Title: Missing Words
Writer: Loree Westron
Publishing House: Fairlight Books
Date of Publication: August 5th 2021
Rating: 4 stars
‘’Life is nothing without you in it.’’
Jenny works at the post office in Portsmouth during the time of the strikes in the 1908s. Having to cope with sexism, a husband who almost doesn’t acknowledge her existence, a daughter who is in need of a proper reprimanding and a mother who doesn’t deserve to be called thus, she finds a purpose when a postcard falls in her hands, sent by a young man named Michael to Deborah who presumably resides in the Isle of Wight. Unwilling to trust the Dead letter Office, Jenny begins a quest to deliver the postcard herself. Because we’ve all had that moment when we allowed life to pass us by, yielding to the wishes of others, ignoring and suppressing our own. And for me – and speaking from a personal experience – this is the greatest mistake one can make.
‘’Across the seafront, the common lies empty and behind it the dormant city stretches in a jugged outline of council blocks and sleeping seaside hotels. All is quiet now but for the screaming gulls that harry a fishing boat as it sails into the harbour. Across the water to the south, the island’s silhouette spreads outwards in gentle waves.’’
Loree Westron creates a moving story of a woman who was mercilessly hit by Fate. Jenny tries to please everyone – and none of them actually deserves it, in my opinion – while being suffocated day by day by memories and guilt. Young love and the ONE wrong choice of the past motivate her determination to not let the prospects of a young couple go to waste. It may seem a fool’s errand but for once, she will do what she wants and not what she is told to.
The Isle of Wight is a superb setting for the story. There are so many paragraphs of immense beauty where the atmosphere of the island is laid out before our eyes in all its glory. Its rugged setting corresponds to the storm in Jenny’s mind and the behaviour of her family that threaten to tear her to pieces. The ‘what-if’ that haunts us all provides the perfect basis for Jenny’s story is movingly executed.
I absolutely loved Jenny and the residents she met on the island. They provided necessary relief from the ‘’family’’ that I’d personally imprison in the deepest dungeons of Hell. Jenny sacrificed everything for a shrew of a mother, a docile bore of a husband and a stupid daughter who believes she knows the world at the age of 19. In my books, Jenny receives psychological abuse on a daily basis and if I were her they’d all receive a punch on the face in return before I walked away without looking back. Also, people who believe that degrees are useless can go to Hell and leave us all in peace. Jenny is a character dealing with an unbearable loss all alone and she holds the story together perfectly.
And don’t even get me started on corrupted ‘unions’ that become twice as bad as the ‘’system’’ they aim to bring down. Yes, welcome to the reality.
Unfortunately, the closure felt unsatisfying. We all have different ways in which we view the world, I suppose Jenny’s and mine were quite opposite in the end. However, this is strictly a personal opinion and this novella is another beautiful addition to the series of Fairlight Moderns.
‘’In the distance, an ancient oak, its twisted branches held white against the horizon, stands like a sentinel at the centre of a wheat field: its forest brethren, axed long ago, turned to sailing ships or dovetailed beams, dining tables or smoke. The sight of it fills Jenny with an old sadness. So much has been swept away; so much has been lost.’’
Many thanks to Fairlight Books and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.