THE LOVE STORY OF MISSY CARMICHAEL is a debut novel. While it was a little slow to get into, I was soon immersed into the story, which held my interest and my emotions. We are introduced to a multitude of characters from the past and the present. The story goes back and forth between the two, and it’s sometimes difficult to figure out why, but it all serves a purpose—every detail!
As we get to know Missy a little at a time in the present and fill in details from the past, we know that she’s lonely, ratting around in a big empty house in a nice area of London. The author does a terrific job of making you feel Missy’s loneliness. Missy’s in her late seventies and early eighties during the telling of the story and sometimes doesn’t realize the richness her life once held. Her two children are grown and live their own lives elsewhere, and her husband is gone. When Bob, a female dog, enters her life, thing get lively. Other dog owners and their pets, as well as a neighbor, Angela, and her son, Otis, give Missy reasons to get up and out.
The plot takes many unexpected turns and gives the story additional layers. Missy seems to rise to each occasion even when she doesn’t think she can. Having others in her life isn’t something she focuses on until she realizes how important friendships are. Missy has always known the importance of family, and oikos (three related but distinct concepts: the family, the family’s property, and the house) plays an important role in a story filled with secrets, estrangements, and love. There is wonderful closure with loose ends tied up, and I like how things fall into place that are alluded to throughout. I look forward to reading more by Ms. Morrey if this is her caliber of writing.