blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Misadventures of Margaret Finch – Claire McGlasson

Blackpool, 1938. Miss Margaret Finch – a rather demure young woman – has just begun work in a position that relies on her discretion and powers of observation. Then, her path is crossed by the disgraced Rector of Stiffkey (aka Harold Davidson), who is the subject of a national scandal.

Margaret is determined to discover the truth behind the headlines: is Davidson a maligned hero or an exploiter of the vulnerable? But her own troubles are never far away, and Margaret’s fear that history is about to repeat itself means she needs to uncover that truth urgently.

This deeply evocative novel ripples with the tension of a country not yet able to countenance the devastation of another war. Margaret walks us along the promenade, peeks into the baths and even dares a trip on the love boat in this, her first seaside summer season, on a path more dangerous than she could ever have imagined.

Claire McGlasson is a journalist who works for ITV News and enjoys the variety of life on the road with a TV camera. She lives in Cambridgeshire. The Rapture is her debut novel.

My thoughts: this was such fun, Margaret Finch is working for the Mass Observation project of the 1930s, observing the working classes on holiday in Blackpool. She should be doing something with her degree from Cambridge, but she’d rather be doing this than return home to her insufferable step-mother.

Being fairly naive and a bit sheltered, Margaret’s eyes are opened by her work. Her relationship with her boss, James, is a bit strange, as is he, and then there’s the weird friendship she strikes up with the defrocked Rev Davidson (a real person) who claims he was simply helping out sex workers, but the Church disagreed.

Margaret investigates him, digging into his stories, partly for her work and partly for her own satisfaction. What she finds is much more complicated and messy than the preacher turned showman will ever admit.

Mixing fact with fiction, this is a snapshot of a period of time when whole towns would holiday together and when it was deemed acceptable to essentially spy on people. Margaret Finch is an interesting and sympathetic figure, what’s she’s doing isn’t particularly pleasant at times, and she makes a fair few mistakes along the way, but ultimately she finds a life for herself and becomes a better person for her experiences. Redemptive and entertaining.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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