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Beautifully penned novel set mainly in Launceston, CORNWALL

11th March 2023

Mother’s Boy by Patrick Gale, beautifully penned novel set mainly in Launceston, Cornwall.

Beautifully penned novel set mainly in Launceston, CORNWALL

I have long been a fan of Patrick Gale’s novels and this one is just – as expected – wonderful. It is the imagined story, using known facts of the life of Charles Causley, poet, teacher, wordsmith and all round gentle person. This feels like a full circle that loops me back to school days when some of his work was on the curriculum.

The story opens with Charlie, Charles’ father, returning from WW1, a very damaged man, who soon passes away, leaving  Charles in the sole care of his mother Laura.  She has to make ends meet by taking in washing. He has a good enough life in Launceston, though an overly tough time at school where he feels different. He is bright and sensitive and loves writing and theatre. And he senses he feels different to the other boys around him. Soon the clouds of WW2 gather an eventually he is off to join the navy, which takes him off to Gibraltar and Malta, in a permanent state of seasickness. His first boat is small and he graduates to a large vessel, which eases his permanent nausea.

This is such a beautifully told story of time and place, focussing on one person and the people around him. It is gentle storytelling at its best, with an inimitable choice of central character, who is a quiet force of nature and it is as much his story as it is of Laura, the mother who guides and keeps the proverbial home fires burning.

The sense of place is so well rendered, Cornwall is such a well crafted backdrop to the story.

A top read for 2023.

Tina for the TripFiction Team

Catch the author on Twitter @PNovelistGale and Instagram @trevilley

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