Friday 2 September 2022

Every Shade of Happy by Phyllida Shrimpton Blog Tour

 Everyone loves a good, emotional read  don't they. You know the ones that have you reaching for the tissues.

Well that's exactly what I got from Phyllida Shrimpton's latest novel Every Shade of Happy.


Suddenly uprooted from everything and everyone she knows, bubbly fifteen-year-old Anna Maybury and her mother are forced to move in with the grandfather she has never met – a bad-tempered old man who disapproves of her very existence.

At ninety-seven, Algernon breaks his days up into a routine governed by the relentless ticking of the clock on the mantelpiece. It gives his life the structure and order he craves, but he's also incredibly lonely.

And soon, so is Anna. Her colourful personality doesn't seem to fit in at her new school and she begins to feel herself turning as dull and grey as the uniform.

Surprisingly, it's cranky old Algernon who is determined to do something about it. With a road trip to Cornwall on the cards and important life lessons to learn, it's going to be a summer neither of them will ever forget.

What a gem of a book.

This is the story of not one but two people.

Ninety seven year old Algernon Edward Maybury and fifteen year old Anna (Algernon's granddaughter).

Told through alternating points of view, we get a glimpse into what it's like to be both young and old when life alters the path you thought you were taking.

Anna and her mother Helene suddenly have their life as they know it changed in a instant when Helene's other half Harry announces that he's started a new relationship and that they need to move out of his house ASAP.

A nice comfortable life now falls away when they have no choice but to move in with Helene's estranged father . . . Algernon. This is a man that Anna has never met, but she's about to get a lesson in life that she didn't even know she needed. 

As I said at the beginning of this review, this is one emotional tale.

I love the fact that the narration is from both granddaughter and grandad. The stark difference in how they view each situation they are faced with is so realistic.

The conversations exchanged between the two are at times rather comedic. Phyllida has got the narrative just right. Talk of technology, the differences eventually bringing them closer as they gain knowledge from both the past and present.

Funny how the pair of them are both quite similar despite the age gap. Stubborn, set in their ways, initially unwilling to change their thoughts and actions. It was really touching to see their bond growing stronger and stronger with each turn of the page.

In the end, Every Shade of Happy becomes a heart-warming and inspirational tale.

Showing us that we have the ability to change our path in life, we don't have to stay lonely.

Filled with laughter, tears and all the emotions in-between. This is an intergenerational story that is wonderfully unexpected. 

Special shout out to Jacob, the next door neighbour, the bringer of banter. He adds an extra vibrancy to the tale. An exceptional supporting role to both Algernon and Anna.

Funny, sweet and straight from the heart. 


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