There’s only one mention of a hummingbird in Virginia Macgregor’s book, The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells…..
‘As Ella watches the bird soar into the white clouds, she sees that it’s not black, like she thought. And it’s not screeching. It’s twittering and buzzing, its tiny body suspended in the air. It’s not a crow at all, it’s a tiny hummingbird, its feathers a flash of blue and green, its wings beating so fast they disappear against the blue sky.’
However, this is a book filled with magic…..
On an ordinary morning, Norah Wells walked out of the family home at 77 Willoughby Street, and never looked back.
Six years later she returns to the home to find a another woman, Fay, formerly a good friend, has taken her place. She finds that Fay has held the family together and shares a bed with Norah’s husband, Adam. Norah’s youngest daughter, Willa calls Fay, Mummy.
Powerfully emotional and perceptive, this book deals with the issues, dramas and emotional upheaval surrounding this event and what it takes to hold a family together within the complexities of contemporary life.
As in Virginia’s superb debut novel ‘What Milo Saw’ – we see the fascinating, diverse and often quirky characters from many different points of view.
Norah, the woman who left. Fay, the woman who stayed….The youngest child, Willa whose total confusion and yet desire for peace and harmony with all concerned, is both heartbreaking and up-lifting. The teenage daughter, Ella, who after relentlessly searching for her Mother, finds her mother simply left – causing her great anger and a need to escape. We see the husband, Adam who moves from immaturity and self absorption prior to Norah’s leaving towards becoming a more loving involved father.
Like life, this book is woven like a rich tapestry…
There are other characters….Ella’s boyfriend and his mother who I loved, and the wonderful Miss Lily and Rose Peggs, concerned and caring neighbours,
And then there were the animals and birds.….Virginia, has a great love and understanding of animals, and this comes through very clearly in her writing.
Louis, the loyal, trusting, and somewhat telepathic family dog.
The beautiful red fox and her cubs – who gave little Willa great solace.
The black, screeching crow – that resides within Ella’s imagination.
All contribute to this truly, astonishing book.
Last month…my daughter Christie, and I were fortunate to be able to attend the book launch for The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells. On our way home we agreed that Virginia MacGregor, is an author who has a stunning career to look forward to.
I can’t recommend this book enough. I couldn’t put it down….Here’s to Virginia’s third novel……….