Mr Mac and Me – a Shiny New Books review

Just a quick post today to point you in the direction of the new Christmas ‘Inbetweeny’ issue of Shiny New Books which is packed with reviews, features and a Christmas quiz.


I was pleased to provide a review of Esther Freud’s latest novel, Mr Mac and Me. This is what the book is about:

Mr Mac and Me In Mr Mac and Me, Esther Freud paints a beautiful portrait of a small rural community and the ways in which it is affected by war. Our narrator is young Thomas Maggs, a quiet and observant thirteen-year-old boy who has grown up in the Blue Anchor Inn on the Suffolk coast. Life is difficult for Thomas and often very lonely; his father is an alcoholic, his mother is still grieving for the six babies she has lost, and his two sisters are growing up and have lives of their own now. Thomas wishes he could go to sea, but knows that his twisted foot will prevent him from pursuing that particular dream.

In 1914, two newcomers – a man and a woman – arrive in the village and begin to paint the flowers and the scenery. The man is the Scottish artist and architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh and the woman is his artist wife, Margaret MacDonald. With Margaret frequently returning to Glasgow, Mackintosh spends his time walking in the countryside, sketching, taking notes and looking out to sea. Recognising another lonely soul, Thomas befriends ‘Mr Mac’, joining him on his walks and watching him as he paints.

With the outbreak of war, however, the villagers become suspicious of Mr Mac and soon even Thomas begins to wonder why his new friend is receiving letters from Germany addressed to Herr Mackintosh. Has Mac really come to Suffolk just to admire the scenery or is he up to something more sinister?

You can read the rest of my review here and don’t forget to explore the rest of the new issue!

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