Small Pleasures

Small Pleasures

by

, a-fiction, 2020-release, 1950s, modern-lit, womens-prize-nominee, 2021-fave-fiction-reads, 2021-womens-prize-longlist, netgalley-arcs, women-s-prize-nominee, netgalley, contemporary, 2020-reading-challenge, read-2020, Fiction, Historical, Romance, LGBT, Contemporary, Literary Fiction, Mystery, Adult, Audiobook

1957, south-east suburbs of London.
Jean Swinney is a feature writer on a local paper, disappointed in love and — on the brink of forty — living a limited existence with her truculent mother: a small life from which there is no likelihood of escape.

When a young Swiss woman, Gretchen Tilbury, contacts the paper to claim that her daughter is the result of a virgin birth, it is down to Jean to discover whether she is a miracle or a fraud. But the more Jean investigates, the more her life becomes strangely (and not unpleasantly) intertwined with that of the Tilburys: Gretchen is now a friend, and her quirky and charming daughter Margaret a sort of surrogate child. And Jean doesn't mean to fall in love with Gretchen's husband, Howard, but Howard surprises her with his dry wit, his intelligence and his kindness — and when she does fall, she falls hard.

But he is married, and to her friend — who is also the subject of the story she is researching for the newspaper, a story that increasingly seems to be causing dark ripples across all their lives. And yet Jean cannot bring herself to discard the chance of finally having a taste of happiness...

But there will be a price to pay, and it will be unbearable.

Title:Small Pleasures
Edition Language:English
ISBN:9781474613880
Format Type:

    Small Pleasures Reviews

  • Lotte

    Ahh, this would've easily been a 5-star-read if it hadn't been for the ending. ...

  • Blair

    Set in 1957, Small Pleasures tells the story of Jean, who works at a local newspaper – the North Kent Echo – as 'features editor, columnist, dogsbody and the only woman at the table'. She receives...

  • Eric Anderson

    If you hate the ending of a novel after really enjoying the majority of the story is it still a successful reading experience? It's a tricky question and one I've been left pondering after finishing ...

  • Claire Fuller

    Not my usual kind of fiction, but I enjoyed it. I liked the period details (it's set in 1957), and the fine observations of suburban life. It was a real comfort read: a mystery, a love affair, and a b...

  • Hugh

    Longlisted for the Women's Prize 2021This is the third of the seven books I decided to read following the announcement of the Women's Prize longlist, and the most enjoyable of the three. Its setting i...

  • Jessie Lewis

    The writing in this book is measured, delivering a feeling of meandering prosaicness that evokes the lives depicted within, and is therefore very effective. The language is clever without being preten...

  • Peter Boyle

    Jean Swinney lives quite an uncomplicated life. It's the 1950s and she works as a journalist on the North Kent Echo, writing a weekly column that provides household tips. Now in her late thirties, she...

  • Anne

    It is many many years since I last read a novel by Clare Chambers, it's a long time since she published a book, and as soon as this arrived, I felt a surge of excitement. I love her writing, I think s...

  • Carolyn

    I came to the end of Small Pleasures, read the afterword, and by the acknowledgments I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes. Set in the 50s, Small Pleasures is about Jean, a 40-year-old journa...

  • Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer

    She tried to remember what life was like before she had met the Tilburys just six months ago. The days had passed without great peaks and troughs of emotion; her job and the domestic rituals that w...