Cornwall, 1947. Marvellous Ways is a ninety-year-old woman who’s lived alone in a remote creek for nearly all her life. Recently she’s taken to spending her days sitting on the steps of her caravan with a pair of binoculars. She’s waiting for something – she’s not sure what, but she’ll know it when she sees it. Freddy Drake is a young soldier left reeling by the war. He’s agreed to fulfil a dying friend’s last wish and hand-deliver a letter to the boy’s father in Cornwall. But Freddy’s journey doesn’t go to plan, and sees him literally wash up in Marvellous’ creek, broken in body and spirit. When Marvellous comes to his aid, an unlikely friendship grows between the two. Can Freddy give Marvellous what she needs to say goodbye to the world, and can she give him what he needs to go on?
This book is so beautiful. It’s poignant and moving and just full of all the things I love in a novel. It’s historical fiction with some great magical realism, and an equally great cast of characters.
At first, I thought this book was a bit slow but as I got further into it, I realised that the pace was one of its charms. The slow pace of it allows you to take it all in and enjoy Sarah Winman’s writing, which was so poetic and metaphorical. I also liked the formatting of the book. I didn’t mind that there were no quotation marks in the book; I think I’m used to this format now, having read quite a few literary fiction novels. Also, it was done so masterfully that it wasn’t hard to follow. Without the quotation marks, the dialogue was really integrated into the story and, for me, it really enhanced it.
I loved the messages in this book. I liked reading about the things that Marvellous has gone through and all the life lessons that she’s learnt. This book made me think about my grandparents a lot and I really connected with the story, and with Marvellous. I think it’s a book that you just need to dive into and discover for yourself. I’m sure that everybody could get something out of it. And the ending was absolutely lovely.