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A dazzling debut for 2020—are you ready to meet Missy Carmichael?


About the book

Missy Carmichael’s life has become small.

Grieving for a family she has lost or lost touch with, she’s haunted by the echoes of her footsteps in her empty home; the sound of the radio in the dark; the tick-tick-tick of the watching clock.

Spiky and defensive, Missy knows that her loneliness is all her own fault. She deserves no more than this; not after what she’s done. But a chance encounter in the park with two very different women opens the door to something new.

Another life beckons for Missy, if only she can be brave enough to grasp the opportunity.


From the author

When I started the book that became Saving Missy, I had just two scenes in mind. The first was a lonely woman walking to a lake in a park to watch some fish being stunned. There was a fish-stunning at my local park that caused quite a stir in Stoke Newington, and I liked the idea of such a bizarre event kick-starting a story. My protagonist would be shocked out of her self-pity for an instant, and that would be the beginning of her renaissance.

The second scene was set 60 years before the first, inspired by another real-life event, though a more notorious one. In 1956, Sylvia Plath met Ted Hughes at a party in Cambridge, a tumultuous confrontation that allegedly involved Sylvia biting Ted until she drew blood. The rest, as they say, is history. I started thinking about it from a different angle—what about the others who were there that night? When Missy met Leo…

If Missy was the same woman who went to the fish-stunning 60 years later, she would be nearly 80 at the beginning of my novel. That became an attractive prospect, because it gave me lots of time—time to tell a knotty yet tender tale of a marriage spanning the second half of the 20th century, touching on historic events large and small. Time to explore Missy’s love story in all its forms: her strained relationship with her daughter, her longing for her absent son and grandson, her budding friendship with two women, and her gradually falling in love—with a dog.

Unpicking Missy’s past life, there was time to build her a new one. Missy enjoys a coming-of-age, discovering it’s never too late to change, never too late to hope for something better.

I wrote Saving Missy to cheer myself up, give the washed-out, cathartic feeling a good weep can produce. I hope I can pass that feeling on.


Advance praise

‘Missy, shuffling around her empty house, desperate for connection but too scared to connect is all of us. I loved everything about this book and felt a genuine sense of loss when it was over.’—Ava, NetGalley

‘A heartwarming, unique and beautiful debut novel. The story was well paced, realistic and breathtakingly enjoyable.’—Gloria, NetGalley

Saving Missy tells an absorbing, heartwarming tale of forgiveness, friendship and redemption. It’s a beautiful story but it pulls no punches, with harsher notes of realism preventing the story from ever becoming overly twee or sentimental.’—Nikki, NetGalley

‘I loved what it said about people in general, I loved seeing Missy emerge from her self-imposed isolation, I loved the sense of hope that permeated the novel.’—Lorraine, NetGalley

‘A beautiful book about a woman wrestling with change, anxiety, loneliness, and the “what ifs” of her life—a different kind of coming-of-age story.’Hannah, Goodreads

Saving Missy is a big-hearted story about friendship, moving on, and rediscovering your true self.’Saarah, Goodreads

‘The world of Missy is so warm, with a light touch, and an easy style’—James, Goodreads


Sample chapter

Read the opening chapters of Saving Missy here.




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Kelsey Oldham

Digital editor
Brad Jefferies

Acting editor, Daily
Matthia Dempsey

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Anthea Yang

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