Sometimes it takes a stranger to really know who you are..
When Tina Hopgood writes a letter of regret to a man she has never met, she doesn’t expect a reply.
When Anders Larsen, a lonely museum curator, answers it, nor does he.
They’re both searching for something, they just don’t know it yet. Anders has lost his wife, along with his hopes and dreams for the future. Tina is trapped in a marriage she doesn’t remember choosing.
Slowly their correspondence blossoms as they bare their souls to each other with stories of joy, anguish and discovery. But then Tina’s letters suddenly cease, and Anders is thrown into despair.
Can their unexpected friendship survive?
I was really excited to receive Anne Youngson’s debut novel – firstly because there had been such a buzz around it from so many readers that I respect and their description was making me desperate to get my hands on a copy and secondly because I knew that it was written as a series of letters. I love novels in the epistolary form as I feel like you really get a sense of the speaker’s voice as well as feeling that you are somehow eavesdropping into a series of ‘found’ letters that – let’s face it – appeals to the curious among us all…
Tina and Anders are a fabulous pair to be eavesdropping on and the serendipitous nature of them ‘meeting’ on the page is part of what totally charmed me about this utterly lovely book.
Tina’s first letter is to someone completely different, and it is only by chance that Anders, a lonely museum curator from Denmark is the one who replies. When Tina was a child, Professor Glob of the Silkeborg Museum in Denmark dedicated a book to Tina and her classmates. As an adult, Tina has always regretted not visiting and writes to him to explain how she feels – not knowing that Professor Glob has passed away.
Anders replies, all the way from Denmark to Bury St Edmunds, are a joy to read. It is truly a slow burner and I loved the way that their language and style alters as you turn the pages and their friendship grows. You can see them relaxing into this relationship and maybe because of its anonymity and uniqueness, being able to tell each other all kinds of things about their lives, hopes and dreams.
There is definitely something about writing something down rather than saying it that makes for a special kind of intimacy and their friendship blooms across the page as their letters talk about everything under the sun.
I love books like this, that you can immerse yourself in and enjoy as a treat – books that just hold you in their spell. I’ve just been to see The Guernsey Literary & Potato Pie at the cinema and this book reminded me of reading that novel as it’s just as warm and touching with unexpected moments of connections between unlikely people that will definitely take you by surprise and win you over in a gentle and endearing way.
I would like to thank Anne Cater for inviting me on the tour. I absolutely loved this book and can see myself gifting it to lots of people as I think it’s going to be one of those books, that everyone will be talking about and asking whether you’ve read and I know loads of people who it’ll be the perfect gift for!
Treat yourself to a copy here
And make sure you keep an eye out for all the other fantastic bloggers who’ll be posting about it this week. How gorgeous does it look in my #OnTheShelfie? I was inspired by Tina’s farmhouse life to place it on my Welsh dresser for my picture this time with all my polka dots. I feel like Anders would like it!
Writer on the Shelf
ANNE YOUNGSON worked for many years in senior management in the car industry before embarking on a creative career as a writer.
She has supported many charities in governance roles, including Chair of the Writers in Prison Network, which provided residencies in prisons for writers. She lives in Oxfordshire and is married with two children and three grandchildren to date.
MEET ME AT THE MUSEUM is her debut novel, which is due to be published around the world.
Check out all of these amazing reviews!
The Observer Promising first-time British novelists 2018: ‘A novel about self-discovery and second chances’
‘I thoroughly recommend this book to anyone looking for a book that makes you think and wonder and quietly hope. I loved it’ TAMMY COHEN
‘Insightful, emotionally acute and absorbing’ Daily Express
‘A correspondence that begins with a search for clarity becomes something much deeper and richer – both for the two main characters, and for the reader.
Anne Youngson peels away the layers that prevent us from living the lives we ought to be leading, and her book is both tender and absorbing.’ LISSA EVANS, author of Their Finest Hour and a Half
‘Meet Me at the Museum starts so quiet and small like a bud tightly closed against the winter then it unfurls into something so alive and truly beautiful. I was immensely moved by it’ TOR UDALL, author of A Thousand Paper Birds
‘Precise, clear, funny, poignant and truthful. This is a work of art, dear readers.
Revel in its beauty’ ADRIANA TRIGIANI
‘A moving tribute to friendship and love, to the courage of the ordinary, and to starting again’ RACHEL JOYCE
‘The loveliest short novel of late love you’ll ever read. Whenever I talk about it, I simply cry with joy’ JAMES HAWES
Read more here