Monday, May 26, 2014


I received an advance copy of this book from the publisher.

When I heard this book being compared to THE TOWER, THE ZOO, AND THE TORTOISE, I knew I had to read it!  I am always a fan of quirky characters.  Especially those living on the edges of society.  CHAPLIN AND COMPANY is full of these individuals.

Odeline Milk, recently orphaned after the death of her mother, decides to start a new life by buying a houseboat sight unseen. She hopes to become a great mime performer in the style of the Marcel Marceau and the circus performer father that she has never known and who doesn't know she exists.  Determined to keep to herself and focus on her craft, Odeline struggles to adjust to life on a London canal while her neighbors constantly intrude on her solitude.  Vera--the downtrodde worker on a local cafe barge hiding a big secret.  John Kettle--the alcoholic canal warden.  Ridley--the charismatic musical traveling gypsy. And many others who cross their paths or the path of Odeline's unusual houseboat.  Her boat has a history of its own and becomes a character in its own right.  The boat's past is revealed in flashbacks.  Odeline must learn not only to find her way in this new life but also how to accept the companionship of others.

I thought this was a delightful book. I found it a bit more melancholy than THE TOWER, THE ZOO, AND THE TORTOISE.  Overall, it is a very pleasant story with fascinating characters.  I felt that it ended too soon! I would have loved to learn more about the people (and the boat!) in the book. There were two minor characters in the story that I longed to find out more about. 

BOTTOM LINE: Recommended.  An intriguing cast of characters and a sweet story. Overall, it is a very sweet tale that reminds us of how we always need to strive for human connection.

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