- Paperback: 476 pages
- Publisher: Cinder Path Press (November 18, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780996732413
- ISBN-13: 978-0996732413
- ASIN: 0996732411
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.2 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,272,104 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Year Mrs. Cooper Got Out More: A Great Wharf Novel Paperback – November 18, 2015
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[T]he proof of a superior production lies not so much in the plot itself, but in the personalities of the protagonists -and it's here that Meredith Marple shines. This book is replete with insights [weaving] into the quietly-compelling saga of one woman's transition...It's ultimately a murder mystery but there's nothing 'formula' about it. The couple's evolving life is just as compelling (and even more deeply explored) than the murder scene itself -and that's what keeps its story line refreshing, compelling, and ultimately a winning standout from many genre peers.--Midwest Book Review
I couldn't put this book down ... one of my favorite reads this year. I strongly recommend it.--Readers' Favorite
The year is 2014, and an underlying current of malaise is stirring behind the closed doors of residents in the small and quaint Maine town of Great Wharf ... Meredith Marple's debut novel is reminiscent of Peyton Place minus the anticipated sordid secrets. Indeed, Marple's tightly knit cast is shrouded in secrecy of one form or other. Yet her well-defined characters, for the most part, are made up of decent individuals at different stages in their lives. - Red City Review
The novel begins with a story about an individual, then zooms out into a view of how this one person is part of a much larger web of connections. Underneath the calm surface of the town, a bigger tragedy is slowly brewing: Every day, we touch countless lives. The Year Mrs. Cooper Got Out More shows just how deep these connections can go. RECOMMENDED. - The US Review of Books
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Meredith Marple weaves an intriguing, heartwarming and suspenseful tale of life in Southern seacoast Maine. The town of Great Wharf may be a "sleepy New England village," but scratch the surface and you'll find a cauldron of simmering emotions. These characters will stay with you for a long time. Now I'm looking forward to a return visit to Great Wharf.
The echo I heard was Jane Austin, who became famous for occupying mostly a female indoor space in a community often riven with rumor, gossip, and small town life. One of her earliest reviewers (Walter Scott writing in 1816 about EMMA) praised Austin for “keeping close to common incidents” and “ordinary life.”
Marple sums up her plot this way: “Mallory Cooper is an agoraphobic empty-nester who wants to rejoin the outside world and save her marriage.” When Mallory reconnects a local shop owner with a one-time romantic flame through normal small town channels, she unwittingly starts a disastrous chain of events that ultimately gives her the inner strength she needs to change her life: common incidents and ordinary life elevated into strong story telling.
I am not suggesting that Marple or any novelist can touch what Austin achieved, but she has done something refreshing and courageous with Great Wharf’s ordinary people so that spending time with Mallory Cooper is both the worthwhile escape that we seek in fiction, even as it feels like coming home to characters we might meet outside our front door. Marple has an especially deft touch with dialogue so it always works to bring each separate character to life, and she’s mastered the art of surprise without my feeling gratuitously manipulated by an author’s need to do something outsized to get me to turn the page.
And that’s another Austin echo. She wrote her very different novels in a time when novelists liked to shock readers with sensational episodes piled on top of each other and lately this shock genre has also probably gone too far. In this novel, I found myself rooting for Mallory, not because her life was in danger but because she’d quietly lost her life and page by page I wanted to see how it all turned out for her. And that, to me, is a very good read. Thank you, Meredith Marple.
However, Mallory isn't the only one with a secret past in the small tourist town of Great Wharf. This story is a murder mystery written with a light touch. The focus is not on the investigation, but on the intertwining lives of the characters. The author does a great job making the reader feel Mallory's increasing fear and her husband's frustration with a wife he loves but doesn't understand. I wanted to simultaneously slap Mallory and cry for her. Ultimately, I found myself cheering each of her wins.
The author also excels at small town scenery and antics. I loved the discussions about the proposed cinder path (major news in a small town), how the whole community supports its local theatre, and the rolling-eyed avoidance for the town gossip.
THE YEAR MRS. COOPER GOT OUT MORE is a well-defined look at a little-known form of mental illness, wrapped inside a fast-paced mystery.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, Meredith Marple’s novel has inspired me to get out and conquer a cinder path in my life.
I eagerly await the next Great Wharf novel.