The Good Mayor by Andrew Nicholl

A look at my drafts shows me that I have not yet written about the past SIX books  I’ve read(The Good Mayor, Catching Fire, Beastly, Second Time Around, How Dolly Parton Saved My Life, Don’t You Forget About Me). Which is really dreadful. At least I wrote the titles in the drafts or I would probably not even remember what they were. I must get better about writing immediately after reading because that is when I am most heated up and passionate about a book (also will remember more details, like character names and such.) So, as I am sure they will all get short shrift in their write ups, but I am going to work backwards so at least some don’t. Thus, the book I finished yesterday, The Good Mayor.

mayorI absolutely adored this. I read about it in Chatelaine, a Canadian women’s magazine I subscribe to.  In the book section they often mention books that are really interesting to me, but not available here yet (if at all.)  Happily this one was easy to get a hold of.  This is a romantic charming, quirky story.  At its most basic, the town mayor is in love with his secretary, who is in a loveless marriage. She also loves him. One day they have lunch together and their love blossoms.  The story is told from the point of view of St. Walpurnia, a bearded nun who is the town’s saint and appears on all their official things and everyone prays to.  I can’t quite find the right way to describe the style of writing-it was sweet, it was funny, hmmm…does a review on amazon say it better than I can? Hmmm, no. Whimsical, fairy-taleish, magical, are all words used in the reviews, and I do agree with them.  It’s just charming, that’s really the best I can do. One of the things that I thought was so delightful about it (and adds to the fairy tale quality) was the not-real place and unspecified time. No details are given which would allow the year to be pinpointed-it seems old fashioned for sure, but who’s to say? They all ride the tram about the town and it feels very 1930s/40s/50s, but it is never said.  As for place? It takes place in the town of Dot (which is populated by Dottians.) Other places mentioned? The town of Umlaut, the coast of Dalmatia, the river Ampersand.  Very clever.

It’s all so sweet and happy that you realize there must be some conflict, and sure enough there is, which is actually quite sad.  I assumed it would all be typically resolved, so was sort of surprised when some magical things start to happen (lightly magical, as in magical realism) and I wasn’t whether or not to believe something had happened. I thought it didn’t quite match the first 75% of the book. Overall, though, I really was just so taken with this and loved the little details and especially the early flushes of love and how they are described in a way just short of being erotic. It made me want to put on a dress and ride a tram!

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