I am extremely, ridiculously lucky in that the good people at Random House send me review copies of some of their books. I don't write a post about every single one of them. Sometimes, I simply don't have time (loved The Lady Elizabeth, but life went crazy..and now the moment has passed). Some don't inspire me (sorry Vassanji, I'm usually a fan, but you lost me on this one). Sometimes, the book is amazing, but other bloggers posted way better reviews and I feel like I have nothing to add. (Have you read Six Months in Sudan? You should. It's the exact opposite of 'my type of book', and I loved it. Loved. Go read Kgirl's summary.)
But sometimes, I am truly enamoured by a book and I feel that I have to say something - even if it sucks as a 'review' - about it. This is the case with The Good Mayor. I was trawling Chapters looking for something to read, and finding nothing when I came across this book by an author that I'd never heard of. And no wonder, it's Andrew Nicoll's first book. The quaint, sepia cover caught my eye (I totally judge a book by it's cover. Totally. And the way it feels in my hands when I pick it up. I'm very tactile. And weird.), as did the quote:
'Simply makes you want to go out and fall in love with someone.'
I won't bore you with a summary of the story - especially as when you talk about 'what happens', it's really just a) the Mayor is in love with his secretary b) his secretary is married c) her husband sucks d) she starts to fall in love with the mayor. Not much to it, right?
I don't know how to describe it, except to say it's...magical. Nicoll has a way with words that is quite remarkable. Rich, plummy, unexpectedly descriptive words give this novel an offbeat charm that is simply entrancing. I had a hard time putting it down. I kept finding little chunks of time to read whatever I could, as often as I could. I was recommending it to people before I even finished it.
I was entirely captivated. The (surprise) twist near the end (which I won't reveal) was a little off-putting. But it was the only time that I was not completely under this book's spell. This is one that I think I will keep and read again. And again. A perfect, lovely, summer treasure. I look forward to more from this author.