by Joanna Cannon (published 2016)
A friend lent me this book and I didn’t what to expect. What a joy! This cleverly written novel is Joanna Cannon’s first foray into fiction and I am not surprised to see it became a Sunday Times bestseller.
Joanna has such a light touch. It is interesting to learn from the author’s note at the back of the book that Joanna is a psychiatrist. Her understanding of human nature is evident from the way she depicts her characters.
The setting for the story is ‘The Avenue’, a group of houses and families that share too many secrets and lies. The story follows 10-year-old Grace and Tilly as they try to discover what has happened to Mrs Creasy, who disappeared ‘on a Monday’ at the beginning of the 1976 heatwave.
On the face of it, each character fits a typical stereotype, but as the story unfolds the reader learns that there is much more to each person that would at first be apparent.
Joanna Cannon has a wonderful way with words. Here is an example of the kind of delightful prose that the book is littered with:
‘I still hadn’t learned the power of words. How, once they have left your mouth, they have a breath and a life of their own. I had yet to realize that you no longer own them. I hadn’t learned that, once you have let them go, the words can then, in fact, become the owner of you.’
I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘The Trouble with Goats and Sheep’ and was disappointed when it came to the end. But I will be looking out for Joanna’s next book, which I understand is due out in 2018.