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  • Writer's pictureFran Clark

Book Review: The Last List of Mabel Beaumont by Laura Pearson

Book Cover of The Last List of Mabel Beaumont by Laura Pearson

An Exploration of Love & Loss

This has got to be one of my favourite books this year. It takes me ages to finish a book but this one had me coming back to it at faster intervals than I would normally. I'm usually to busy to find lots of time to read but this one was an exception

The book surprised me as it wasn't exactly what I was expecting. It was one I'm glad I took a chance on. I liked the blurb and the bright cover, too.

Before I get to the book review, I'll quickly share the book description, as given on Amazon.

The Blurb

Mabel Beaumont’s husband Arthur loved lists. He’d leave them for her everywhere. ‘Remember: eggs, butter, sugar’. ‘I love you: today, tomorrow, always’.

But now Arthur is gone. He died: softly, gently, not making a fuss. But he’s still left her a list. This one has just one item on it though: ‘Find D’.

Mabel feels sure she knows what it means. She must track down her best friend Dot, who she hasn’t seen since the fateful day she left more than sixty years ago.

It seems impossible. She doesn’t even know if Dot’s still alive. Also, every person Mabel talks to seems to need help first, with missing husbands, daughters, parents. Mabel finds her list is just getting longer, and she’s still no closer to finding Dot.

What she doesn’t know is that her list isn’t just about finding her old friend. And that if she can admit the secrets of the past, maybe she could even find happiness again…

My Book Review of The last List of Mabel Beaumont by Laura Pearson

This is a poignant and evocative tale that weaves together themes of love, loss, and the enduring power of friendship. Set against the backdrop of a small town, Pearson deftly crafts a narrative that involves a cast of women from several generations, exploring the complexities of relationships and the societal attitudes towards love, particularly lesbian love, both in the 1950s and the present day.

At the heart of the story is Mabel Beaumont, a woman whose life is defined by the choices she makes and those she doesn't. Pearson masterfully brings Mabel to life, portraying her as a complex and compelling character whose journey really resonated with me. As Mabel reflects on her past and grapples with her present, we’re drawn into her world, as she tries to unravel.

One of the most striking aspects of the novel is its cast of women who come together to support and uplift one another. Pearson’s narrative creates a diverse array of characters, each with their own hopes, fears, and dreams. Through their interactions, Pearson highlights the strength and resilience that can be found in female friendship, highlighting the importance of community and connection.

The novel also explores the attitudes towards lesbian love, both in the repressive 1950s and the more accepting present day. Pearson skilfully contrasts the secrecy and fear of the past with the openness and acceptance of the present, offering a poignant commentary on the progress that has been made, as well as the challenges that still remain.

Against the backdrop of the small town setting, Pearson paints a vivid portrait of a community of women who would not necessarily have met. Through her richly detailed prose, Pearson captures the essence of small-town life, infusing the narrative with a sense of nostalgia and longing.

Throughout the novel, Pearson skilfully navigates between past and present, employing flashbacks to shed light on Mabel's journey and the choices that have shaped her life. These glimpses into the past add depth and dimension to the narrative, allowing readers to piece together the puzzle of Mabel's life and understand the motivations behind her actions.

At its core, "The Last List of Mabel Beaumont" is a story about love in all its forms—romantic love, platonic love, and the love that exists between friends and family. Pearson explores the intricacies of human relationships with sensitivity and grace, offering a compelling meditation on the nature of love and the enduring power of forgiveness.

In conclusion, "The Last List of Mabel Beaumont" is a beautifully written novel that will resonate with readers long after they turn the final page. With its compelling characters, richly drawn setting, and thought-provoking themes, it is a must-read for anyone who appreciates heartfelt storytelling and the complexities of the human heart. Pearson's novel is a testament to the enduring power of love and the importance of seizing the moments that matter most, even in the face of wasted chances and regret.

I hope you enjoyed my book review of The Last List of Mabel Beaumont.

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