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Mavis and Dot Book Review

by Kathleen Lance

Synopsis

Mavis and Dot, new residents of a fading British beach town, have nothing in common save a passion for shopping at second-hand stores. Both are older, single women with no family and plenty of free time to fill. They are opposites in many ways. Mavis is cheerful and adventurous, ready to try new experiences and make new friends while Dot is reserved, cool, and practical.

Despite, or perhaps because of their differences, their friendship grows. They take a rather odd trip to Italy, become involved in the lives of illegal immigrants, make friends with a female impersonator, and adopt a mangy but friendly dog.

Over the first year of their friendship, both women learn truths about themselves and about each other and discover the joys and sorrows of life are still to be treasured.

Theme of the Book

In Mavis and Dot, Angela Petch has written a book of friendship and warmth. It is full of humor and honesty. The author shows us that the joys of life do not diminish with age, but in the presence of true friends, can be even more rewarding.

What I Liked About the Story

This is a wonderful book that will make readers laugh and cry and want to move to Worthington-on-Sea just to meet Mavis and Dot.

It is so refreshing to read a novel in which the main characters are not young, slim, beautiful and wealthy but are instead older and rich in experience and memories. Mavis is a wonderful character. Her project of trying out all the activities in town, in alphabetical order, leads her from a disastrous game of bridge to a punishing exercise class (Bums and Tums) and to a rather embarrassing situation with a toupee. It is so easy to identify with Mavis' attempts to dye her hair (another disaster), to lose weight (a seemingly lost cause), and to express herself through her odd wardrobe.

Dot is, at first, harder to like. She seems quite superior with her sheltered upbringing, her memories of a houseful of servants, and her cool, rather standoffish, demeanor. But as the story continues, readers learn the secret that Dot has kept all her life and suddenly her character is clear.

There is so much dry humor in Mavis and Dot, especially in Mavis' experiences in the Knickerbocker Glory nightclub, in her constant mangling of words, and in the short but action-packed trip to Italy.

Without giving away the plot, Dot's generosity and caring in the latter part of the book will bring readers to tears.

What I Didn’t Like About the Story

There is very little to dislike about Mavis and Dot. American readers may be thrown by some uses of British slang, but those instances are easily understood through context.

Final Say

This is a book full of the joy of living. Its quirky characters are both entertaining and believable. Without any violence or graphic sex, the story moves at a pleasant pace that mirrors the genteel lifestyle of a small seaside town. This is quite different from the author's Tuscan books, much lighter in tone. It is a wonderful exploration of friendship leavened with humor and sympathy.

This is a recommended book and winner of the One Stop Fiction Book Award.