In exactly a month’s time on 24th May the Deepings Literary Festival will be in full swing and I’ll be heading off to have fish and chips with the wonderful Milly Johnson. I’m so looking forward to meeting up with Milly again. I last chatted with her at a Simon and Schuster Spring Blogger Evening that you can read about here. With that in mind I thought today would be a perfect time to share my review of Milly’s latest book, The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew. My enormous thanks to the lovely team at EDPR for sending me a copy of the book.
Milly was kind enough to write a piece for Linda’s Book Bag when The Mother of All Christmases was released in a post available here and I have my review of another of Milly’s books, The Perfectly Imperfect Woman, here.
The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew was published by Simon and Schuster on 7th MArch 2019 and is available for purchase through these links.
The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew
Behind every successful man is a woman.
Behind the fall of a successful man is usually another woman.
Sophie Mayhewlooks like she has the perfect life. Wife of rising political star John F Mayhew, a man who is one step away from the top job in the government, her glamour matches his looks, power, breeding and money. But John has made some stupid mistakes along the way, some of which are threatening to emerge. Still, all this can still be swept under the carpet as long as Sophie ‘the trophy’ plays her part in front of the cameras.
But the words that come out of Sophie’s mouth one morning on the doorstep of their country house are not the words the spin doctors put in there. Bursting out of the restrictive mould she has been in since birth, Sophie flees to a place that was special to her as a child, a small village on the coast where she intends to be alone.
But once there, she finds she becomes part of a community that warms her soul and makes her feel as if she is breathing properly for the first time. Sophie knows she won’t be left in peace for long. Now she must decide: where does her real future lie?
My Review of The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew
Politician John’s wife Sophie the Trophy is about to make a life-changing decision.
One thing guaranteed when reading a Milly Johnson book is that the reader will finish it with a contented sigh that they have enjoyed a cracking story told with warmth and humour. The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew does exactly that, especially in the ‘Pom’ parts of the story. I so enjoyed it.
I loved the plot to The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew because it took me into realms of politics and the church that I rarely inhabit in a manner that left me intrigued and interested. I cared so much about what was happening in Sophie’s life that I found myself speaking aloud to her and making some choice (and unrepeatable) comments to some of the other characters; John and Len in particular. There’s one event that happens to Sophie during John’s political Machiavellian charm offensive tactics that left me reeling. I knew that whatever the outcome of the book I would never, ever, forgive him.
And it’s this element of characterisation that makes The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew so typical of Milly Johnson’s writing. She has the ability to write fiction that seems so completely real about people who leap from the page and ensnare the reader into their lives and hearts. I was desperate for Sophie to leave behind her gilded cage and to live and breathe as she deserved.
The setting of Little Loste is glorious. The sense of community spirit, the sea, Ells Bells and all the quirky inhabitants all made me want to move there immediately. The author understands perfectly the healing power of nature. More importantly, however, Milly Johnson showed me the importance of kindness, of being true to ourselves and of genuine altruism. In fact, it’s the themes of The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew that make it such a satisfying read. Amongst other aspects woven through the narrative are love and grief, selfishness and selflessness, politics and ambition, marriage and parenthood, education and nurture, fulfillment and denial, friendship and enmity so that as well as being a highly entertaining story about Sophie on one level, I found an almost philosophical depth too. I have a feeling that reading The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew might just make me a more community spirited person.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It seemed to have a deeper resonance than other of Milly Johnson’s books I’ve read and I really feel that The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew deserves to be read several times over so that all its nuances and joys can be fully discovered. It is warm, human and captivating. The Magnificent Mrs Mayhew is a perfect read.
About Milly Johnson
Milly Johnson was born, raised and still lives in Barnsley, South Yorkshire. As well as being a prolific author, she is also a copywriter for the greetings card industry, a joke-writer, a columnist, after dinner speaker, poet, BBC newspaper reviewer, and a sometimes BBC radio presenter.
She won the RoNA for Best Romantic Comedy Novel of 2014 and 2016 and the Yorkshire Society award for Arts and Culture 2015.
She writes about love, life, friendships and that little bit of the magic that sometimes crops up in real life. She likes owls, cats, meringues, handbags and literary gifts – but hates marzipan. She is very short.