Small Pleasures

By Megan Thomas

What an apt name for such a lovely little piece of historical escapism. Small Pleasures is equal parts beautiful, tragic, reflective and engaging.

The story follows Jean, a journalist for the Kent Echo in 1957 who is surprised one day to receive a letter from someone claiming to have experienced a virgin birth. Intrigued, Jean agrees to meet Gretchen, her “miracle” daughter Margaret and faithful husband Howard, unaware that all their lives are about to change forever.

A fascinating and compelling plot rooted loosely in historical events, this book is about so much more than what it’s *about*. Jean, charged with looking after her elderly mother and harbouring secret traumas, would never describe herself as an adventurous person and lives by the routines, interspersed with small pleasures, that ensure she has the most pain-free walk through life. Perhaps by choice, or upbringing, or her circumstance and duty to her mother. Probably by all in some way.

It is so cleverly written; Chambers’ eye for detail is striking – so much so that you might think she grew up in the era she’s writing about, which she is definitely too young to have done. The introspective always runs parallel to the element of the hunt for a miracle and through this, pulsating life emerges from the pages.

I really loved this book.

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