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Virginia Kress

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Mr. Chartwell

Mr. Chartwell
Rebecca Hunt
The Dial Press
Publish date: 2011-02-01
$24.00
9781400069408
Hardcover

Review:

In Ms. Hunt’s utterly charming debut novel the reader will bear witness to the most phenomenally original use of the metaphor in writing that I have ever seen.  Set in 1964 London, there are two parallel stories at work here; one involving a recently widowed librarian Ms. Hammerhans, while the other is a story about Mr. Winston Churchill on the eve of his retirement from Parliament.  Both are facing major life altering situations that will ultimately force them to make serious and difficult life choices. 

            After the untimely death of her husband, Mrs. H decides to rent out a room in her home but when she opens her door to a potential boarder she is confronted by a huge black dog.  Although a bit unnerved, this oddly human like creature does carry an air of benevolence and the promise of comfort.  Does she really understand the choice she is making by allowing him in to her home and will this arrangement be temporary or has ‘Black Pat’ come to stay?

            Meanwhile in Chartwell, Mr. Churchill awakens to a dark, mute but all too familiar presence. You see Black Pat has been part of his life for a long time and is even acquainted with Churchill’s wife. He is facing a sad day by leaving his position as an eminent statesman.  Will he gather the presence of mind to fend off this persistent enemy or will he too fall prey to the cunning ways of Black Pat? 

   
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