Needlemouse by Jane O’Connor
Time to come out of hibernation…
Sylvia Penton has been hibernating for years, it’s no wonder she’s a little prickly…
Sylvia lives alone, dedicating herself to her job at the local university. On weekends, she helps out at a local hedgehog sanctuary because it gives her something to talk about on Mondays – and it makes people think she’s nicer than she is.
Only Sylvia has a secret: she’s been in love with her boss, Professor Lomax, for over a decade now, and she’s sure he’s just waiting for the right time to leave his wife. Meanwhile she stores every crumb of his affection and covertly makes trouble for anyone she feels gets in his way.
But when a bright new PhD candidate catches the Professor’s eye, Sylvia’s dreams of the fairy tale ending she has craved for so long, are soon in tatters, driving her to increasingly desperate measures and an uncertain future.
Sylvia might have been sleep walking through her life but things are about to change now she’s woken up…
A quirky, charming uplifting novel perfect for fans of Gail Honeyman’s Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and Sarah Haywood’s The Cactus. The feelgood bestseller about unrequited love, loneliness and the redemptive qualities of hedgehogs featuring the most unlikely heroine of 2019.
This book has been on my TBR list for far too long and as I wanted to read something completely different. I thought this fitted the bill perfectly (and I have a real soft spot for hedgehogs!)
Sylvia is a single mature lady who lives alone and is far too dedicated to her job at a university. Actually, it is more her boss who she is dedicated to. In fact, she is head over heels in love with him. This unrequited love, however, is an obsessive fantasy which her brain has formulated to cloak the deep loneliness which engulfs her. Sylvia is bitter and derogatory towards her friends, colleagues, and family. However, the reasons behind this become evident as the story unfolds.
I loved the chapters at the hedgehog sanctuary especially Jonas who is quiet, kind and wise beyond words. Sylvia only volunteers to fill her spare time but this place gradually melts her cold exterior.
This is a brave debut with a main character who is distinctly unlikeable. I enjoyed Sylvia’s story and finding out the secrets she carried with her for decades. There are plenty of warm, kind characters who are portrayed brilliantly and really help to give balance to the plot. The end is intensely satisfying and truly heartwarming, I look forward to reading more from Jane O’Connor.
Thank you to the author and Ebury Publishing for a copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly.