The House of Marvellous Books

by Fiona Vigo Marshall

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LoveReading Expert Review of The House of Marvellous Books

This wryly funny, affectionate account of a near-to-collapse publishing house sparkles with a cast of quirky characters and knowing ennui.

Drawing on her experience of working in small publishing houses, Fiona Vigo Marshall’s The House of Marvellous Books will elicit knowing chuckles and roars from industry insiders - think fractious cover and acquisition meetings, pre-book-fair frenzies, authors’ idiosyncrasies and copious cake - plus there’s plenty of jaunty drama and human interest to satisfy readers from beyond the book world. 

Told from the point of view of junior editor Mortimer Blackeley-Smith as he logs the daily downs of his workplace (there aren’t many ups to speak of), The House of Marvellous Books publishing company is run from a near-ruined library in central London, with an equally ruined bank account. The obscure religious and spiritual subjects the editors commission are hardly likely to storm bestseller lists, as the splendidly bizarre book titles suggest - Twiglets: Poems written sleeping under trees, What Trees Talk About When They Talk About Love, I Messaged God at Bedtime, Deer Scat: Poetic droppings from an earth elder. What’s more, most of their authors fail to deliver what they promised, when they promised, and Production have been known to forget to send books to print.

Amidst this maelstrom, aged Chief Editor Drusilla believes the missing - and priceless - Daybreak Manuscript might save the company from ruination, but does it even exist? Most employees are unconvinced, while rumours about being bought by Russians are spreading like wildfire through a book warehouse.

With an undercurrent of melancholic optimism, and an amusing cast of eccentric individuals who rather resemble a thrown together, dysfunctional family, this will charm and entertain fans of wry, dry humour. 

Joanne Owen

The House of Marvellous Books Synopsis

Tucked away in a near-derelict library in the centre of London, The House of Marvellous Books is a publishing house on the brink of financial disaster. With assistant Ursula asleep at her desk, head publisher Gerard going health and safety mad, and chief editor Drusilla focused on finding a supposedly priceless but famously missing manuscript, there is hardly anyone left to steer the ship.

Young Mortimer Blackeley-Smith, junior editor, charts the descent of the House in his logbook as it lurches from one failure to the next. Will mysterious Russian buyers, lurking in the wings, finally sink the ship? Or will Drusilla find the legendary Daybreak Manuscript and save the day? With witty and sharp observations, Fiona Vigo Marshall draws upon a career spent working in small publishing houses to create a laugh-out-loud ode to the publishing industry.

About This Edition

ISBN: 9781914148095
Publication date: 19th May 2022
Author: Fiona Vigo Marshall
Publisher: Fairlight Books
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 320 pages
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Primary Genre Literary Fiction
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Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781914148095
Publication date: 19/05/2022
Format: Hardback

ISBN: 9781914148101
Publication date: 19/05/2022
Format: Ebook

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About Fiona Vigo Marshall

Fiona Vigo Marshall is the author of Find Me Falling, published by Fairlight Books on 7 March 2019. After graduating from Somerville College, Oxford, Fiona started her career at a local newspaper. She then continued pursuing journalism in Mexico, working for the daily English language newspaper for Mexico City, The News, part of the Novedades group of Spanish language newspapers, covering news and features. On her return to London, Fiona worked as a publisher and freelance writer. Her short stories and poems have been nominated for numerous awards, including the V. S. Pritchett Memorial Prize, which she won in 2016 with her short ...

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