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…
Sylvia has a some might say ‘unhealthy’ obsession with her boss. For the past 15 years she has delighted in every tiny part of her working week that she gets to spend with him in meetings and takes great care and personal interest in looking after his daily needs at the university. She finds meaning behind all his actions and these she uses to cement the idea in her head that one day they will truly be together.
However………… with the arrival of a new ‘star’ phd student who seems to spend rather a lot of time in the professors office, Sylvia feels the need for some drastic action!
This was a lovely quick and quirky read. The characters were warm and funny even when they were being prickly and sour. Sylvia at her worst was written with wit and the love her sister has for her is evident. This in some way showed that there was hope for Sylvia and that some day she may mellow enough to enjoy normal friendships.
The character of Jonas at the hedgehog sanctuary Sylvia helps at on the weekends is charming, with the snippets from his pamphlet ‘The Hedgehog Year’ delightfully slotted into the book as you read along.
It is an upbeat read that actually has a lot of sadness beneath its cover. I won’t go into too much detail as I don’t want to give away spoilers but it is the back story to Sylvia, her family and Jonas that make the characters come alive.
A book about love, loneliness and family and about living with and without.
Thank you to Tess Henderson for my preview copy of the book. Needlemouse is published by Ebury Publishing and is out tomorrow June 27th.