320 pages ~ ★★★☆☆ ~ Netgalley eARC
Twenty-seven year old Majella lives in a small close knit border town in Northern Ireland; she lives with her ma and works in the local chip shop. Her life is all about routine, at home and at work; she knows what time to expect her regulars and she likes her life like that. She was perfectly happy working Monday to Saturday evenings in the local chip shop and her Sunday evenings in the local pub.
We follow Majella over the course of one week in November; her Grandmother was recently tragically found dead and the police are investigating making Majella and her mother more of a talking point than she’d like to be.
This is very character-driven and I did find myself wondering about 50% of the way through whether anything was really going to ‘happen’; there are a lot of unanswered questions left at the end of this so if you prefer a fast-paced plot with twists and turns then this probably isn’t for you but I think it says a lot that I got half way through before I realised that. Majella is a funny and interesting character to listen to; a lot of this is written in dialect which I enjoyed and really made the characters come to life in my head.
Although this book revolves around Majella, Michelle Gallen hasn’t just built a good main character and narrator she’s created an entire community of interwoven people and backstories which we get snippets of through Majella’s trails of thought or her gossipy conversations with Marty behind the chip shop counter.
There’s plenty of room for a follow up here and I would love to explore these characters more and find out some of the answers, that have been ever so slightly frustratingly left open. Despite giving this three stars I would definitely read any sequels and would recommend this to anyone after a slow-paced but slightly addictive character-driven book.
This book also gave me a massive craving to get Fish and Chips, even after finishing the book. At the end of each working day Majella brings back her dinner from work so we did have to work in a rare chip shop visit into our meal plan!
Big Girl, Small Town is due for UK release on 20th February and you can pre-order a copy now. Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for providing me with a copy this in exchange for an honest review.