Remarkable Things by Deirdre Palmer

Gus – much to his astonishment – inherits his aunt’s house. Having been adopted into the family, he is puzzled as to why she would leave it to him, and not to the family of his late brother who was a blood relative of hers. As he searches for answers, he meets Millie.
Millie is also searching for answers. Her daughter, Karen, left home some years ago, and hasn’t been in touch since. She clearly doesn’t want to be found, but Millie has news for her daughter and needs to see her.
Gus and Millie form a deep friendship, but with Gus battling his guilt over his brother’s family, dealing with the fall-out from his clumsy treatment of an ex-girlfriend, and his grief over the fate of his birth mother hanging over him, he’s not sure he’s ready for anything more. Millie, too, has her own emotions to wrestle with. It seems the bitter ending of her marriage, and her own lies – however well-meant – have cost her her daughter.
Millie and Gus need to make sense of the past in order to move on with their lives. Can they heal old hurts and make a brighter future for themselves?
Remarkable Things is a beautifully written novel. Although the story hangs on two major events – the illegitimate birth of Gus and the disappearance of Karen – it’s first and foremost a novel about small things. The everyday details of the characters’ lives are described so vividly, and emotions captured so perfectly, that the reader is drawn in and thoroughly absorbed into their world. In spite of the trauma suffered by both Gus and Millie, this feels like a gentle novel. It’s really quite lovely to read and I am so impressed with the author’s writing style. Superb. 5/5

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