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Book Review: Every Shade of Happy – Phyllida Shrimpton ๐ŸŒˆ๐ŸŒˆ๐ŸŒˆ๐ŸŒˆ๐ŸŒˆ

Algernon is 97 and has a very strict daily routine. Each day is broken down into a highly structured regimen from shuffling to the corner shop to get his paper to feeding the cat (Cat, who adopted him) at 5.30 on the dot. All punctuated by the hideous carriage clock that he was gifted on retirement from a job that he hated. Every day.

Helene finds herself homeless when her partner Harry realises that he bats for the other side. Needing to find somewhere for her fifteen year old daughter Anna to live she has no alternative and contacts her estranged father who was displeased when she became pregnant out of wedlock, with no idea who Anna’s father was. Packing all their belongings into her small car they make the 300 mile trek to the old school house and an unknown reception from her father.

Beautifully written, you feel like you know all of the protagonists in this story. Not just characters on a page but real, fully fleshed, human beings. Crotchety Algernon Edward Maybury reminded me so much of my own grandfather (even down to the hearing aids and glasses!) and the book made me a little envious of Anna in that she got to have such an amazing relationship with him. By the time my grandfather came back into my life he was in the early throes of dementia so it was always a little stressful to say the least.

Every Shade of Happy is the first adult book by YA fiction writer Phyllida Shrimpton and the first book of hers that I have read. I really wasn’t expecting this story to touch me so much. By the end I was laughing and sobbing at the same time. Shrimpton has such a good grasp on what makes each of the individuals tick that the whole thing just feels so real. I’d love to see this picked up for a movie as it deserves a much wider audience than it will ultimately get as a novel.

Supplied by Net Galley and Aria in exchange for an honest review.

UK Publication date: Aug 18 2022. 366 pages.

Categories: Book Review


Prolific reader, enthusiastic theatre and movie-goer and ex-Olivier Awards judge who spent twenty years working in the music industry in London. Sharing my house with a gorgeous cockapoo called Harry who has taken over completely.
I love sharing my favourite books with friends - nearly always spoiler-free as I hate reading a synopsis of the whole book in other reviews.


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