Friday 7 December 2018

Mr Doubler Begins Again by Seni Glaister @SeniGlaister @HQstories @SophCalder #Doubler

Not every journey takes you far from home.
Baked, mashed, boiled or fried, Mr Doubler knows his potatoes. But the same can’t be said for people. Since he lost his wife, he’s been on his own at Mirth Farm – and that suits Doubler just fine. Crowds are for other people; the only company he needs are his potato plants and his housekeeper, Mrs Millwood, who visits every day.
So when Mrs Millwood is taken ill, it ruins everything – and Mr Doubler begins to worry that he might have lost his way. But could the kindness of strangers be enough to bring him down from the hill?
Mr Doubler Begins Again is a nostalgic celebration of food, friendship, kindness, and second chances, perfect for fans of Rachel Joyce and Joanna Cannon.

Mr Doubler Begins Again by Seni Glaister is published in hardback by HQ on 24 January 2019. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review.

I have to admit that the past few months have been difficult for me, with bereavements and illness and a general madness surrounding me. I'm often wary of books labelled up as 'up lit', I don't like twee or overly sweet stories but was determined that I needed a story to lift me.

Within the first few pages of Mr Doubler Begins Again I knew I'd found a book to soothe and to heal. I fell completely head over heels in love with Doubler, and have been utterly bewitched by this author's incredible writing.

Mr Doubler lives alone on Mirth Farm. He's an expert potato grower; not the biggest, but he knows he is the best. The biggest potato grower; Mr Peele is desperate to buy Mirth Farm. Peele's land surrounds the farm and he is determined to incorporate it into his empire. Doubler is going nowhere. He is happy and content at Mirth Farm; experimenting with different potato processes and living quietly on his own.

Doubler has two grown up children; Julian and Camilla, who seem to lay all the blame for losing their mother as teenagers at their father's feet. The only person who Doubler regularly chooses to spend time with is his cleaner, Mrs Millwood. Every day they sit down to lunch together. Doubler eats potatoes whilst Mrs Millwood chooses cheese sandwiches and apples. Doubler never hesitates to pour scorn on her food choices, but Mrs Millwood has endless wise words in response.

When Mrs Millwood is taken ill, Doubler begins to realise just how much he depended on her presence, on her advice and her words of wisdom. They speak regularly on the telephone whilst Mrs Millwood receives treatment in the hospital.

Mrs Millwood is possibly one of the most beautifully created characters I've discovered for many years. Seni Glaister gives her some exquisite and perfect narrative, I was totally blown away by her description of marriage;

"I like to imagine our marriage was a little like a hand-knitted blanket. It was a glorious thing to behold, full of intricate pattern and a multitude of colours and so very beautiful to examine in detail. Towards the top, there were a few dropped stitches and a few holes, and maybe the colours weren't quite so bright, and maybe the needlecraft was a bit patchy, but it never unravelled. It still worked as a blanket. It was a lovely thing to look at, and it kept us warm, held us together. And it's so much better to look at the beginning bits and stroke the colours and talk about the love and the joy that went into creating it rather than to focus on the last few rows."

Absolutely beautiful words and this wonderful narrative continues throughout the novel. As Doubler begins to interact with people from the community, and they grow to know him, and he learns more about them, Mrs Millwood is there, on the end of the phone line with her constant stream of support and advice to him.

This is a charming, delightful story with a cast of characters that are so very well developed. Whilst it is most certainly a feel-good story, it is never twee, or sugary sweet. Doubler himself is endearing, Mrs Millwood is the perfect friend and the supporting cast are essential to the story.

Mr Doubler Begins Again is funny and compassionately tender. Highly recommended from me

Seni Glaister worked as a bookseller for much of her career and was the CEO of a book retailer, before founding her own company WeFiFo in 2016.

Her first novel The Museum of Things Left Behind was published in 2015.
Mr Doubler Begins Again is her second novel.

Seni lives on a working farm in West Sussex with her partner and has five children.

Twitter @SeniGlaister

No comments:

Post a Comment