From the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Carer Deborah Moggach’s The Black Dress is a beautifully observed, darkly funny, tender and surprising novel about life changes and the unexpected twists and pleasures of being alone.
Pru is on her own. But then, so are plenty of other people. And while the loneliness can be overwhelming, surely she’ll find a party somewhere?
Pru’s husband has walked out, leaving her alone to contemplate her future. She’s missing not so much him, but the life they once had – picnicking on the beach with small children, laughing together, nestling up like spoons in the cutlery drawer as they sleep. Now there’s just a dip on one side of the bed and no-one to fill it.
In a daze, Pru goes off to a friend’s funeral. Usual old hymns, words of praise and a eulogy but…it doesn’t sound like the friend Pru knew. And it isn’t. She’s gone to the wrong service. Everyone was very welcoming, it was – oddly – a laugh, and more excitement than she’s had for ages. So she buys a little black dress in a charity shop and thinks, now I’m all set, why not go to another? I mean, people don’t want to make a scene at a funeral, do they? No-one will challenge her – and what harm can it do?
Prudence, suddenly finds herself alone when her husband decides, after a cancer scare, to shed his possessions and start his spiritual journey. Can a black dress she spots in a charity shop be the answer to conquering her loneliness?
Prudence although the heart of the story, I was ambivalent about her. Sometimes she had my sympathy and other times I wanted to shake her from her morose mood swings. He really wasn’t worth the tears and heartache Pru!
This book had me feeling a whole gamut of emotions. I instantly fell in love with one of the characters only to be left so shocked by her reprehensible behaviour that the love I felt for her disintegrated more with each page turn.
This is precisely why this author is so good, she captures normalcy and people for all that they are. The quirks, the flaws, their behaviour, the things we both love and hate about others. There is something almost magical about the way she writes older characters. They have more life experience, more baggage and there is almost a freedom in their behaviour. Being of a certain age the truth of life being short and feeling closer and more real is my best explanation for it.
The story is packed full of charm, dry humour and abject loneliness. All wrapped up with a nice little twist I wasn’t expecting.
About the author
Deborah Moggach, OBE, is a British novelist and an award-winning screenwriter. She has written twenty novels, including Tulip Fever, These Foolish Things (which became the bestselling novel and film The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel), and The Carer. She lives in London.
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