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The Misadventures of Margaret Finch

"Set in a 1930s seaside town, and sparked by true events, this radiantly characterful novel casts a thought-provoking spell as it evokes the spirit of an era."

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LoveReading Says

LoveReading Says

Inspired by real people and events that took place in Blackpool in the late 1930s as Britain braced itself for war, Claire McGlasson’s The Misadventures of Margaret Finch is an utterly charming, nuanced novel, with delicate details making it a thoroughly engaging joy.

Transporting readers back to a quintessentially British seaside town in an era that saw women compelled to hide their intellect, the novel is quite brilliant on the subject of perception, self-perception, and different ways of seeing and understanding, with extraordinary characterisation that captures the frustrations, longings and distinctly British awkwardness and eccentricities of its key players.

 It’s 1938 and Margaret, a demure, rule-following 25-year-old marred by a judgmental mother who hides the fact her daughter read maths at Cambridge, has taken a job in Mass Observation in Blackpool. Here Margaret is employed to use her keen eye and discretion to research British behaviour: “For the first time in her twenty-five years, being female is a benefit; being plain and wholly forgettable, an advantage”. While at school, “Margaret was taught that there were seven wonders of the world”, in Blackpool “she found one on every corner: ‘The Missing Link from Borneo’ and ‘The Glamour Twins: Identical In All Ways!’”

Among these “wonders”, Margaret finds herself fascinated by a disgraced Rector, Harold Davidson, who now exhibits himself in Blackpool — think of him as a 1930s David Blaine, albeit a man who’s also the subject of a national scandal. Margaret feels there’s more to Davidson’s story than meets the eye – is he “a bestiary of a predator who prayed on young girls in God’s name”, or is he “Harold the Hero: the Prostitutes’ Padre who devoted his life to helping unfortunate women escape from vice”?

Tingling with mystery and tension as Margaret totters in life, as Britain teeters on the brink of war, this walk her in her shoes is intimate, compelling and brilliantly unexpected.

Joanne Owen

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Primary Genre Historical Fiction
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