“It was Woman’s Hour who suggested I keep a diary. They said it was good for mental health, and I must say I did feel much less frazzled after writing everything down yesterday. The frustrations were all still there, but somehow smoothed out – as if by a really good steam iron.”
Mrs Narwhal is overwhelmed. Her husband, Hugh, is unkind and unhappy – working every hour at a job he hates to save the ancestral home he never wanted. Then there’s Hugh’s sister, Rose, who’s spurned her one true love, and ricochets from crisis to crisis; and not to mention two small boys to bring up safely in a house that could crumble around their ears at any moment…
When Hugh’s pride receives a fatal blow, and he walks out, Mrs Narwhal is plunged into a crisis of both heart and home. With help from Rose she sets out to save the house her husband couldn’t. But can she save her marriage? And does she really want Hugh back?
Funny, charming, and moving, Mrs Narwhal’s Diary is an irresistible story which will enchant and delight its readers.
When a person decides to keep a diary the reasons can be many, but for most it’s a place to write inner feelings, and events of the day and this was the case for Mrs Narwhal.
The opening entry was droll, the ringing of a bell to signify the death anniversary of her husbands father, the family, disparate, unhappy. It was Norbury’s opportunity to set the scene to lay out the characters before the reader. Hugh, the husband, dull, the weight of the world on his shoulders, Rose the sister, colourful, flighty, the young sons desperate for escape and adventure, innocent onlookers to a broken family.
Broken? An inherited house full of history, the family seat that fell in ruins around them, a garden that could never be tamed and a tree house that screamed health and safety at you. All of this with dire financial issues, Mrs Narwhal the glue that appeared to hold it all together.
I loved that she was strong, determined, honest to herself, fully aware her marriage may not survive, Hugh lost to her, as she waded through a treacle like life. The catalyst when it came felt like a relief, the shackles released, Rose, invigorated, given a sense of purpose as Norbury sent them on a meandering path to rescue not only a house but a family.
It was never dark or full of utter despair, the diary was laced with humour, with appalling country characters full of snobbish self worth and entitlement. You grinned as Mrs Narwhal navigated dinner parties on her own, dealt with a love sick Rose and watched as her boys ran riot.
Norbury did give us a serious side in the shape of Hugh, the inability to cope with expectation, responsibility, suffocated by a house that fell around his eyes. Escape may have seemed cowardly but you did wonder what would have happened if he had stayed. I may have felt frustrated with him at first but as Norbury dug deeper you felt empathy, anger at his parents and admired the poignancy Norbury injected within the narrative.
I did want a happy ending, my investment in the characters demanded it as I fell in love with the chaotic, mad but utterly beguiling world of the Narwhal’s. Obviously it is not for me to reveal but for you to discover.
I would like to thank Louise Walters Books for a copy of Mrs Narwhal’s Diary to read and review and to Damp Pebbles Tours for inviting My Bookish Blogspot to participate in the blogtour.
About the author
S J Norbury lives in Herefordshire with her family. Mrs Narwhal’s Diary is her first novel.
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3aDOjKw
Book Depository: https://bit.ly/3xscUMc