Thursday 27 May 2021

Matilda Windsor is Coming Home - Anne Goodwin

In the dying days of the old asylums, three paths intersect.

Henry was only a boy when he waved goodbye to his glamorous grown-up sister; approaching sixty, his life is still on hold as he awaits her return.

As a high-society hostess renowned for her recitals, Matty’s burden weighs heavily upon her, but she bears it with fortitude and grace.

Janice, a young social worker, wants to set the world to rights, but she needs to tackle challenges closer to home.

A brother and sister separated by decades of deceit. Will truth prevail over bigotry, or will the buried secret keep family apart?

In this, her third novel, Anne Goodwin has drawn on the language and landscapes of her native Cumbria and on the culture of long-stay psychiatric hospitals where she began her clinical psychology career.

What did I think?

Oh my goodness, Anne Goodwin's new novel is completely heartbreaking.  I felt so incredibly upset and angry at events fifty years in the past that altered the course of Matty and Henry's lives.  It's so annoying to think of how differently their lives could have turned out if one selfish action hadn't tore them apart.

Henry barely remembers his sister Matilda who left when he was a small child; all he has to remember her by is a conker that she gave him when she left.  It's almost as if Henry's life has been put on hold waiting for Matilda to return home.  Meanwhile, Matilda has been hidden away in a psychiatric hospital for over fifty years; her mind creating butlers and maids out of the staff to help her cope with her new life and to keep her safe from the evil prince who destroyed her life.  With the hospital facing closure, Matty's life is set to be changed once more.

The whole story is actually written very cleverly and this really makes Matty so unbelievably endearing to readers.  I was sometimes a little confused and unable to differentiate between memories and actual events, which is exactly how Matty must be feeling.  I felt as if I was not only stepping into her shoes but seeing right inside her head.  It's strange but I never really felt as if Matty's memories were unreliable, however, Henry's were a little more cloudy but this is most likely due to him being a child when they were separated.

I absolutely adored Matty; she may be a batty septuagenarian (Anne Goodwin's words) but she's really quite a character.  I am delighted that Anne is writing a sequel so we can continue Matty's journey as I'm missing her already and I really need to know what happens next.

Matilda Windsor is Coming Home is a truly immersive story that really gets under your skin and you can't help but fall in love with Matty, a wonderfully quirky and charming main character of whom I felt incredibly protective.

Many thanks to Anne Goodwin for sending me a digital ARC to review; this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

About the author:

Anne Goodwin grew up in the non-touristy part of Cumbria, where this novel is set. When she went to university ninety miles away, no-one could understand her accent. After nine years of studying, her first post on qualifying as a clinical psychologist was in a long-stay psychiatric hospital in the process of closing.

Her debut novel, Sugar and Snails, about a woman who has kept her past identity a secret for thirty years, was shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize. Her second novel, Underneath, about a man who keeps a woman captive in his cellar, was published in 2017. Her short story collection, Becoming Someone, on the theme of identity, was published in November 2018. Subscribers to her newsletter can download a free e-book of prize-winning short stories.

Author links:

No comments:

Post a Comment