Tag Archives: the astonishing return of norah wells

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





A week filled with joy and love

In my last blog I announced that I would be taking time from here to celebrate my daughter’s arrival from the States for my 70th birthday.

I can now report that the last week was the best ever – a week filled with joy and love.    I think this is the most wonderful birthday I have ever experienced:)   Yes, big smiles all round.

Everything flowed from beginning to end…..


Christie and her friend Jen arrived last Wednesday and on Thursday, we attended Virginia MacGregor’s book launch for ‘The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells’     I have started to read the book and am completely hooked.     I will write much more when I finish reading.

Loads of people attended the book launch in Reading and it was lovely to hear Virginia read from, and talk about the book.    Coincidentally, my daughter Christie had met Virginia several years ago in the States.

Virginia MacGregor 


On Saturday 23rd we had the actual party in ‘The Jolly Coopers Pub, Hampton‘ – and it could not have gone better.       So many friends attended from far and wide…people who I love so much.    I was reminded of just how blessed I am to have such wonderful friends.      From all those who I love and care for who couldn’t be with us on that evening, came so many lovely messages.    Even my postman was amazed!

Everyone was too busy having fun to take lots of pics, but fortunately Jen took these.    A group of us met in my flat prior to walking to the pub….and there we are standing in front of The Jolly Coopers.       The staff at the pub were fabulous and the tapas they served was to die for….as they say:)


The following day the party continued at my flat…..Monday was a day of recovery!     Jen was able to get a flight back to the States on the Monday and then on Tuesday, Christie and I met with more dear friends at The Shard – where we had a beautiful lunch, which morphed into a long and wonderful afternoon/evening –

A view from The Shard after dark….very beautiful and again I will write much more about this later. 


On Wednesday, after a lovely breakfast at Bill’s in Kingston – Christie visited her Grandmother again and then we saw the superb film ‘The Danish Girl’ – I highly recommend…

That evening, we sat, talked and watched some TV which was when I did this quick watercolour of my darling daughter.

20-11-15 - 1 (116)

Yesterday, Christie flew back to Boston in perfect weather…..and so one of the most beautiful weeks imaginable was completed.

It will take me a few days to get organised….however, for now I will enjoy a sense of great wellbeing.

A Bientôt

A time to celebrate with friends and magical hummingbirds

My daughter Christie and friend Jen arrived safely from the States today to celebrate my 70th birthday.

I am looking forward to a week filled with love, fun and of course magical hummingbirds.


Tomorrow we will attend a book launch for Virginia MacGregor’s  ‘The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells’    –     You may remember that I wrote about her last book ‘What Milo Saw’ on this blog when Virginia very kindly interviewed me for her blog.     Interestingly, Christie had met Virginia in the States sometime ago, and so it will be lovely for us to celebrate with her.


More fun and games tomorrow followed by a party on Saturday which I am really looking forward to.   Hopefully, I will have photographs to show next week.

Jen flies back on Sunday and then Christie will  be with me until the 28th when she returns to the States.

This means that I wont be around much at all…but will have a lot to talk about after the 28th….Wishing one and all a wonderful week ahead.    Janet.

20-11-15 - 1 (27)

A Bientôt



What Milo Saw….by Virginia Macgregor

For those who read my blog yesterday, you will know that my meeting Virginia Macgregor came about through a fortunate coincidence.     Fellow blogger and friend Olga Nunez Miret – Just Olga wrote a review on What Milo Saw which prompted me to purchase the book….and I am very pleased I did.

The following is my review.


Nine year old Milo has Retinitis Pigmentosa, an eye disease which removes peripheral vision. His view of the world is through a pin hole, which in Milo’s case heightens his other senses, allowing him to focus and observe details which others tend to miss.

He lives with his Gran, Mum and pet pig Hamlet.     His father has left the family home to be with another women.     This causes his mum to fall apart, and Milo to feel responsible for his Gran’s care.    He loves his Gran dearly.

what-milo-saw -2

Gran, who is highly intuitive, causes a fire in the kitchen knowing that it would mean a move into a nursing home.   In her mind this would set Milo free.

Despite the charmingly quirky and magical nature of this book, it tackles one of the most troubling issues of our times, care for the elderly in the UK.    Through Milo’s heightened senses and acute observation, we see what can happen in an old people’s care home when a system has broken down.

This is when we are introduced to the Forget Me Not Nursing Home and the bitter and cruel, Nurse Thornhill and Tripi the Chef, a gentle man who is fleeing a war-torn Syria.


There are many secondary and often very amusing characters who add to the quirkiness and humour of the novel.

As I read the book I could see the characters and settings so clearly in my mind’s eye which prompted me to think that this novel could be made into a lovely film.

Given the magic that surrounds the story and the way Virginia and I connected – I have to believe that the magical hummingbirds were involved:)


Virginia’s next novel, The Astonishing Return of Norah Wells, will be released on 14th January – and can be pre ordered through Amazon.

A Bientôt