The gift of a lifetime?
Anna Browne is an ordinary woman living an ordinary life. Her day job as a receptionist in bustling London isn’t exactly her dream, yet she has everything she wants. But someone thinks Anna Browne deserves more . . .
When a parcel addressed to Anna Browne arrives, she has no idea who has sent it. Inside she finds a beautiful gift – one that is designed to be seen. And so begins a series of incredible deliveries, each one bringing Anna further out of the shadows and encouraging her to become the woman she was destined to be. As Anna grows in confidence, others begin to notice her – and her life starts to change.
But who is sending the mysterious gifts, and why?
I’m delighted today to be part of the blog tour for A Parcel For Anna Browne by Miranda Dickinson ahead of its publication tomorrow by Pan Macmillan in paperback and for kindle. I haven’t read a book by Miranda since Fairytale Of New York, and I was interested to try one of her books again to see how her style had developed.
This is a lovely story – Anna hasn’t had the best start in life with a neglectful drunk as a mother, and since fleeing from Cornwall to London has lived a fairly quiet and ordinary life: she works as a receptionist at the offices of the Daily Messenger, a struggling London newspaper, always kind and cheerful, but relatively invisible. She signs for parcels daily, and is thrilled when a perfectly wrapped one arrives addressed to her – the parcels, with gifts personal to her and exquisitely chosen, keep coming, and her life is never quite the same again.
I liked the warmth and feel-good factor in this book – Anna starts to blossom and shine, and your smile gets wider as each new parcel arrives and you unwrap it with her. There are enough surprises, betrayals and personal dramas to keep you turning the pages, along with the unfolding mystery about the sender of the parcels. I did guess, fairly early on, and despite the red herrings – but it really didn’t matter, because the joy of this book is in watching Anna Browne develop into a strong and confident woman.
One of the best things about the book for me was the supporting cast – in particular, the newspaper employees were wonderful. My personal favourites were Ted the security man, Sheniece and her constant efforts to become a WAG, and lovely Barbara the cleaner – but they’re all interesting in themselves, and really well drawn.
It’d be wrong of me not to mention a couple of things I didn’t like quite as much. Reading’s a personal experience, and, for me, it was just a little too long – I like a lighter read to be around the 350 page mark, and this book was around 500. I also found some of the character accents jarred a little. Jonah’s Yorkshire accent consisted largely of “aye”, “lass” and “owt” – rarely heard on the streets of Wetherby or Ilkley, and not entirely necessary.
With those reservations, I did enjoy the book – and fans of Miranda Dickinson’s earlier books are going to absolutely love it.
My thanks to Francesca Pearce and all at Pan Macmillan for my advance reading copy, and for inviting me on the blog tour.
Miranda Dickinson was let go from her job as a copywriter seven years ago. On the day that she thought she had lost everything she got a call form a publisher offering on her first novel. Soon she had become a Sunday Times bestselling author and her first book was the world’s first bestselling crowd sourced novel. Miranda has now written her seventh book and is a complete inspiration for budding writers everywhere.