It’s 1975 and Laura Quinn has spent her entire life on the beautiful and desolate Whale Island but at 38 she is fast becoming a spinster. With the island folk convinced she is a bit odd, and her lover Martin Cronin seeming unwilling to marry her, Laura decides to take a job as a housekeeper on the Irish mainland.
Fast forward a year and Laura is back in her childhood home, and she now has someone with her; her infant son, Matthew. But the critical islanders and well-meaning strangers seem to think Laura’s best is just not good enough when it comes to her son and for a single woman in 1976 this could spell disaster for both of them.
Little Beauty is a striking book – not least when you pick it up, as the cover beautifully illustrates the beauty of Laura’s home, Whale Island, but also the grey, forbidding sea that is a constant force within the book.
I found Laura herself to be instantly likeable – she’s straightforward, you need to take her as you find her and she feels no need to impress anyone. Perhaps that is me looking at her with 2013 eyes, as the islanders of 1975 certainly don’t feel the same way about her and merely regard her as odd, so much so, her only friend on the island is a mute boy.
I can’t really go into much more detail without giving away massive spoilers, and since I don’t want to do that I’ll simply say that Little Beauty is a powerful novel, at turns tragic, but at others funny and for mothers it’s definitely a book to put in the freezer in a few places!
Little Beauty by Alison Jameson is out now published by Doubleday Ireland and priced at £14.99
Come back tomorrow for my conversation with Little Beauty’s author, Alison Jameson, plus there are five copies of Little Beauty to be won!