#BlogTour: NEEDLEMOUSE by Jane O’Connor @JaneOConnor100 @EburyPublishing @TessHenderson1 @Tr4cyF3nt0n

imagePublication: 24th April 2019 (eBook); 27th June 2019 (paperback) – Ebury

Time to come out of hibernation…

Sylvia Penton has been hibernating for years, it’s no wonder she’s a little prickly…

Sylvia lives alone, dedicating herself to her job at the local university. On weekends, she helps out at a local hedgehog sanctuary because it gives her something to talk about on Mondays – and it makes people think she’s nicer than she is.

Only Sylvia has a secret: she’s been in love with her boss, Professor Lomax, for over a decade now, and she’s sure he’s just waiting for the right time to leave his wife. Meanwhile she stores every crumb of his affection and covertly makes trouble for anyone she feels gets in his way.

But when a bright new PhD candidate catches the Professor’s eye, Sylvia’s dreams of the fairy tale ending she has craved for so long, are soon in tatters, driving her to increasingly desperate measures and an uncertain future.

Sylvia might have been sleep walking through her life but things are about to change now she’s woken up…

**********

Welcome to my stop for the blog tour of NEEDLEMOUSE, the fabulous debut by Jane O’Connor. A huge huge thank you to Tracy Fenton and Ebury for inviting me to join the blog tour and providing me with a copy of this amazing novel.

Who is Sylvia Penton? She is a woman in her fifties and she works as a personal assistant to a professor in a London University. The most exciting thing in her life is her volunteering at the local hedgehog shelter, but Sylvia is far from ordinary and she has a few secrets. She’s keeping a huge secret that could destroy her relationship with her sister and her family (no spoiler!). Additionally, for the last ten years she’s been in love with her boss, Professor Lomax (that’s not much of a secret as it seems that everyone knows about it). She takes care of him and she sees herself as his protector while waiting for him to leave his wife. And when a younger woman threatens her relationship with Professor, Sylvia shows that she is ready to do anything for the man he loves…

At the beginning, Sylvia’s reserved nature and her borderline obsession with Professor Lomax make her an unlikable (and a little insane) character, but the more I read the more I learned about the protagonist of the novel, about her past trauma, and, as she develops, she becomes more interesting and more endearing and I adored her and felt sympathy for her by the end of the book. The other characters are all very interesting and realistic, all with different personalities, some likable, some just detestable. My favourite character was Jonas, the owner of the hedgehog sanctuary where Sylvia volunteers. He is wise and good-natured and I found fascinating all the facts about hedgehogs he described (did you know that needle mouse is Japanese for hedgehogs?).

I liked how the book is written in the form of a diary in which Sylvia pours all her secrets and her feelings. We see her at the lowest and worst time of her life and we see her come out of it stronger and more likable. Her heartbreaking revelations made for a very emotional read, but there were also a few funny moments that made me laugh. NEEDLEMOUSE is a brilliant and refreshing debut that I loved from the first to the last page.

Needlemouse

V722zGYL_400x400Jane O’Connor is a former primary school teacher turned academic and writer. She was born and brought up in Surrey and lived in London until she moved to the West Midlands in her mid-thirties. Jane’s PhD was about child stars and she is now a Reader at Birmingham City University where she researches children’s experiences of celebrity, media and everyday life. Jane lives in Sutton Coldfield with her husband and two young sons in a house full of pirates, dinosaurs, superheroes and lots of books. She really likes all animals, especially hedgehogs. Needlemouse is her debut novel.

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