Saving Missy

by Beth Morrey

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LoveReading Expert Review of Saving Missy

A LoveReading star book, this is a glorious, beautiful, and rather special read.

A debut novel to read slowly, to savour, to adore. Yes, this is a rather special and beautiful read, and I want to climb a few rooftops to shout about it. Missy Carmichael is lonely, she lives by herself in a huge house, when opportunities arise for friendship and more, can she reach out and take them? I admit to having fallen in love with Missy, she isn’t perfect and she makes mistakes (who doesn’t!), yet there is something about her that tiptoed into my heart and soul and has taken up residence. So often we just see a snapshot of someone, a moment or period in their life, however not here. Beth Morrey has not only brought her to life, but by also dipping into the past, we discover the gems that make Missy, well, Missy! The surrounding characters are a wonderfully quirky bunch, and Bob is an absolute delight. I laughed and I cried (oh how I cried). Saving Missy meanders gently, poignantly, beautifully, to what was for me, a perfect ending. I adored meeting Missy and so have chosen this lovely debut novel as one of our star books. 

Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.

Liz Robinson

Saving Missy Synopsis

Prickly. Stubborn. Terribly lonely.

But everyone deserves a second chance…

A dazzling debut for 2020 – are you ready to meet Missy Carmichael?

Missy Carmichael’s life has become small.

Grieving for a family she has lost or lost touch with, she’s haunted by the echoes of her footsteps in her empty home; the sound of the radio in the dark; the tick-tick-tick of the watching clock.

Spiky and defensive, Missy knows that her loneliness is all her own fault. She deserves no more than this; not after what she’s done. But a chance encounter in the park with two very different women opens the door to something new.

Another life beckons for Missy, if only she can be brave enough to grasp the opportunity. But seventy-nine is too late for a second chance. Isn’t it?

About This Edition

ISBN: 9780008334062
Publication date: 4th March 2021
Author: Beth Morrey
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers Ltd an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 400 pages
Collections: 80+ Humorous Novels - from Wry and Sly Observations to Outright Chuckles and Laughter., 40+ Novels That Feature Friendship,
Primary Genre Modern and Contemporary Fiction
Other Genres:
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Closing date: 07/10/2021

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What To Read After Saving Missy

Would I Lie to You?
Everyone in This Room Will Someday Be Dead
The Blessed Girl
Good Eggs

Saving Missy Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title.

Make sure you have tissues, this is heart-warming, tragic and uplifting, a real mixture and a great read.

I can only begin by saying that this book is amazing! I am usually a fan of psychological thrillers and similar and was unsure when I started this book if it would be my sort of thing. Whilst I do like to read other genres, I pick and choose a bit. However, I am so pleased I have been given the chance to review this book.
It is centered around the character of Missy, an older lonely lady who gradually discovers friendships in all sorts of different and unexpected ways.

It jumps back and forth to when Missy was young and goes through her marriage to her beloved Leo at different stages of their lives and relationship. It also examines the complicated relationships with her daughter and son and you make a lot of assumptions about all of them, which turn out to be completely wrong.
I loved this book and was very sorry when I had finished. I can just say, make sure you have tissues and it is heart-warming, tragic and uplifting, a real mixture and a great read.

Sally Doel

A big-hearted story about rediscovering your true self.Truly charming and uplifting in even its most bitter moments.

Onwards and upwards!

Saving Missy is a big-hearted story about friendship, moving on, and rediscovering your true self.

Missy Carmichael is trying to get a new life together, without her husband of many decades, Leo. Struggling to find her feet, and having no guidance, this is a story that is hopeful, bittersweet and above all, compassionate.

I found the beginning of this story quite slow to get into because through to the very end, the reader isn't given all the answers. This is a story following a mysterious woman fighting against her burdening truths, closely-guarded secrets, and private confessions.

Initially, I thought it lacked direction. But by the middle, after the reader pieces together a few facts, this is a charming read. There is more than what we see. Uplifting even in its most bitter, and vulnerable, moments. A book that is very much, recommendable.

Saarah Nisaa

A lovely book - totally compelling.

I loved this book -it had me gripped from page 1 and never let go! It is a first-person narration by Millicent Carmichael, known as Missy. Missy is a 79-year-old lady, living alone in an imposing old London house, missing her husband and family and with no purpose in her lonely life until she reluctantly makes the acquaintance of an eclectic group of people in her local park, and her life changes completely, particularly when she takes on the care of Bobby, a dog, who becomes her beloved companion.

I found the story completely compelling as I followed Missy through this new phase in her life, as she came to terms with regrets concerning her earlier life which had troubled her, and she embraced new experiences. There is also a surprise at the end, which I certainly hadn’t anticipated, something I always enjoy in a book. This was one of those books which I read slowly because I was reluctant to finish it. 

Doreen McKeown

Meet Missy, the unlikely heroine who will stay with you after you have turned the last page. A glorious novel about opening your heart to the possibility of living the life you deserve.

Missy Carmichael seems to be an unlikely heroine for a novel. Elderly, living alone in a huge house, she has devoted her entire life to her husband and children for the sake of her own, and now they are no longer with her, her world is her four walls and to venture beyond them is something she cannot contemplate.
When a visit to the local park ends in Missy fainting, it is there she is faced with the kindness of strangers who welcome her with open arms. From this point on, Missy Carmichael's life is never going to be the same again as Sylvia, Angela and Otis burst into her mundane life.
As we learn more about Missy, the narrative switches between Missy's childhood and adulthood, and her later life, and exactly why she is living alone. Little by little she starts to open her heart and home to the possibility that the next chapter of her life is right there for her to take, if only she has the courage to do so.
In Missy, Beth Morrey has written a truly beautiful and understated story, that will capture you from the first page and keep you captivated until the very last word.
Saving Missy is going to be one of THE novels in 2020, I loved every single page.

Clare Reynolds

A real pager turner which keeps the reader wanting more right until the end. The conclusion was heartwarming (perhaps unrealistic) and tied everything up satisfactorily.

Saving Missy is an uplifting tale about friendship and love, yet also loneliness, memories and loss. It is about the struggle to find yourself and keep going when you no longer have a ‘partner’. We meet Missy Carmichael, the main character, at the beginning of the book, struggling with life, feeling a burden and lonely. Within the course of the book, we, the reader, hear Missy’s story and what has happened to her through her own memories. A chance encounter with some strangers changes everything and their lives become intwined. Missy is a very closed character at the start of the story to both reader and people she encounters and has relationships with. Slowly she opens up and the reader warms to her more and more as this happens.

A great story for the Summer. A real pager turner which keeps the reader wanting more right until the end. The conclusion was heartwarming (perhaps unrealistic) and tied everything up satisfactorily.

Rachael Anderson

This is a book that is not easy to put down and the reader becomes very attached to Missy and really feels her sadness...but then rejoices with her in her new relationships

This is a book that is not easy to put down and the reader becomes very attached to Missy and really feels her sadness...but then rejoices with her in her new relationships

The book opens with Millicent, or Missy, going to the local park to see the pond being cleared of fish. Her husband is no longer with her, her son and beloved Grandson are in Australia, and she has had a major row with her daughter so Missy is very alone. Her trip to the park, however, brings her to the attention of Sylvie and Angela, who has a son the same age as Missy’s Grandson, and they start to help Missy recover from her losses. Angela asks her to look after Bobby, her friend’s dog, and Missy finds a new community with local dog walkers.

Kathy Howell

A delightful book that is sure to delight a large variety of reading genres and is a must-read.

This is a charming delightful book and the story line is well written. Although it is written as a novel it reads as if it is the true account of an elderly lady's life who is living alone and is very current in today's elderly population.

Millicent - or Missy as she likes to be known as is living life on her own in a large house that has not changed since she got married many years ago. Her son and grandson are in Australia, her husband is dead and Missy has no other family. She feels the loneliness as she goes about her daily business but as she meets a variety of people who are willing to befriend her she tends to keep them at arms length, anxious about becoming too friendly.

Over a period of time she meets various people who offer to turn her life round the single mum with a son whom Missy soon substitutes for her grandson, the various dog walker and eventually looks after a dog from time to time and enjoys it, the student who finds a treasure trove of items in Missy's attic and begins to use them to bring her sparse home into a more livable house, the lady at the coffee shop who speaks to Missy but whom Missy tries to avoid for fear of becoming too friendly.

The story describes how Missy eventually becomes friends with them all once she has gained her self confidence and thus she begins to be less wary of people and realises as what is written on the front cover of the book 'Help was on my doorstep all I had to do was let it in'.

A lovely story with a happy ending and a terrific read!

Catherine Bryce

A funny insight into the life of Missy, a lonely old lady who realises that new friendships bring new experiences, family relationships can be saved and secrets bring close bonds with the most unlikely people.

A heartwarming story of unlikely friendships that evolve around the central character Millicent (Missy). A story of a lonely lady that has kept herself isolated until one day she is 'saved' by an unlikely future friend. As time progresses, Missy's new found confidence allows new friendships to develop, old and new memories to be uncovered, and family relationships to be saved. As secrets unravel and close bonds formed, Missy is finally able to let go and allow people into her home and life. A funny insight into the life of an old lady who accepts the trials and tribulations that life has bought her as well as new experiences that life can still bring her if she lets it.

Katie Levers

What a wonderful novel this is!

I really enjoyed this story as it was skillfully written by an author who has a real connection with emotions such as loss, rejection and loneliness. I believe that in order to write successfully about a subject one must have experienced it whatever the theme and here the author has excelled.

The alternate chapters reflecting on Missy's earlier life evoking her experience of loneliness and rejection were a telling contrast to the present day with newfound friends.

Most touching was the relationship with Bobby, her doggy on loan. There was such tenderness between Missy and her scruffy, smelly charge that I wept when their partnership came to an end.

Such a poignant moment in the final pages of the book as I read of Leo and I was willing the writing to continue...but the story was told and the tale was ended and I felt empty.

A tremendous read by a skilled writer...thank you, for the reading of it was a privilege.

Siobhan McDowell

A beautifully written story which seamlessly glides from Missy’s past to the present day. This book has many poignant moments which will leave you thinking about it long after you have read the final page.

Missy Carmichael is in her 70’s and is rattling around in the family home alone. Her children flew the nest many years ago and are very infrequent visitors. Missy has no particular friends, though you get the impression that she is not really lonely and is quite happy in her own company. 

At an informal get together at the fish pond in the local park, Missy meets some people with whom she has nothing in common. They forge a friendship which sees them helping each other. Missy soon realises the importance of friends enhancing your life and just what has been missing from her life.

A beautifully written story which seamlessly glides from Missy’s past to the present day. This book has many poignant moments which will leave you thinking about it long after you have read the final page.

Gail Phillips

A story of courage, love and friendship - a must read for everyone.

I loved this heartwarming and very readable ‘coming of age’ story. The story of Missy is told through flashbacks to her past which gives you an insight into how she became the isolated closed up lady of the start of the story. This is a story of love, friendship, sacrifice and the sadness of loneliness. Missy finds friendship, becomes part of a community and gains new meaning to her life - to see it all apparently disappear before her eyes. It is then up to her new community to save her.

I loved this heartwarming story of Missy and how she changes from a sad, lonely and closed off individual. It is a story of love, friendship, sacrifice and loneliness. Missy finds friendship, community and meaning after doing a small favour for a new friend - taking in Bobby (a canine friend). This first step opens up new relationships, absorbs her time and gives her the push to repair the relationship with her daughter. Her new life begins to unravel and Missy has to take help from her new community of friends. There is sadness in this novel in her relationships with her children, her husband and her ‘lost child’. However ultimately she finds a way through. A story of courage, love and friendship - a must read for everyone.

All the characters who surround Missy are beautifully drawn and charm. The narrative builds beautifully allowing you to gradually learn more about Missy and her key relationships. I felt sadness for Missy but ultimately the author brings a bittersweet conclusion to the story of Missy and her husband, Leo.

A must-read book dealing sensitively with the issue of isolation and depression in old age.

Heather Howarth

What a lovely read!

What a lovely read! This story is about Missy. She is a wife, mother and grandmother. She is living all by herself and not coping well. The dynamics of the family has changed. Missy can't cope with the family falling away from her. The way she copes is to drink and stay in the house. One day when she was out, a lady spoke to her. That was the start of her changing her life. She let people in and a dog. She learned to love herself and let strangers become friends who brought her love and life. You find out what her life has been like and how completely isolated and guilty she feels about things from the past. She learns to love and forgive. I really enjoyed this book.

Diana Mason

A beautiful read, written with sensitivity and understanding yet managing to be both humorous and so accurately observant of life at the same time.

What a beautiful book, interestingly and sensitively written. I loved the way Missy is slowly revealed and characterised. As the seasons change, a little more is discovered and the real character of Missy starts to appear. The plot is slowly unfolded with clever twists and some humorous and touching insights into the life of an elderly lady. Her need for privacy and order is so real and touching and the protection of her space and the life she had with her husband are cleverly revealed.
Her attitude to letting go and accepting help is so believable and touching. I was just willing it all to work out for Missy. Oh, for friends like hers!
I loved this book and made me think of the relationships between generations. I was going to lend it to my mother, but I think it is too close to reality.


This book gave me hope that people are still decent and sociable and inside everyone has a character bursting to get out. Perfect book for cold autumnal days on the sofa. An even better book than Eleanor Oliphant.

However, I was a little disappointed in the first few chapters - I thought I would not be able to finish it. Nevertheless, I persevered and I am really happy I did.
This book has been compared to Eleanor Oliphant but I am pushing it out there that this book is better. It gave me more promise than that book and it had more imagination with its characters.
I found the storyline of an older lady struggling to be on her own very poignant for our time where many older people no longer have a social network to rely on and are often ignored in the larger stores and streets in society. This book gave me hope that people can still be decent and sociable and that inside everyone there is a character that shines.
I will definitely be looking out for more Beth Morrey books in the future and recommend this book for a cold autumnal day cuddled up on your sofa with your blanket and your cup of tea. Perfect!

Sinead Blowers

A must- read book about friendship and discovery that you will find hard to put down. Beth Morrey has created some wonderful characters and keeps you hooked from start to finish!

A must-read book about friendship and discovery that you will find hard to put down.

I absolutely loved everything about this book from start to finish. Saving Missy is a beautifully written book that is so enjoyable and easy to read.

The book is written from the point of view of the main character, Missy, and it gives a beautiful insight into her life. The book deals so well with the themes of loneliness and isolation of the elderly but in such an engaging way. I have read so many books based around a younger character but I love the fact that Missy is an older lady and that we discover so much about her as the book progresses. Beth Morrey has you guessing from the start about the relationships that Missy has had throughout her life and cleverly reveals details about Missy’s husband and family through flashbacks. As the story develops, Missy re-discovers herself and adapts to a different life. There are so many mixed emotions as you read this book including sadness and sympathy, but it is threaded very cleverly with humour which I particularly enjoyed.

This is an uplifting story that is beautifully written and deserves to do well!

Catherine Richardson

I fell in love with Missy as well as Beth Morrey's writing- bring on more books, please!

Saving Missy is a story about a year in the life of Missy and how over the course of that year her attitudes towards family, friends, relationship and fun all change dramatically. I felt invested in the story straight away and really liked Missy and the cast of characters. The novel jumps back in time which I sometimes find complicated and strained but felt like the flashback chapters fit in with the rest of the story well. If you are looking for an uplifting, life-affirming read, then this book is for you. I finished the book with a smile on my face which is a great feeling. I really liked Morrey's writing style and could not believe that this was her debut novel. I cannot wait to read more from her.

Rebecca Gilpin

A beautiful story and a brilliant debut. I feel privileged to have met and made friends with Missy Carmichael!

Oh how I loved Missy! Beth Morrey’s debut novel Saving Missy, is a wonderfully heart-warming tale of overcoming loneliness, forming friendships and accepting the kindness of strangers in a superb ‘coming of old’ story.
The world has changed around Missy Carmichael. At seventy-nine, she's estranged from her daughter, and her son and only grandson live across the world. She spends her days drinking sherry in her big empty house, reliving her past. However, it's her mistakes and secrets that she dwells on the most. The last thing Missy expects is for two perfect strangers and one lively dog to break through her prickly exterior and show her just how much love she still has to give.
It’s impossible not to immediately form a bond with Missy, she’s one of those women who are prickly, unknowingly cause offence and have fierce opinions but are instantly likeable at a first meeting and someone who has so much to give, given the opportunity. Her unlikely friendship with single mother Angela, an Irish plain speaking journalist and her son Otis made for some fabulous scenes. When Missy takes on a dog that needs a temporary home, her hardened shell begins to thaw and she realises so much love can come from having a pet. Taking her into the local park and meeting other dog walkers, she forms new friendships and begins to enjoy her different routines. Missy starts to enjoy her regular walks and suddenly she’s no longer lonely and stuck in a rut.
A deliciously uplifting and heartwarming tale that tugs on all your heartstrings (keep some tissues handy for one particularly emotional scene) and seeing life through new eyes in a near eighty year old woman gives the reader hope that we never need to be alone at any age.
A beautiful story and a brilliant debut that is already doing well and going down a storm with readers of all ages and I feel privileged to have met and made friends with Missy Carmichael!

Miriam Smith

Beth Morrey Press Reviews

`One of the biggest titles among a deluge of fiction following the trend for uplifting literature' Guardian

`One [debut author] has had 10 publishers fighting over her `coming-of-old' tale' Daily Telegraph

`The most buzzed-about novel at the Frankfurt Book Fair' Sunday Times Culture

‘Bittersweet, tender, thoughtful and uplifting. Reminds you that everyone deserves a second chance. I loved it’ Nina Stibbe, author of Reasons to be Cheerful

‘A beautiful story about love, loss, guilt and the power of friendship’ Jill Mansell, author of Maybe This Time

‘The most beautiful and moving book I’ve read in a long time’ Emma Flint, author of Little Deaths

‘A generous-hearted story showing the transformative power of friendship and community … A fabulously enjoyable book’ Sarah Haywood, author of The Cactus

‘A heartwarming tale of sacrifice, courage and reward – a hymn to the power of basic human kindness’ Rosie Walsh, author of The Man Who Didn’t Call

‘A soulful, refreshing and tender book, written with grace, humour and empathy’ Stephanie Butland, author of Lost for Words

‘Moving but not sentimental … [a character] as complex, frustrating, vulnerable and surprising as any I’ve met in print’ Eleanor Wasserberg, author of Foxlowe

‘A book for our times: a heartfelt reminder of the affirmative joy of not just being kind to others, but also to yourself’ Piers Torday The Lost Magician

‘An exquisitely written and uplifting novel about the power and importance of human connection. A book to hold close to your chest when you’ve finished and feel comforted, warmed and inspired’ Katy Regan, author of Little Big Love

‘A joyful, tender, life affirming STUNNER of a book’ Cressida McLaughlin, author of The Cornish Cream Tea Bus


‘For everyone with an Eleanor Oliphant-shaped hole in their heart, this is the book to fill it’ Eithne Shortall, author of Grace After Henry

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9780008334062
Publication date: 04/03/2021
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780008334024
Publication date: 06/02/2020
Format: Hardback

ISBN: 9780008334055
Publication date: 06/02/2020
Format: Audiobook

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About Beth Morrey

Beth Morrey is an ex-TV producer who was behind shows you watched and loved, like The Secret Life of 4 Year Olds; shows you might not have watched but would enjoy, like 100 Year Old Drivers; and shows that you haven’t watched and maybe shouldn’t, like Sun, Sex & Suspicious Parents.  Since her early twenties, Beth has been trying to write a book. Her first attempt was a spin-off from Mary Poppins called ‘Sister Suffragette’, which was all about Winifred Banks’ adventures when she wasn’t at home singing. It’s ...

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