Small Pleasures by Clare Chambers


Sevenoaks 2020 Book of the Year


If you can bear to have your heart broken, this book is a gloriously beautiful read – with local Kentish scenes, picnics, fruit picking, romance, wonderfully written characters – a really great novel.

Out of stock


1957, south-east suburbs of London. Jean Swinney is a feature writer on a local paper, disappointed in love and – on the brink of 40 – living a limited existence with her truculent mother: a small life from which there is no likelihood of escape. When a young Swiss woman, Gretchen Tilbury, contacts the paper to claim that her daughter is the result of a virgin birth, it is down to Jean to discover whether she is a miracle or a fraud. But the more Jean investigates, the more her life becomes strangely (and not unpleasantly) intertwined with that of the Tilburys: Gretchen is now a friend, and her quirky and charming daughter Margaret a sort of surrogate child. And Jean doesn’t mean to fall in love with Gretchen’s husband, Howard, but Howard surprises her with his dry wit, his intelligence and his kindness – and when she does fall, she falls hard.

Additional information

Weight 540 g
Dimensions 36 × 160 × 238 mm