Welcome back! I wanted to return with something softer, something different, today, and my previous experience of Sarah Winman meant I thought this might be the one to do it. A heartfelt book that sweeps you up – I really enjoyed this one. Today, I’d like to share my A Year of Marvellous Ways review.
Publisher: Tinder Press | Date: 2015 | Genre: General fiction
Plot: Cornwall, 1947. Marvellous Ways is a ninety-year-old woman who’s lived alone in a remote creek for nearly all her life. Recently she’s taken to spending her days sitting on the steps of her caravan with a pair of binoculars. She’s waiting for something – she’s not sure what, but she’ll know it when she sees it.
Freddy Drake is a young soldier left reeling by the war. He’s agreed to fulfil a dying friend’s last wish and hand-deliver a letter to the boy’s father in Cornwall. But Freddy’s journey doesn’t go to plan, and sees him literally wash up in Marvellous’ creek, broken in body and spirit. When Marvellous comes to his aid, an unlikely friendship grows between the two. Can Freddy give Marvellous what she needs to say goodbye to the world, and can she give him what he needs to go on?
A Year of Marvellous Ways Review
Sarah Winman has an unusual way of writing. I noticed that when I read When God was a Rabbit, but it is that unusual style that had me eager to read her second book. It didn’t disappoint.
Winman doesn’t have a fast moving plot with lots of action, but she does have intriguing characters. She develops them in such a way I feel like I could pass Marvellous on the street now and know her like a friend.
As mentioned, there isn’t much to the plot. Three characters are drawn to the same place for the same reasons. They are looking for love, for hope and a reason to continue their lives. In each other, they find the companionship they long for in order to move forward. It’s a warm and homely story, one of knowing where you belong and who the important people are in your lives.
God? Good God, no, Drake. Love. Don’t confuse the two. Love. It’s the only thing to have faith in.A Year of MArvellous Ways by Sarah Winman
The characters are in-depth and realistic. Marvellous with all her character traits made me smile the whole way through. An old woman with a young soul, and what a soul she has! Marvellous’ eccentricities add imagination to the story, therefore adding a whole new depth to the plot.
Drake certainly progresses the most, from a grieving shell of a man to someone who has found peace in who he is. But nothing feels contrite or forced about his transition, it all flows naturally. Peace isn’t as well developed, but she too has a spark about her that makes you wish for her happiness.
The plot is quite rambling; there isn’t always a clear forward momentum although that is the direction it is heading in. Trips back into Marvellous’ past may disrupt the progression, but they didn’t intrude on the flow of the novel, which is important.
There was one small chapter, however, where I literally have no idea what happened in it. Sometimes Winman goes a touch too far down the meandering route and the reader gets a little lost.
Definitely a recommendation for this book! I thoroughly enjoyed it. If you’re looking for a novel that will sweep you away, but you can relax while reading rather than a frantic page-turner, then this is the one. It’s gentle, it’s loving and it’s homely, with likeable characters and an intriguing narration.
Have you read this book? Is it one you’re interested in?
You may also like:
- Book Review: When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman
- Book Review: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
2 thoughts on “A Year of Marvellous Ways Review | Sarah Winman”
I enjoyed this more as I went along. I loved When God was a Rabbit too. I don’t know if I’m being stupid, but what did you make of the ending? I don’t fully understand it! Lovely review.
I guess it was just a sort of closure thing at the end? I’m really glad you enjoyed the review, thank you!