Hello Book Lover,
I don’t often get approached by authors but when I do I am overjoyed, Sue emailed me to ask if I would like to read and review her debut Note to Boy which has recently been published by Unbound. After a little google and reading the press release I said that I would really love to read it, I am so glad that I did because what I found was a heart-warming, darkly comedic book about friendship in the most unusual of places.
Eloise is an erratic, faded fashionista. Bradley is a glum but wily teenager.
In need of help to write her racy 1960s memoirs, the former ‘shock frock’ fashion guru tolerates his common ways. Unable to remember his name, she calls him Boy. Desperate to escape a brutal home life, he puts up with her bossiness and confusing notes.
Both guard secrets. How did she lose her fame and fortune? What’s he scheming – beyond getting his hands on her bank card? And just what’s hidden in that mysterious locked room?
Oh how this book tickled me, how I got nervous when I thought that things were going to take a turn and how I am grateful for Sue to reaching out because it was the perfect book, just the book I needed at the time of reading.
Seventeen year old Bradley Mcreedy answers an ad he see in the local newsagents;
“Wanted!! Urgent!! Refined, respectable lady autoress seeks domestic assistant of same ilk. Usual rates.”
Bradley decides that he has nothing to lose and responds to the ad, what Bradley doesn’t realise is that by answering that ad, his life is going to change, and change dramatically.
Eloise Slaughter, lives in a respectable house called Courtland Mansions, she is a lady of a certain age, who knows what she likes and will not stand any messing – think a cross between Patsy from Ab Fab and Bet Lynch from Corrie. Eloise is hell bent on sharing her secret, she was once one of the movers and shakers of the 1960’s, forget Twiggy, The Stones and Cilla – Eloise Slaughter was the name on everyone’s lips and she wants to remind everyone of this by publishing her salacious memoirs.
Bradely lives with his brother, and mother both of whom he has a difficult relationships with, his family history is a difficult one, blighted by domestic abuse, and his relationship with his brother is steeped in fear, fear of his next beating. Bradley is different as he has a birth mark which makes him incredibly self-conscious, he has grown his hair in order to hide this part of himself away from the world. When he meets Eloise, unusually she makes no comment on this, focusing instead of his poor pronunciation, inability to decipher her complex shopping lists and lack of grammar in his transcriptions.
Upon their first meeting Eloise is satisfied that Bradley is up to the job, hires him on the spot, immediately he is tasked with not only cleaning up her house which is in a bit of state to say the least, but she also tasks him with writing her memoirs, dictating them to him from her bed, bath or sofa. At first Bradley thinks that Eloise is inventing things from her past however when he mentions Eloise to the girl he fancies in the local coffee shop, she knows exactly who she is and as a budding fashion designer herself is keen to help him out any way that she can.
Bradley slowly wins the trust and confidence of Eloise, there friendship is far from perfect, her acerbic tongue keeps him in shape while her flow of cash keeps him in brand new threads and builds up his non existent confidence. Bradley finds that the role has developed his confidence, no longer is he satisfied with hiding in the shadows, he cuts of his hair, stands up to his brother and begins to think about the life he wants to carve out for himself and the future he feels he deserves.
I really loved reading Note To Boy, the dialogue between Eloise and Bradley, really did have me laughing to myself and at other times cringing as she described her wedding night and other sordid details to an embarrassed Bradley. Characters likes Trip, Dazzle, Bruno, Howie and her long running feud with Kristina Krabtree all gave life to the person Eloise was in her youth, the reasons why she was so mistrustful and why she was always on the outskirts of achieving something brilliant.
As we are coming out of lockdown this book is a perfect reminder that we all need companionship, we all need someone to talk to and share experiences with, that sometimes those friendships are found in the most unlikely of friendships and that sometimes maybe all we need is to answer that advert in your local newsagents.
Thank you to Sue Clark for sending me a copy of Note To Boy, which is out now, published by Unbound.