The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells…..

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.

10974467_10153031439895396_5995121677414902586_o    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……….


A Bientôt





44 thoughts on “The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells…..

  1. teagan geneviene

    Janice this is a truly lovely and insightful book review. Your choices of hummingbirds match your words beautifully — and it is such a grand treat to have so many of them to behold in this post! Have a thriving Thursday. Mega hugs my friend.

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning, Teagan….thank you so much. I thoroughly enjoyed Virginia’s book….and was delighted to see that the hummingbirds did get a mention:) Hope you are enjoying al lovely weekend….Janet. xx

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning Miza….this is definitely one to read and I have posted on Virginia’s wall. I have to say that the book is receiving excellent reviews across the board…..
      Hoping all is well and that you are making wonderful art…..Janet. xxx

  2. Mary

    This book sounds extraordinary in life scenes that unfold with some interesting direct and indirect consequences – I will be looking for the book. Thanks for the recommendation Janet!! Love your hummingbird and floral painting – the little creatures always amuse and astonish.

      1. Mary

        Thank you Janet. I’ve started a very interesting piece, hoping to finish up today. Enjoying the beginning signs of Spring here – new flowers, tree leaves just starting to open, birds nesting. A wonderful day in TX and all the best to you for a great week ahead!

  3. Vera Komnig

    Wow, it seems as if I must have this book!! It isn’t in a german translation but I found another book and well see to buy it and then I tell you like it was. This is ist…in a german translation:
    I’m curious.
    But no book can be so adorable, like your Hummingbirds. I love them!!!
    I wish you a good night, my dear sister in art. Sleep well 🙂

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning dear Vera….The link you have shown here is for Virginia Macgregor’s first book – What Milo Saw. Her new book. The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells has been translated into German….I am sure you can purchase it through Amazon. I couldn’t put it down.
      I hope that your weekend is a good one, and that you continue in a wonderful creative flow…..May the magical hummingbirds be with you…:) Your sis her in art….janet. xx

      1. Vera Komnig

        Good morning, my dear sister in art 🙂

        I can’t find a german translation at amazon. May be it needs a little time till this book will be translated in german? Don’t know.
        I have purchased Virginia Macgregors first book “What Milo saw” and am very curious.

        Have a nice and colorful weekend 🙂 ❤

  4. olganm

    I know we’ve been chatting about this book even before it was published and I’m pleased you’ve loved it as I did (how couldn’t you? It’s a wonderful book). I did think of you when I read about the hummingbird. I hope to personally meet the author at some point too. She writes beautifully. And thanks for the magical hummingbirds, Janet!

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning dear Olga…..It is through you that I became connected to Virginia Macgregor, and for that I am very grateful. When you meet her, please tell her about the connection we have. What a superb book this one is….and now she is writing her third…..
      Hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend….Janet:)

  5. Chanel Bailey

    I agree! The images are amazing and captivated me throughout! I have not heard of Norah in the past but based off your recommendation I will put her in my Good Reads list! Found your blog through Success Inspirer. I’m gonna follow!😊

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning, Carol. Yes, a book I highly recommend…and as has been pointed out by others…a superb book for book clubs. I can only imagine the kind of discussion this book would cause….
      Hope you are enjoying a lovely weekend….Janet:)x

    1. janetweightreed10 Post author

      Good morning and thank you for this comment. No question, that this book is superb reading for book clubs – because of the endless discussion possibilities. Hope you enjoy a lovely day, filled with all sorts of animals and hummingbirds:) janet.

  6. Jet Eliot

    I enjoyed this post, Janet, and how fortunate for Ms. Macgregor to receive such a resounding recommendation. The book sounds gripping and your review is thorough and enticing. And of course your hummingbird watercolors are a total joy. Great post, thank you.


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