RogerBW's Blog

The Nothing Girl, Jodi Taylor 23 April 2024

2014 romance and light mystery. Jenny Dove has a severe stutter and chronic lack of self-confidence; she's on the verge of suicide when something appears to her and tells her not to. Eventually, she will have to make something of herself.

It's a funny story with colourful characters; but it's also a story of smiling menace and deceptive friendliness. Russell Checkland admits that he's marrying her for mutual convenience, as he needs her money and he thinks she needs to get out of her uncle and aunt's house, but he's also obsessed with her cousin Fran and he doesn't make any promises he doesn't intend to keep. Meanwhile aunt and uncle are increasingly concerned about the way Jenny seems to be suffering a series of near-fatal "accidents" after she moves out…

There's a cheerful defiance of genre expectations, even as trappings of romance and mystery are used where they fit the story. Yes, the household gradually fills up with waifs, strays and hopeless cases, but each of them is an individual and their reasons for being there are individually important.

‘And you've nothing to be ashamed of, Mrs C. Your cooking made me the man I am today.’

Silence as his household contemplated the man he was today.

‘No,’ said Mrs Crisp, firmly. ‘You’re not putting all the blame on me.’

This is a story not about the fantasy of a perfect life but about how one can perhaps make a good life out of even an unpromising situation. Highly recommended.

Series: Frogmorton Farm | Next in series: Christmas Past/The Battersea Barricades/The Steam Pump Jump/And Now For Something Completely Different/When Did You Last See Your Father?/Dessicated Water/Markham and the Anal Probing/Little Donkey

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