Wednesday 23 June 2021

Everyday Magic by Charlie Laidlaw - #BookReview

"When Carole was little, she found a magic clearing in the woods near her home. She had been exploring, surrounded by oak, birch, and hazel trees, picking her way carefully between bramble and nettle. There was birdsong, squirrels darting across branches, and patterns of sunlight on the woodland floor...

The grown up Carole (with an 'e' because she's punctilious about it) Gunn looks to be in her mid-thirties but, at the risk of offending her, is probably older, and who is taking her reluctant daughter to a piano lesson."

Carole Gunn leads an unfulfilled life and knows it. She's married to someone who may, or may not, be in New York on business and, to make things worse, the family's deaf cat has been run over by an electric car.

But something has been changing in Carole's mind. She's decided to revisit places that hold special significance for her. She wants to better understand herself, and whether the person she is now is simply an older version of the person she once was.

Instead, she's taken on an unlikely journey to confront her past, present and future.

Everyday Magic is an uplifting book filled with humour and poignancy, and reminds us that, while our pasts make us who we are, we can always change the course of our futures.


Initially, this book presents as a novel about a woman having a mid-life crisis. However, do not be fooled, because this is about so much more and makes for an enchanting read.

I have previously read two of the author's previous books, The Things We Learn When We're Dead and The Space Between Time. You can read my reviews by clicking on the title links. You will see that I very much enjoyed both of these books and they are well worth reading. However, Everyday Magic eclipses them both and is my favourite of the three.

One of the things that I loved about this book is that Carole is a character that is so easy to identify with. I know that I have sometimes reflected upon my life and wondered if I have achieved my potential and I do not doubt that many others have too. For me, I concluded that it is a work in progress.

It is also extremely funny at points. The author uses humour to portray Carole's life and self-doubt whilst making her a reliable narrator. She was an archaeology lecturer before events in her family made it impossible to continue. It was effortless to get swept up in her enthusiasm for her subject.

Mr Laidlaw has taken the bare bones from A Christmas Carol and put a whole new contemporary concept on it, employing modern devices and making the reader think this is a completely possible and realistic scenario.

The author has produced a compelling story. I absolutely enjoyed going on this journey of discovery with Carole. It is an uplifting book about reflecting on the past and discovering what is really important in our present and future. I highly recommend it and it is available in paperback and kindle versions.

ISBN: 978 1901514773

Publisher: Ringwood

About the Author;

Charlie Laidlaw is a PR consultant, teaches creative writing and lives in East Lothian. He is a graduate of the University of Edinburgh and was previously a national newspaper journalist and defence intelligence analyst. He has lived in London and Edinburgh and is married with two children, to whom this book is dedicated. His other novels are The Things We Learn When We're Dead, The Space Between Time, Being Alert! and Love Potions and Other Calamities.

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