**I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for participation in the blog tour**
What a pleasant surprise this book was.
We follow the rather mundane life of Sylvia. A fifty-something with a near nonexistent social life, no relationship and no real interests besides the Hedgehog Sanctuary she volunteers at. She's utterly in love with the Professor she works, not that he knows or really even if he did would care. After a series of unfortunate events, Sylvia ends up very isolated with only the Hedgehogs and Jonas their caretaker as friends. It's a book about picking yourself up, carrying on and making your life what you want it to be. Even if it isn't the most conventional.
At first, I wasn't a fan of Sylvia at all. I found her shallow, vindictive and a difficult protagonist to like. That is until the true colours of the people around her start to come out and you see how she's been somewhat manipulated to believe certain things. The man she was utterly devoted to turns out to be cruel, coldhearted and took advantage of everyone around him. Her brother-in-law was much the same. He manipulated a certain situation to paint himself in a better light and ostracise Sylvia further. I was fuming when I read that.
Help comes in the most unlikely of sources and this was the moment that I started to see how unfortunate Sylvia had been. She wasn't anything like I first thought. She was a caring, sensitive and loyal soul.
I loved how many different kinds of relationships were presented in this novel. There was a veritable smorgasbord from familial, to friendships, romantic relationships etc. Single parents families were represented, as was a mixed-race family and one character spent the latter half of the novel questioning her sexuality. I can't emphasise how much I loved this book in the end.
I think the hedgehog was an excellent motif for this novel. It suited Sylvia perfectly. She was prickly at first glance but when she allowed people to see the truest version of herself she was really a squishy sweetheart. A true slice of life novel that leaves you thinking there's always light at the end of the tunnel...and that your tunnel doesn't need to be like everyone elses.
A perfect summer read.
Author: Jane O'Connor
Publisher: Ebury Press
Have you read Needlemouse?
What did you think?
Thank you for reading,