Combining the characters and social commentary of literary fiction with the addictive page-turning of a mystery, Margaret Leaving is a book for serious readers. It's long, the sentences are long, the vocabulary is extensive and idiosyncratically English. The settings may be foreign to you and the predicaments the characters find themselves in surprising. There is a lot of history. What's not to like?
Jenny North, seventeen in 1967, loses her stepmother, not through carelessness but because she, Margaret of the title, walked out. For fifteen years Jenny vacillates between desperately seeking Margaret and trying to get her out of her life altogether. Events of the shadowy period following the second world war and misunderstandings about relationships are involved. Revealing too much more plot would be a spoiler. Why did Margaret Leave? This is a mystery, after all.
Jenny has three good friends who stand by this rather prickly, self absorbed history student in her struggle to come to terms with the fact of Margaret. Read the book to get to meet Bev, Emily and Alan. Why they want Jenny as a friend might be one of the questions you ask yourself. She's not your everyday hero with a problem to solve.
If you like asking yourself questions as you read, like history, and like a plot where every twist counts, then this is a book for you.