Written with insight and sensitivity

Thanks to Cathy Ryan for this wonderful review.

Anne Goodwin portrays Matty beautifully and in a way that endears her to the reader, both in the confusion of her thoughts and also the rarer moments of clarity.

Her skull is a cutting room, celluloid clippings strewn across the floor. She plunges in, gathers armfuls, splices frames into a continuous strip. Things that happened meld with things that might have and things that never would. Each time, a different sequence, composed of disparate segments, creates her personal history afresh.

In a story where a feeling of sadness might have been the overriding emotion, with everything Matty has been through, as well as another character’s problems, there’s humour and the antics of assorted characters that lighten the atmosphere. 

After half a century confined in a psychiatric hospital, Matty has moved to a care home on the Cumbrian coast. Next year, she’ll be a hundred, and she intends to celebrate in style. Yet, before she can make the arrangements, her ‘maid’ goes missing.

Irene, a care assistant, aims to surprise Matty with a birthday visit from the child she gave up for adoption as a young woman. But, when lockdown shuts the care-home doors, all plans are put on hold.

But Matty won’t be beaten. At least not until the Black Lives Matter protests burst her bubble and buried secrets come to light.

Will she survive to a hundred? Will she see her ‘maid’ again? Will she meet her long-lost child?

Rooted in injustice, balanced with humour, this is a bittersweet story of reckoning with hidden histories in cloistered times.

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