The Love Story of Missy Carmichael

The Love Story of Missy Carmichael by Beth Morrey

Published: April 7, 2020 – G.P. Putnam’s Sons

E-galley courtesy of the publisher and NetGalley

Description: The world has changed around seventy-nine-year-old librarian Millicent Carmichael, aka Missy. Though quick to admit that she often found her roles as a housewife and mother less than satisfying, Missy once led a bustling life driven by two children, an accomplished and celebrated husband, and a Classics degree from Cambridge. Now her husband is gone, her daughter is estranged after a shattering argument, and her son has moved to his wife’s native Australia, taking Missy’s beloved only grandchild half-a-world away. She spends her days sipping sherry, avoiding people, and rattling around in her oversized, under-decorated house waiting for…what exactly?

The last thing Missy expects is for two perfect strangers and one spirited dog named Bob to break through her prickly exterior and show Missy just how much love she still has to give. In short order, Missy finds herself in the jarring embrace of an eclectic community that simply won’t take no for an answer–including a rambunctious mutt-on-loan whose unconditional love gives Missy a reason to re-enter the world one muddy paw print at a time.

Filled with wry laughter and deep insights, The Love Story of Missy Carmichael is a coming-of-old story that shows us it’s never too late to forgive yourself and, just as important, it’s never too late to love. (publisher)

My take:  This is the story of Missy, a seventy-nine-year-old woman who until this point seems to have let life happen to her. It’s the story of the family she is related to and the unrelated people who welcome her into their fold and, against her better instincts, she decides to accept. I wouldn’t describe Missy as curmudgeonly but more as overly-cautious. Slowly the author revealed exactly how much Missy had on her plate, what she tended to, and what she ignored. For me it was a very slow reveal but I found the pay-off in the last parts of the novel. I loved Missy’s ‘adopted’ family of characters and, above all, I loved Bob the dog. Ultimately this is a heartfelt and uplifting story that I very much enjoyed.

About the author:

Beth Morrey‘s work has been published in the Cambridge and Oxford May Anthologies and shortlisted for the Grazia Orange First Chapter competition. Currently the creative director at RDF Television, she lives in London with her family and dog. THE LOVE STORY OF MISSY CARMICHAEL is her debut novel.

Praise for The Love Story of Missy Carmichael

The Love Story of Missy Carmichael is a generous-hearted story showing the transformative power of friendship and community, whatever our time of life. . . . A fabulously enjoyable book!”

—Sarah Haywood, author of The Cactus


“Here is a love story of the most important kind: that of coming to love oneself through accepting and returning the love of others.”

Elizabeth Berg, author of Night of Miracles


“Deeply moving, charming and filled with wit and empathy—you can read on every page the love and care that Morrey has for each of her characters and by the end you’ll love them too.”

Kathy Wang, author of Family Trust


“Masterful and a real page-turner. Missy is a joy . . . the humor and courage with which she faces loss and aging are handled with such wit and empathy. The world needs more assured female voices like Beth Morrey’s.

Her novel is a breath of fresh air!”

Felicity Hayes-McCoy, author of The Library at the Edge of the World


“A beautiful story about love, loss, guilt and the power of friendship.”

—Jill Mansell, author of Maybe This Time


“For everyone with an Eleanor Oliphant–shaped hole in their heart, this is the book to fill it.

Gorgeous characters, heartfelt storytelling and the sort of book that lifts your heart.”

Eithne Shortall, author of Grace After Henry


“Moving but not sentimental (just as Missy would like it), this is a deeply satisfying read. Missy is a fantastically real character, as complex, frustrating, vulnerable and surprising as any I’ve met in print. I miss her already.”

Eleanor Wasserberg, author of Foxlowe


“A soulful, refreshing and tender book.”

—Stephanie Butland, author of The Lost for Words Bookshop


“The most beautiful and the most moving book I’ve read in a long time.

It will comfort you and it will break your heart.”

—Emma Flint, author of Little Deaths