in body and spirit, the old woman comes to his aid.
A Year of Marvellous Ways is a glorious, life-affirming story about the magic in everyday life and the pull of the sea, the healing powers of storytelling and sloe gin, love and death and how we carry on when grief comes snapping at our heels.
This is Sarah Winman’s second novel, following on from her much rated best-seller When God was a Rabbit and as you might expect, this one is also full of magic and mystery. Our central character is called Marvellous, and in many ways she is - as a character in a book, I absolutely adored her and her way of life. She is a totally unique individual who I’m not sure that many people truly understand, but she is a character that I would really like to meet in real life, should she actually exist!
Marvellous lives by the sea, in fact, she is half mermaid and she’s had many an adventure over her eighty nine years. She meets Drake who is on a quest of his own. Whilst serving in France during the Second World War, he came across a dying comrade who asked him, as a final request, if he would deliver a letter to his father. Years later, Drake is about to fulfil his promise to that young man. On his way he meets Marvellous, but it isn’t coincidence that their paths cross, but fate, for Marvellous is a woman whose path crosses yours when you most need her to.
Sarah Winman weaves the fantastic with the ordinary within her writing, and a whole array of other characters appear throughout the book. My only negative is that I wasn’t overly fulfilled by the ending which didn’t quite live up to the passion and drama of the rest of the book, in my opinion. In fact, I read the ending twice as I didn’t actually remember finishing the book the first time around! But don’t let this distract you from what is otherwise a lovely story.
Miss Chapter x