I had been looking forward to this book coming out in paperback since I read Rachel’s first book “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry”. I was also delighted to find out that the paper back release coincided with Rachel Joyce’s author visit to Mainstreet Trading in St Boswells.
Now I know you are probably fed up with me waxing lyrical about my local bookshop so I thought I would explain a couple of reasons why I love my local bookshop. The first is that when I first moved to St Boswells and the Scottish Borders nearly 14 years ago you were hard pressed to find any shop that sold books other than the national chains. As an avid reader I had to wait till a rare visit to Edinburgh or spend money with a well know on line shop. The second reason is that I live in a relatively small village where with a small selection of shops all fantastic but food orientated. The thought that a bookshop would come to a nearby town did not occur to me never mind that it would actually open up in St Boswells. Even when the rumours started circulating I didn’t believe it until in true doubting Thomas style I saw the evidence for myself. The third reason and perhaps the most important is that Mainstreet Trading is a really great bookshop. It sells books that you don’t see in every national chain in the country so my reading has expanded and been challenged. The staff are always on hand to advise especially if you are looking for new ideas for children. Mainstreet Trading have two book clubs a day time one and the evening one which I attend which again has taken my reading out of it’s comfort style. Finally Mainstreet Trading have a great programme of author events and since it opened my husband and I have attended about 95% of them Rachel Joyce being the latest.
I would have read “Perfect” anyway as I really enjoyed her first book. Often I read a book in advance of an author coming but on this occasion I ran out of time and I am glad I did. As Rachel was such an engaging speaker and really brought her book alive and made you want to go home and read it straight away without actually giving too much away. The book is two stories. One set in 1972 and the other in the present day. You spend much of the book wondering when and if the two stories will collide. As with her first book Rachel Joyce has a gift at bringing characters alive and characters that have flaws and hang ups but ones that before you know it you care about and want it all to work out for them though you know like life this isn’t going to happen. The first story is seen through the eyes of a 11 year old boy and with a 10 year old and a 13 year old in the house that for me was fascinating in itself. The fact that I was a child of the 1970’s also made me think back to my own childhood.
All in all “Perfect” did not disappoint which second novels can. It was very different from her first book but just as compelling the only similarity being her ability to write compelling characters and tell a great yarn. Highly recommended.