Title: The Mirror Shop by Nicholas Bundock
Genre: Currently #2205 on Amazon Best Sellers Rank in Kindle eBooks, Literature & Fiction, Literary Fiction, British & Irish
Publisher: Amsterdam Publishers
Publication Date: To be released May 14, 2018
Source: Publisher request
Title and Cover: The Mirror Shop – Attractive cover hints at contents
Luke is a mirror shop owner who lives quietly in a small English countryside village. It would appear that although a bachelor, he leads a happy middle-age and tranquil life with a partner of almost 20 years, Eva, who is a psychotherapist. But Luke Brewer has hit that age and mid-life crisis slams into him with a poker-hot vengeance when an attractive young woman enters the shop and he falls teacup over kettle.
Apparently Luke is ripe for some excitement in his life. The tedium he performs day to day is suddenly broken by a mysterious, apparently well-to-do woman half his age, and he can’t help the constant slide of fantasies that begin to overwhelm his mind.
The prologue sets you up for a murder mystery. Then the book is divided into parts, introducing Eva, also a middle-aged professional happy with separate quarters being a long-term partner with privileges. Luke was one of her early emotive clients following a break-up that hit him hard. He is steady, reliable, reasonably intelligent (I’ll get to that later), and owns an antique mirror shop which is relatively successful. He employs Russ, who is skilled at gilting and together they repair, restore, and sell a variety of mirrors. Russ is also single and they have a comfortable working relationship.
Lest you think working a mirror shop has got to be boring, you’d be right. Wading through descriptions of mirror restoration is not my idea of a murder mystery and the first number of chapters tend to drag as the reader is busy asking him/herself, “Where is this going and how does this man end up killing someone?” After all, doesn’t that prologue lead you to believe where this is going? But Luke is a milk-toast. You can’t believe this man would commit a murder, so the reader must push on.
In the meantime, the reader glimpses the life of Luke, his interests that include an “allotment,” where he cultivates fresh vegetables and holds a friendship with the manager of the plot, exchanging knowledge and labor with him as well as Eva, their main shared interest.
Then enters Rhona (yoohoo–married!) and what happens to this man? His brains all go south and I’m issuing a constant audible, “What?!” You KNOW Rhona is not going to be a good thing but it does no good to warn him–he’s like the three monkeys–he sees, hears, speaks nothing that doesn’t ooze his besotted desperation. And he begins a slight distancing from Eva. Sometimes he feels a little guilty, but…he’s
In the meantime, Eva has her sources, and the source may not have her best interests at heart, but Eva gets an earful. This can’t go well, but at least Eva’s hormones have remained intact and she still possesses some wits about her.
Rhona has a very full life of her own and is very well developed so you know this is not a sincere woman. She has a track record; it isn’t attractive and she’s married to Alden. Alden is quietly desperate as well. Theirs is not the most loving marriage, but it is convenient.
Alden invites Luke to a unique event along with Russ, the latter of which can’t refuse the anticipated excitement, and Luke the opportunity to get close to Rhona.
At this point, you may think you know what is coming. I promise you–you don’t. There are several twists and spikes to this well-crafted plot meant to build the tension. It does. I kept murmuring, “I can’t believe this.” The main characters are fleshed well enough you think you know them. Well, yes. And no.
The conclusion leaves you shaking your head in disbelief. Talk about a stunner! The plot builds to a crescendo, then settles like the waves in a pond, gently ebbing, turning quiet, calm. And that’s it. That’s IT?! How else could this have wrapped up?
So why a four star, not five? I felt the author prolongs the background information on the protagonist almost to boredom, which could easily have been a little shorter and left the same understanding wink. This is the author’s debut novel. You have to hang in there to get the full flavor of this literary gut-twisting tale and I have to question whether this man could possibly have gone quite that gah-gah. Given he met Eva because he was a basket case, perhaps. A good argument for a book club to consider!
I received a request from Liesbeth of Amsterdam Publishing to consider a copy of her client’s ebook and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. This review was given freely and no consideration was exchanged. Recommended for anyone who enjoys literary fiction, thrillers, mysteries, and middle-age dramas. There is a lesson in here for you!
Rosepoint Publishing: Four of Five Stars
The Author: Nicholas Bundock was born in Paddington, London. He has spent most of his life in Norfolk where he works as a consultant valuer of antiques. A particular interest is ceramics. THE MIRROR SHOP is his first novel. Publication date May 14 2018.
©2018 V Williams