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.

image1

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.