“…utterly delightful.” “…like slipping into a warm bath…” “…A truly lovely book, gently incisive, witty and engaging…”
Leonard Mutch has just discovered his wife was lying to him for years – but can he bear to uncover the truth?
Leonard and Rose Mutch were happily married for forty years. But after her sudden death, Leonard is shocked to find a train ticket in her handbag to a town Rose had never visited. Then a letter arrives from a childhood friend of Rose’s, hinting at a past she never told him about.
Reluctantly embarking on an investigation into the life of the woman he thought he knew as well as himself, Leonard is faced with questions that threaten to destroy his happy memories. Why did Rose secretly leave work every Tuesday? Why did she tell lies about her family? And why is their daughter so desperate for him to stop digging into the past?
As his whole life threatens to unravel, Leonard must make an impossible choice – between his memories and a truth he could never have imagined…
From the bestselling author of The Most Beautiful Thing, Small Kindnesses is a gripping and ultimately life-affirming novel that explores the power of secrets and the healing qualities of love.
Previously published as ‘The Blue Handbag’.
Reviews for Small Kindnesses
“A truly lovely book, gently incisive, witty and engaging.
Small Kindnesses by Fiona Robyn is utterly delightful. Leonard, a widower, finds a railway ticket in an old handbag belonging to his late wife Rose. The ticket to Didcot, together with a letter from an old school friend of Rose, set Leonard off on a trail of discovery. A closely observed portrait of an extended family, as well as a study in grief and identity, Small Kindnesses is vibrant and real. Leonard is lightly flawed and very likable as he deals with crisis after crisis without Rose’s help and advice. Robyn highlights the double whammy that is every widow and widower’s main tragedy: the dealing with grief and trauma without the help of the lost spouse. It is, as you would expect, touching, but it is far from soppy and makes you smile time after time.” ~ C L Hawley
“Reading Small Kindnesses was like slipping into a warm bath. It’s a profoundly gentle read, and is none the worse for that. Robyn eases us through the lives of her characters (in particular, the grieving Leonard) with a great eye for detail and telling characterisation. The central mystery (that Leonard’s beloved wife appears to have had another, secret, life before she died) is only part of the story. The true emotional thrust of the book lies in the way that all the characters’ lives are riddled with faultlines, which are ripped open with the smallest of disturbances. I found Robyn’s gentle, humane voice to be utterly engaging, and also profoundly relaxing. Would recommend.” ~ Stripeyreader via Amazon
“I thoroughly enjoyed meeting all the characters in Small Kindnesses – I couldn’t put it down, I was so completely engaged in Leonard’s search. Having discovered the plot, I am tempted to re-read this book to savour the observation and characterisation. I loved that Leonard, a gardener, needed to allow any new ideas to germinate and grow before dealing with the next phase. I chuckled at the humour of Pickles moments, Leonard’s occasional flights of fancy, and the author’s wry and witty turn of phrase, but life’s less amusing realities underpin this layered and interesting book.” ~ R. E. Carver
Praise for my previous novels:
“Robyn is the real thing. A gifted writer who understands the complexities of the human soul.” Jacqui Lofthouse
“Fiona Robyn is a thoughtful and moving writer, who has a great sense of human emotion.” Michael Kimball
“Wise, true and moving. Thaw poses important questions about how and why we live.” Esther Morgan