Monday 13 June 2022

Lawson, Mary "A Town Called Solace"

Lawson, Mary "A Town Called Solace" - 2021

I've been looking forward for this book to appear as a paperback for as long as it has been announced to be published. I have read all of Mary Lawson's books and this one was just as excellent as all her others. She has been recommended to me a long time ago by a dear Canadian friend who also was called Mary and who has passed away since. So, reading her books always reminds me of my friend (not that I need a special reminder).

I thought the story was captivating, one of the rare books where I was really tempted to read further toward the end because I wanted to know what's going to happen. But I know how much that spoils the enjoyment of a book so I never give in.

Three people tell their stories. At the beginning, they don't seem to have much in common. Seven year old Clara is Elizabeth's neighbour and looks after her cat while the elderly woman is in hospital. Liam knew Elizabeth when he was little, or rather the other way around because he doesn't seem to remember much about that time.

Life in small town "Solace" isn't as picturesque as some people want to describe life in those places. And so, all three of them have to handle their problems.

Nobody in Mary Lawson's exceptionally good novels seems to be without problems, and that makes her stories so believable. You get to know the characters so well because she has a unique way of portraying them. You can't but like Clara, Elizabeth and Liam. And dislike those a little bit who make their lives so difficult. Reading this book is almost like living there yourself.

Through her stories, these characters and their town come to life. She writes thought-provoking novels. I hope she'll continue doing this for a long time.

From the back cover:

"Clara's rebellious older sister is missing. Grief-stricken and bewildered, she yearns to uncover the truth about what happened.

Liam, newly divorced and newly unemployed, moves into the house next door and within hours gets a visit from the police.

Elizabeth is thinking about a crime committed thirty years ago, one that had tragic consequences for two families. She desperately wants to make amends before she dies.

This book was longlisted for the Booker Prize in 2021. It certainly would have deserved the prize but I believe the Booker people have another way of choosing their winners as I would.


  1. I read a review of this book last year and thought it sounded good then. I think it's the fact that one of the main narrators is a seven-year-old girl that really makes me want to read it. Great review! :)

    1. I have loved all of Mary Lawson's books and, come to think about it, they always centre about families and there is usually a young girl or woman involved. But they are all so different. I hope you will read one of her books and enjoy them just as much as I do.

  2. I have never heard of her, but there is another one for future reading, I think.

    1. Oh, definitely, Lisbeth. Our book club loved her and she is one of my favourite authors. I'm sure you'll enjoy her.

  3. The title drew my attention immediately. It reminded me of A Town like Alice.

    I haven't heard of Solace, but I am definitely intrigued now and will take a look. Thanks for bringing it under our attention!

    Hope you have a good weekend to look forward to.

    Elza Reads

    1. Thank you, Elza. This is my fourth book by Mary Lawson (she hasn't written more, yet, otherwise I'd have read more). I love them all.

      The town Solace doesn't exist, it's made up but represents many Canadian towns like that.

      Her books are all fantastic.