RA Alert: “Comic Charm”

Screen Shot 2015-03-09 at 10.05.52 AMNina Stibbe, who wrote last year’s sleeper hit memoir and a Library Reads pick,  Love, Nina: A Nanny Writes Home has just published her first novel about a divorced family, a move to rural England, and the hunt for a new father, A Man At the Helm (Hachette/Back Bay original trade pbk, 3/10/15; OverDrive Sample).

It is getting rave reviews. Kate Kellaway of The Guardian says “it is a brilliant find. It even trumps Love, Nina because Stibbe is more at home in it. It is full, free, outlandish. And I can’t remember a book that made me laugh more.” She goes on to compare it to Dodie Smith’s I Capture the Castle “with its opinionated innocence.’ ”

Aldia Becker in the NYT Book Review concurs, finding that “This densely populated ­coming-of-age story (for both mother and children) has retained and even ­expanded on ­Stibbe’s signature antic charm.” Her suggestions for read-alikes also include Smith as well as Stella Gibbons, saying “Man at the Helm, with its jauntily ­matter-of-fact social satire, wouldn’t be out of place on the same shelf as Cold Comfort Farm and I Capture the Castle.”

NPR interviewed Stibbe on Weekend Edition Sunday. Based on the delight expressed so far, expect more attention and plenty of eager readers.

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