Review by Brian Lowen read out live on bookshow 28th March 2013
A warm-hearted, feel-good, laugh-out-loud story, says the blurb on the back cover of the book and so it is, with a good deal of pathos thrown in as well.
This is the account of Tessa Hainsworth’s escape from the rat race in London where she had a high powered job as marketing manager for the Body Shop. She longed for a decent family life instead of her present one – working all hours and travelling around the country and abroad, seeing little of her children and Ben, her house husband.
They decide on a life changing decision and sell up in London and manage to buy a little cottage in south Cornwall before it gets snapped by second home buyers.
They struggle on with little money, doing odd jobs and just managing to survive, until Tessa gets a job as the local postwoman.
The rest of the story is like an autobiography of Tessa’s first year as a postwoman as she travels round the countryside deliver the mail. The names of the villages have been changed, but Gill (who read the book first, before passing it on to me) had worked out that Tessa was based in St Mawes and the Roseland peninsula.
Tessa has many experiences, some dangerous, fighting off belligerent animals, and some hilarious. Tessa gradually gets to know all the people on her daily round and she is gradually accepted by the Cornish folk when they realise that she is going to stay and not give in and fly back to London. It takes her husband, Ben suffering a bad illness and being whisked off to hospital for the true nature of her neighbours to show through as they rally round and help out with looking after the children, feeding the animals, and providing meals so that Tessa can spend time with Ben in hospital.
The story details her first year as a postie and there are two subsequent books which Gill assures me are even better. We bought the first one while waiting in Newquay airport for our delayed flight and it turned out to be a good buy. Read this one first though before getting the next one – “Seagulls in the Attic”.