REVIEWED BY KAREN BYROM
Will Mr Doubler be able to re-engage with life as he steps out of his comfort zone to help others? A charming read you won’t want to miss!
I read this book when it came out in hardback in January, and I have to say that I couldn’t have started off my year with a better read! It kept me enthralled through a long plane trip to Mexico – if you’re by a pool in Cancun, look out for my well-thumbed copy!
The story introduces us to Doubler, a potato farmer who’s lived as a recluse for many years, and devoted all his time to the growing of the perfect potato. He’s determined to achieve fame and recognition in the field, as it were.
His only companion is his cleaner, Mrs Millwood – but when she goes off sick, Doubler has to reassess his situation. She sends her daughter Midge around to galvanise him into action, insisting that he takes her place on the committee of the local animal sanctuary. There he comes into contact with the Colonel, Olive, Derek, Paula and Mabel – all lonely oddballs in their own way.
Summoning up the courage to step out of his comfort zone, Doubler gradually begins to re-engage with the world.
He’s not the only one with problems…
He finds that his fellow animal sanctuary volunteers each has their own problems – and sets about finding solutions for them.
And all the while, his own life takes on interest and colour as he discovers his lost spirit and squares up to his grasping son, reaches a new understanding with his gentle daughter and faces down a hostile takeover bid from conglomerate farmer Mr Peel.
Of course he does not neglect Mrs Millwood. She may not come to the farm any more, but she is always in the background, encouraging Doubler to believe in his own worth and to accept that mistakes he made in the past do not mean that he now deserves no happiness.
Will Doubler find true happiness in his quest for the holy grail of the perfect potato? Or does contentment lie in discovering that people aren’t so bad, after all?
It only takes a few pages to fall in love with Mr Doubler. He may be “prone to blight” in the words of Mrs Millwood, but he is a truly engaging character who grows on you as surely as his potatoes grow in the field.
A charming read from accomplished writer Seni Glaister, whose first book The Museum of Things Left Behind was an instant bestseller.