It’s an absolute delight today to be joining the blog tour for Mavis and Dot by Angela Petch, now available for kindle and in paperback. Angela’s Tuscan novels (more details below) have been on my “want to read” list for some time, but this novel is something of a departure from her usual writing – my thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to be part of the tour, allowing me to finally discover what a fantastic writer she is. Should you be ever so slightly put off by a book set around the lives of two eccentric retired ladies, set that thought aside instantly – this book was a total joy from beginning to end. I received a free e-copy of the book for my review, but also purchased my own copy to help with the cause for which it was written.
Let’s find out a little more…
A warm slice of life, funny, feel-good, yet poignant. Introducing two eccentric ladies who form an unlikely friendship.
Meet Mavis and Dot – two colourful, retired ladies who live in Worthington-on-Sea, where there are charity shops galore. Apart from bargain hunting, they manage to tangle themselves in escapades involving illegal immigrants, night clubs, nude modelling, errant toupees and more. And then there’s Mal, the lovable dog who nobody else wants.
A gently humorous, often side-splitting, heart-warming snapshot of two memorable characters with past secrets and passions. Escape for a couple of hours into this snapshot of a faded, British seaside town. You’ll laugh and cry but probably laugh more.
“This book is quirky and individual, and has great pathos…[it] will resonate with a lot of readers.” Gill Kaye – Editor of Ingenu(e).
Written with a light touch in memory of a dear friend who passed away from ovarian cancer, Angela Petch’s seaside tale is a departure from her successful Tuscan novels.
All profits from the sale of the books will go towards research into the cure for cancer.
Goodness, I so enjoyed this one – and I really, really hope that this won’t be the only outing for the wonderful characters and their wonderful storylines, just crying out for more. Mavis and Dot might be caricatures of colourful eccentrics, but they’re quite exquisitely drawn – and, as you read and find out more about their backgrounds and become increasingly moved by the loneliness of their current lives, you’ll grow to love them every bit as much as I did. And their adventures – as their unlikely friendship develops – introduce a cast of wonderful characters that I found quite fascinating and totally enchanting. Every single character – even the most peripheral – is drawn in the most amazing detail, individuals who “live” on the page, their stories explored, their secrets and foibles (quite often unexpected) revealed.
I like to think of myself as a moderately colourful retired lady, but I have many miles to travel before hoping to catch up with Mavis. I warmed to her immediately, as she worked through her alphabetical bucket list of activities (with a slight detour for “agoraphobics”…), and I just loved her unique personal style. There’s a naivety and vulnerability about her that really touches your heart – with flashes of (often alcohol-inspired) bravery that have you cheering her on, always laughing with her rather than at her. Her malapropisms – not in the least overdone – might just add to your future vocabulary as they have mine. Dot is initially less easy to like – but once we see the sadness of her past it’s so very touching to watch her brittleness crumble as her heart melts, and she allows herself to feel love for others.
The settings are wonderful – Worthington-on-Sea and the neighbouring towns vividly drawn, with the most wonderful detail around the run-down shopping centres and the all-pervading aroma of fish and chips, and I just loved Humphrey’s beach hut and the role it played in the story. The Italian excursion too – think Coach Trip on tv, then multiply the eccentricity and bad behaviour of the holiday makers by several times. Again, the vivid detail is quite astounding – the “Italian” waiter, the attempts at the language, the little incidents real, shocking, touching and very, very funny.
This is a perfect Christmas read too – and not just because of the timing of its ending and the touch of “snow” (which brought a tear to my eye), or the Christmas dinner gathering that I’d have so loved to be part of. This book is a perfect reminder of the power of friendship – and a wonderful celebration that however advanced in years you may be, there can be so many opportunities for sheer and unbounded joy. Please give us more of Mavis and Dot, Angela – I enjoyed this book so very much, and there are so many more stories I’d so love you to tell.
About the author
A prize-winning author, Angela Petch lives half the year in West Sussex and the summer months in a remote valley in the Tuscan Apennines. She recently signed a two-book deal with Bookouture for her Tuscan novels and Mavis and Dot is a temporary departure from her usual genre. She has travelled all her life: born in Germany, she spent six years as a child living in Rome, worked in Amsterdam after finishing her degree in Italian, moved to Italy for her job, then to Tanzania for three years. Her head is full of stories and she always carries a pen and note-book to capture more ideas.
In May 2017, Angela Petch won PRIMA’S monthly short story competition and recently had a dozen stories published by The People’s Friend magazine.
Mavis and Dot was written in memory of a dear friend who lost her battle with ovarian cancer. All profits from sales of the book will go towards research into a cure for cancer.
Angela’s Tuscan Novels
In 1999, Anna Swilland, their daughter, starts to unravel Italian war stories from diaries left to her after her mother’s death. She travels to the breathtakingly beautiful Tuscan Apennines, where the family saga and romance unfolds.
In researching her parents’ past, she will discover secrets about the war, her parents’ hardship and herself, which will change her life forever…
Tuscan Roots is more than a love story. Those who love Italy, its geography and culture, will hopefully be drawn to this book as will readers with a curiosity for how war can both divide and unite people of differing backgrounds.
(Tuscan Roots will be reissued by Bookouture in 2019)
A lovingly researched account, based on true stories, about Giuseppe Starnucci, a young Italian boy, at the start of the twentieth century, as he journeys on foot with shepherds from his mountain village in the Tuscan Apennines to the coast. His adventures are tracked by his great grandson one hundred years later and we learn of present day problems mirroring those of his ancestors.
A story of hardship, secrets and romance which brings to light the customs and people of rural Tuscany in a troubled period of history, when the dominance of Mussolini is always lurking in the background.