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3.84  ·  Rating details ·  598 ratings  ·  155 reviews
Time to come out of hibernation...

Sylvia Penton has been hibernating for years, it's no wonder she's a little prickly...

Sylvia lives alone, dedicating herself to her job at the local university. On weekends, she helps out at a local hedgehog sanctuary because it gives her something to talk about on Mondays - and it makes people think she's nicer than she is.

Only Sylvia has
ebook, 384 pages
Published April 24th 2019 by Ebury Digital
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Average rating 3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  598 ratings  ·  155 reviews

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Jun 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is Jane O'Connor's debut, a wonderful story about 52 year old Sylvia Penton, the PA and admin support to the Psychology Education Professor Carl Lomax, a man she guards and protects like a rottweiler. Chances are when you first meet her, you are not going to like her, and why should you? She is spiteful, underhand, going on to display all the signs of being a stalker. For 15 years she has been in love with her boss, coveting and treasuring all signs and gestures from Lomax that she thinks p ...more
The Cats’ Mother
Oh what a Lovely Book! I discovered this from reading a review in my feed written by my GR friend Paromjit, who has great taste as well as being one of the most eloquent reviewers on GoodReads. Not my usual cup of tea, but the premise appealed to me, and I have very much enjoyed some of the similarly themed books featuring unconventional protagonists that have appeared in recent years, like Eleanor Oliphant & Ove.

I also do happen to like hedgehogs, which is faintly frowned upon here in NZ where
Dash fan
4☆ A Charming and Quirky Novel

I absolutely ADORE Hedgehogs 🦔 which we call them in the UK and I love everything about them. So as soon as i see this gorgeous book I jumped at the chance to read it. Just by picking it up I learnt that Needlemouse meant Hedgehog! 🦔

Sylvia is a bit of a recluse, she comes across as quiet brash, obnoxious, opinionated, a lil prickly and overly protective of her boss, who she has a major crush on, some might say she was completely infatuated with him!
If only it was
Adele Shea
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed Needlemouse. What a character Sylvia is and she will definitely be a person to remember. You cannot help but warm to her has the pages are turned.
Cora Tea Party Princess
5 Words: Family, obsession, jealousy, love, hedgehogs.

Needlemouse is definitely a character driven novel, and it's one of those where nothing really happens when it comes to action, but by the end you've taken quite a journey in terms of growth. It's got a pretty slow pace, but nevertheless I couldn't stop reading.

I found Needlemouse quite a difficult book to get in to, and this was down to the main character, Sylvia. She's rather bitter and disagreeable, and generally just not a nice person. Sh
May 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviews, arc-s
I thought this book was okay but annoying. The major concept is that of a socially awkward character with an uncomfortable adoration of someone utterly oblivious and undeserving of them. It felt like a very human book because what's most interesting about Sylvia's character is that she encompasses quite a lot of character traits which a host of people can probably relate to on some level, and she's a really great example of all of them. Jane O'Connor somehow manages to convincingly capture the a ...more
Nov 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
My very first thought about Needlemouse was that it sounded a lot like The Cactus - prickly, judgemental, unsatisfied middle-aged woman finally waking up to all life has to offer. I really liked The Cactus, but I didn’t necessarily want a carbon copy of it.

Fifty-two year old Sylvia, who works in admin at a university, has been in love with her “Prof”, Carl Lomax, for many years, and when he finally separates from his wife she’s sure it’s only a matter of time before he realises his devoted Sylvi
Karen Whittard
This book was a little slow for me, the main character was annoying and I disliked her instantly. But I did enjoy the writing style.
Joanna Park
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Needlemouse is a delightful, fun read featuring some fantastic characters. It’s quite a quirky read but a thoroughly enjoyable one about loneliness, love and finding yourself.

Sylvia was a very interesting character who I took a while to warm to as she seemed such a prickly character to begin with. She likes things done a certain, controlled way and doesn’t like it when things don’t go the way she wanted. Her infatuation with her boss was a bit cringy to read about at times and I found myself won
Lel Budge
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Sylvia is a 52 year old single woman who I really didn’t like very much, she didn’t seem to have any pleasant qualities at all.

She works in a university as the assistant to a Professor who she tells herself she love and he, obviously feels the same way about her. As he is about to divorce his wife, she knows he will come to understand just how much Sylvia means to hi,.

Sylvia does try to make herself more interesting and likeable by volunteering at a Hedgehog rescue centre, I mean who doesn’t lov
Rachel Bridgeman
Jul 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sylvia volunteers at a hedgehog sanctuary to avoid questions about what she does on a weekend as well as forestalling any requests for charity support at work. She doesn't really like them, she finds the man who runs it with his grown up daughters a bit sad and pathetic and when she says that she does this to make her seem nicer than she is, she is absolutely telling the truth.

MASSIVE kudos to Jane O'Connor for having her debut novel feature a first person protagonist who is not just prickly but
Jun 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Every so often I like to mix it up a bit and read something outside my usual comfort zone. Something a bit slower paced and more character driven than the usual high octane thrillers which I devour constantly. This was that book for me. We meet Sylvia who lives alone, works for a university professor who she loves unrequitedly, and volunteers at a hedgehog sanctuary. She also looks down her nose at most people, is too overprotective of aforementioned professor and, to be honest, isn't really a n ...more
Susan Hampson
Jun 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
I felt that I had already met Sylvia, I think everyone has, the lady who was going to settle down maybe next year, get married one day and have a family one day but all of a sudden the one days have all become yesterday and time has gone by. Well, Sylvia had waited for years for her boss to make that final move after he had clearly made his feelings known at one of the office Xmas parties. She had pride in his achievements and protected him every day from the riff-raff who tried to make it into ...more
Suzanne Griffin
A nice gentle tale of unrequited love and second chances. Sylvia is one of those characters that at times you want to just shake and then at other times you are routing for her to pull her life around, Jane O"Conor has made a the character of Sylivia venerable but not weak and someone, who if you too are in your fifty's and single , that is relatable.
If you're a fan of books like Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and The Cactus then this is a book for you,
Dawn Woods
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sylvia lives alone and works for a university professor in whom she has been in love for years. No matter that the professor is married and totally unaware, Sylvia is convinced she is looking out for him in every way, waiting for the moment he leaves his wife to be with her. The new Eleanor Oliphant, Sylvia is not a character to feel sorry for, nor to be actively disliked. However, there are times when Sylvia's actions are unfair and downright vindictive. Yet Jane O'Connor manages to retain the ...more
Katy Noyes
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Spinster's story of obsession, vindictiveness and atonement.

Eleanor Oliphant. The Cactus. Needlemouse. Three books on a theme I am very much enjoying lately. Sylvia is such a vivid creation - now middle-aged, she's spent her child-bearing years as personal assistant to a university professor, professionally an ideal aide, personally a women keeping herself looking impeccable for the man she adores.
"This i s my favourite part of the day, when we spend ten, or maybe even fifteen, minutes going th
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Anyone who has worked in a school, faculty or department (they are interchangeable and change frequently) of a university will immediately recognise fifty-two year old Sylvia, the spikey personal assistant to the Prof. Sylvia guards the Prof’s time and space with the dedication of a rottweiler and she has been in love with him for the last ten years (the Prof not the rottweiler). When a glamorous new PhD student appears on the scene Sylvia fears her dreams of ‘happy ever after’ with the Prof are ...more
Jul 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
I thoroughly enjoyed this book: while the quirky single lady is everywhere at the moment, this book finds a quite different angle, and I thought the writing and characterisation was absolutely excellent. While I might not have done so at first, I grew to love Sylvia – as prickly as the hedgehogs she helps to look after, her blind devotion to her Prof is so well done, and rather than making her a figure of fun I couldn’t help feeling for her as her actions begin to blow her life apart. She’s real ...more
May 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For some reason I kept putting off reading this book as I thought it was going to be a bit twee and schmaltzy and I was never in the right mood. I wish now I'd left it even longer as I would still have a gtreat treat in store!
Ms O' Connor takes the age old story of unrequited love and embellishes it with some lovely twists - many to do with hedgehogs. I was really pleased that Sylvia the unlikable anti - heroine was an older woman rather than the 30 somethings who populate many contemporary boo
Jul 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, what a wonderful and heartwarming debut novel this is! With some reviews it’s difficult to put into words how a book made me feel, but with Needlemouse I don’t have that problem at all. It’s a truly delightful book that left me with a huge smile on my face as I turned the final page, making me feel like I could go out and tackle anything life decided to throw my way that day! It’s such a moving and beautifully written book and, I’m not ashamed to say, it brought a tear to my eye on more than ...more
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Life doesn't always end up the way we planned it, or the way we expected it to. That's what happens to Sylvia Penton. She always thought her life would be pretty much like everyone else's: she'd meet 'Mr Right'; get married; have children and live mediocrely ever after. But that's not exactly the way it works out. Instead, she watches as it happens for everyone else. And now, here she is at the age of 52, staid, prissy and alone. She has her mother, an aloof and judgemental influence who she'd r ...more
Karen Mace
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book has been compared to Eleanor Oliphant and the like and I can totally see why! The main character is 'quirky'! She doesn't conform to the norm and seems happy enough living life the way she wants to, but you just know that if you scratch away there's something hidden underneath the surface that makes you want to give them a big hug and let them know that life will be ok!

For 15 years she has devoted herself to her work, and her boss! Thinking he is just waiting for the right moment to du
Mar 08, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bernadette Robinson
My thanks to the Publishers via NetGalley for the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review. I was also sent an uncorrected proof as I am taking part in a Blog tour organised by Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers.

I was more than happy to give this a 5 stars or 10/10.

This gentle tale was demolished in two days. It is an easy read that tells the story of Sylvia a 52 year old University employee, who was besotted and in love with her boss, Professor Lomax also referred to by her as
Jemima Pett
This is a book of two halves, as the blurb suggests.  The dreadful secret of Sylvia's love-obsession with 'Prof', takes most of the first half.  For any introverts around, it can be uncomfortable reading.  Here's someone they might recognise, keeping all her secrets to herself, and agonising over the behaviour of her more extrovert companions.  I recognised several people, both friends and myself.

It is a testament to Jane O'Connor's writing that Sylvia and her friends are so aptly captured on pa
Kerry Robinson
f you're looking for a light and charming read that is totally quirky and unique then I highly recommend Needlemouse to you.

Not only does this novel have one of the most fascinating characters I've ever read in a contemporary novel, it also really recognises that actually people in their post 30s (and then some) still have some of the same issues as their younger counterparts.

At first I wasn't sure about Sylvia's character but it didn't take long before I began to love her devious little ways an
Jul 09, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

If you liked Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, then this is for you!
The main character Sylvia is a 52 year old woman that works at a university and helps look after hedgehogs at the weekend. Sounds drama free, right?
However Sylvia is also judgemental, rude, jealous, bitter and very unhappy with her life. Oh and she's also insanely obsessed with her boss (a professor) and she keeps a journal of her interactions with him and reads into everything he does...usually blowing it up so that
Katie Greenwood
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
**I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for participation in the blog tour**

What a pleasant surprise this book was.

We follow the rather mundane life of Sylvia. A fifty-something with a near nonexistent social life, no relationship and no real interests besides the Hedgehog Sanctuary she volunteers at. She's utterly in love with the Professor she works, not that he knows or really even if he did would care. After a series of unfortunate events, Sylvia ends up very isolated with only the Hedg
Aug 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Needlemouse follows the story of a woman who is quite spiky around the edges. She is very set in her ways with no room to budge. She's also very infatuated with her professor and waiting until she can slip in to replace his wife's position.

It's an unconventional read, that I'd place within a form of women's fiction. There is growth for Sylvia however it takes time.

The story is paced in frames of seasons which was fun, however I felt some moments could have gone quicker and that the start of the
Marie (UK)
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Sylvia Penton is a woman obsessed with the University Professor for whom she is PA. This obsession colours every aspect of Sylvia's working life, she is manipulative and devious in the extreme. As a character she seems completely unlikeable. However there is more than one side to every story and she is also involved with a hedgehog sanctuary. When everything starts to go wrong Is is Jonas and that Sanctuary that in some ways will see her through to the other side. In some way Sylvia can almost b ...more
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Jane O’Connor is a former primary school teacher turned academic and writer. She grew up in Surrey and lived in London until she moved to the West Midlands in her mid-thirties. Jane’s PhD was about child stars and she is now a Reader at Birmingham City University where she researches children’s experiences of celebrity, media and everyday life. Jane lives in Sutton Coldfield with her husband and t ...more

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