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The Songbird

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  850 ratings  ·  100 reviews
When Mattie invites her old friend Tim to stay in one of her family cottages on the edge of Dartmoor, she senses there is something he is not telling her. Having left behind his old life in London in a rush, Tim is unusually quiet, as if he is holding on to a painful secret.

But as he gets to know the rest of the warm jumble of family by the moor, Tim discovers that everyon
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published December 4th 2018 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published June 16th 2016)
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Enchanted Prose I don't think so. Believe it took a few years to publish in the US. Marcia Willett is a UK author.…moreI don't think so. Believe it took a few years to publish in the US. Marcia Willett is a UK author.(less)
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Jul 26, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Romance fans, fans of sweet and sad contemporaries.
"All through the spring, early and late, the thrush sings in the ash tree below the cottage. It's the first thing he hears, when he comes carefully down the narrow precipitous staircase to make coffee, and the last thing, as he leans from the small window into the quiet luminous evening, unable to abandon the unearthly magic and get into bed."

The Songbird by Marcia Willett

I will confess to skimming this book.

It is not at all because it is not good. Not at all. I am someone who likes certain boo
I chose to read this novel because it was set in Dartmoor and Devon which I love. This is a book about people, emotions, relationships and secrets amidst the strong sense of place that Marcia Willett creates so skilfully. Located in Brockscombe, this is about those who reside there, all of whom are connected with Francis, who lives in the main house.

Mattie and Tim used to work together, and when he needs a place to get way, she suggests that he comes and stay in the family cottage. Tim has sold
Chris Conley
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a sweet, charming book. I so enjoyed getting to know all of the folks and their stories. Lovely book.
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks to LibraryThing for this ARC.

A sweet story set in England with good characters, mostly related somehow. Then along comes Tim, an "outsider" who is friends with Mattie. He quits his job to ponder a life that no one knows he is living.

A lot of the characters I really liked and one that I really despised. I wanted to write her out of the book but she was one of the main characters so it wouldn't have been the same without her there.

The other characters were really good and I enjoyed their
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A satisfying family drama. Left me feeling happy.
Bonnye Reed
GNab Marcia Willett brings us an excellent novel of modern families set in South Devon, England, featuring four generations of an extended family with steps and halfs and the odd friend of a friend who somehow fits right into the tight weave of life on the family estate of Brockscombe, as the aging patriarch faces death and the pull of the wide world on the descendents make that insular way of life seem to be untenable. I found all of the protagonists sympathetic with the exception of that One, ...more
Jul 04, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Unfortunately this book just isn't for me, I couldn't get a feel for the characters and the story just didn't grab me at all. ...more
The Songbird
Marcia Willett

Willett’s latest Brit-Lit is simply divine, a study in human nature, a comedy and a tragedy full of secrets, regrets and new beginnings. The Queen’s English is refreshingly proper and although there will be some googling certain terms have no fear US readers you will enjoy it immensely. The wide-range of personalities are fascinating varying from nurturer to narcissist and everyone is an absolute necessary part of the tale. The author does a bang up job of capturing eve
Tracy Valentine
Dec 24, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just finished this book this morning and I'm bawling like a baby. I loved it. I loved the characters -- particularly Francis, which is why the ending just destroyed me. In a way, it's a "feel good" book, but there's a lot of sadness mixed in with the happy times, too. All in all, it was a lovely story. And it made me want to go to Devon to find a place like Brockscombe! ...more
Vickie Richens
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love the author's books, will definitely be reading more of her books ...more
Boring soap opera. Such a pretty cover, I had hopes!
West Hartford Public Library
Perfect summer reading! A gentle story of family and relationships set in Devon, England. These are people you'll enjoy getting to know - how are they all related to each other and what secrets to each of them hold? ...more
Enchanted Prose
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kinder, Gentler Prose (West Country, England; present-day): The Better Angels of our Nature is a phrase first heard in 1861 from our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, at his inaugural address. The soulful message rang out again on December 5th, 2018, a day after The Songbird was released, when historian Jon Meacham eulogized our 41 st President, George H. W. Bush, at the Washington National Cathedral. It seems a particularly appropriate phrase to use – as well as Bush 41’s aim of a “kinder, ge ...more
I really enjoy this author’s work. She has a beautiful, poetic way of writing. Her words flow in a melodic way, creating magnificent imagery for the reader. It is quite exquisite! Songbird is very reminiscent of her Summer on the River book, where a diverse grouping of people are put together for a period of time and we are given a voyeuristic view of their lives; their secrets, struggles, and joys. This remains true in this story as well. The author tells this story through varying points of vi ...more
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-authors
This is a sweet, easy to read book about a family in rural England. It's not a family because of the blood ties of some of the members but a family of people from different parts of life that live in a small compound and love and take care of each other. The descriptions of the English country side are so beautiful, that you feel like you are there enjoying the scenery and relaxing in the life style of a small town.

Tim decides to take a sabbatical, even though he is young, and Mattie (a woman he
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thank you St. Martin’s Press for the free review copy.

Over the weekend I finished THE SONGBIRD, which actually looked more like flying through about half of the book in one sitting. Once I got used to the slightly unique writing style (at least compared to what I’m used to), I found myself completely drawn into the story and so endeared to the characters that I simply couldn’t put the book down. I just *had* to know the outcome for all of the loveable (and one not so likeable) characters we get
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-brit, 2018
Ms Willett is following Jane Austen's advice to her niece Anna "You are now collecting your people delightfully, getting them exactly into such a spot as is the delight of my life. Three or four families in a country village is the very thing to work on, and I hope you will do a great deal more, and make full use of them while they are so very favorably arranged" without seeming at all like dear Jane. She has her own voice and fits nicely in my panoply of favorite Chicklit authors.
This is a g
Jan 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love how this new-to-me author develops so many characters in such a clear and natural way so as not to confuse this reader who usually likes easy escape reading. The characters are distinct, but not caricatures or stereotypes; they're of every generation - and even the older and youngers are relatable.
Especially memorable are William, who after years of doing what his wife wants, finally grows a pair and does the Right Thing; Mattie, who is loving and innocent and fun and young - and so so sin
Sep 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

The story was told from every characters' point of view so it was initially quite confusing for me because this is my first time reading a book with this writing style. But then, I started to get used to it, and it turns out to be an interesting and new experience! Moreover, after a few pages into the book, I thought it would be quite difficult to finish. However, I was wrong, because this book turns out to be very easy to read and I was able to finish the book way faster than I expecte
Mar 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, read-2018
As with all this author's novels, it's primarily character-based rather than having much plot. The story novel takes place over a few months, while a young man with a worrying diagnosis ponders his future. Various relationships change or develop in a small community of likeable people.

The writing is good, with realistic conversations and some poignant moments. I was surprised how quickly I felt caught up in the lives of these diverse people. As one character becomes involved in the community, I
Dec 05, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Songbird opens with Tim confiding in his friend and co-worker Mattie that he needs to get away on sabbatical. Mattie sends him to Brockscombe farm in the South of England where her family lives. Tim rents one of the cottages on the farm and falls into a slower paced life with Mattie's friendly family who like Tim are harboring a few secrets. It doesn't take Mattie long to feel she needs to make a move to be closer to Brockscombe Farm. And then there's Tim, she seems to be falling in love wit ...more
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would put this in the category of "Target Books". You know exactly what I'm talking about. There's always a section of books at Target that are just light, easy reads and you really can't go wrong with them! I did not get this book from Target, but that is what it reminds me of nonetheless. I really liked The Songbird because you get the mix of characters who shouldn't belong together, but work so well as a group. I love when an author unearths things about each character throughout the book, ...more
Kathleen Gray
Nov 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely story of community and family. Set at Brockscombe in Devon (love the area!), it starts as the story of Tim, who is remaking his life, and Mattie, who has always had a crush on him and invites him to the family house. The tale expands, however, to encompass others, all of whom have a secret- but this isn't a secrets and lies type novel. It's about how individuals can blend together as a group as they heal from psychic and physical injury. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC. This is light, pos ...more
LInda L
Didn't hate this book, but didn't like it much either. Nothing going on in the beginning, and nothing ever did happen. Just day-to-day stuff. Hated Fiona, who tried to stick her nose everywhere. And William definitely deserved better. Kat gave Jerry up too easily, but he was a wuss anyway. Good that she was going back to London without him. Felt bad for Francis and Tim, but they sorted things out in the end. That's about it. I think I have read other Willett books, but don't knw which ones. ...more
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tim is thinking of taking a Sabbatical from his job. He asks Mattie if she knows of a place where he can stay. She recommends a cottage at Brockscombe where a motley assortment of her relatives live.
Tim soon is accepted by the people living there and feels that he has finally found his family.
I love how Willett has drawn such unique characters. You find yourself firmly drawn in. Each of her characters seems also to be part of your family. From the elderly Uncle Francis to the baby Ollie, each ch
Liz Ickes
Skimmed this pretty much for the last ~200 pages. Overall vibe is very Love Actually with the multiple storylines that are all connected. When I picked up this book, the sleeve made it seem like the story was mostly focused around Mattie and Tim and their relationship, which was not really the case.

I’m sure if Love Actually is your vibe this book would be too. It’s heartwarming and would be a good summer beach read. Not a lot of character development though with very predictable plot points. Bea
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With "The Songbird," Marcia Willett has broken the recent pattern into which her books had fallen. The collection of characters are still similar, but with some added twists, and the little dramas in the plot a slightly more serious, a bit darker, than is usual. Even the ending is somewhat surprising. The warmth and sense of community that Willett imparts to all her stories remains, however, and readers will be delighted with this new story. ...more
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Surprisingly beautiful

When I first started this book, I was slightly put out at the style of the writing. I am so glad I pushed through it because this is one of the best books I have read lately. It moved me to laughter and to tears, sometimes at the same time. Wonderful story, wonderful book. I will count this author as a new favourite if mine.
Jan 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read several books by Marcia Willett and enjoyed most of them. I won't go through a synopsis of the book because you can find it elsewhere. This book was a mix for me. Some characters I really liked. Two characters I didn't like much at all. A couple of threads of the story that were really satisfying and one that didn't ring true to me. Kind of a mixed bag. Good light reading, though. ...more
Mair E Gwalchmai
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written. Enjoyed every word

Beautifully written.Enjoyed every word. Each of the characters have their own agenda. Loved the interaction between everybody. It is so good to read a gentle book where each supports the other. Also the joy of reading a story with no swearimg.will definitely read more by this author.
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Marcia Willett began her career as a novelist when she was fifty years old. Since that first novel Marcia has written twenty more under her own name as well as a number of short stories. She has also written four books under the pseudonym "Willa Marsh", and is published in more than sixteen countries.

Marcia Willett's early life was devoted to the ballet, but her dreams of becoming a ballerina end

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