17 May 2014

Keeping Time by Stacey McGlynn, Book review

Keeping Time book cover

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (December 6, 2011)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307464415
  • Also available in KINDLE format


Daisy Phillips is tired of being treated like an old lady. Sure, there was that incident with the lawn mower and the mud. And she did get trapped at the top of a ladder. But that doesn’t make her incapable of living on her own, as her son Dennis seems to think. Now Dennis is pushing her to sell the family home in Liverpool and move into a retirement community. To make matters worse, her best friend is going away for the summer and the new boss at the library politely informed her that her services as a volunteer are no longer needed. Is it any wonder that Daisy is feeling distressed?

But the unflappable Daisy won’t go down without a fight. What she needs to boost her spirits is an adventure. A long-forgotten watch found in a box in the basement provides the perfect start. The watch belonged to her first love, an American soldier stationed in England during World War II. With a decades-old Brooklyn address as her only clue, Daisy embarks on a trip to New York City with plans to track him down and return the valuable keepsake, and maybe get a peek at the life she might have had. 

But first there’s a haphazard family reunion, where she meets and settles in with her colorful American cousins on Long Island. Elisabeth is the harried working mother who’s engaged in a fashion battle with one of her five sons. Richard, her attorney husband, might be taking his enthusiasm for the game of darts too far. And their sullen teenage son Michael is on the brink of failing all his final exams. Though Elisabeth can barely keep up with the life she already has, she eagerly jumps on board with Daisy and her quixotic quest, determined to help Daisy find her long-lost love—an adventure that holds surprises for all involved.

My thoughts:

Seldom have I read such a touching multi layered storyline and I would love to hear Stacey McGlynn will soon offer us another gem such as Keeping Time. I found her distinct writing style to be spot on!

The heartwarming tale of a spirited septuagenarian unwilling to throw in the towel despite her oldest son's admonishments is just the inspiration women of any age will appreciate. Why moving to a flat when you own a delightful thatched roof home (albeit difficult to maintain on occasion to be sure) notably when it is sought after as a gold mine to be sold to the highest bidder by an unfeeling daughter in law?

Daisy miss her husband, even more so when plumbing repairs must be done or when the grass needs cutting but she is determined to give it a go. When a long forgotten box in her flooded basement reveals letters and a man's watch, memories of a gentle handsome soldier and talented pianist resurfaces.

What happens next is the most delightful contemporary novel I have read in quite awhile! Seventy seven year old Daisy is the quintessential English lady, who loves gardening and enjoys her volunteer position in her local library.  A cuppa and an occasional sip of Cointreau yields a little stress relief but graceful Daisy is ready for some adventure!
Flying to New York on her own is a big step but meeting a whole new branch of her family brings delightful surprises and just the opening Daisy is looking for. Come what may, she wants to know why months of correspondence with Michael Leonard Baker suddenly stopped in 1945!

For an excerpt and a little wisdom from Daisy's new found friend Hulda, a ninety three year old who just wallpapered her bathroom after seeing a DIY on the telly!

- "What's it like to be ninety three?" asks the teenager from Hulda.

"...I think as you get older you become more of who you always were. You become a more concentrated version of yourself. You really learn who you are, why you're unique, who you've always been. Everybody always talks about the teenage years as being the years concerned with figuring such things out, but those years are nothing compared to these. And if you're lucky enough to be in generally good health as I am, then it's quite nice. Things fall away as we age, making you really appreciate what remains. There's a winnowing away of non essentials, sometime essentials, it's true but what remains is your core, your essence, the real 'you' and you realize you're still you without what you've lost as long as you still have all your marbles - or most of them anyway...I'm happy for every day on earth but won't be sorry when I go." 
Stacey McGlynn, thank you for a heartfelt insight!

With refreshing and often quirky wit, Stacey McGlynn describes the peculiarities of Anglo Saxon and Yankee societies and gives us a heartwarming story of ever lasting love and deep friendship rarely matched! 

Look forward to an enchanting novel you will hold close to your heart!

5 Stars!!

Meet the Author:

Image of Stacey McGlynn

Stacey McGlynn  holds an MFA in film from Columbia University. "Keeping Time" is her debut novel.
Visit her website for additional information including excerpt and interviews (HERE)

NOTE: This book belongs on my personal shelves and all opinions are mine only!


  1. Thank you so much for visiting me Noelle. I hope you are keeping well.

    God bless you and your family.

    1. Hanging in there Victor, a few rough spots to get over still.
      God bless,

  2. Sounds good, I was given a lot of books a while back and they all are murder and mayham, it's all a bit boring now.

    1. I always try to be fair Merle as I review as after all, my taste is not for everyone and I admire anyone who can develop a good plot.
      All the best,

  3. Hi Noelle,
    This book sounds like a perfect reading for a weekend get-away (I just look forward to those moment - a whole afternoon together with a book :)
    Such a lovely place of literary inspiration you have here - now I know where to pop when I need inspiration!
    Blessings to your Sunday, Nina

    1. Nina, I treat my books as I choose a gift for someone: if I like it myself, it is certain to please the recipient and I am so glad to find kindred spirits!
      Thanks for stopping by and I hope you get the opportunity to read this book.
      All the best,

  4. That sounds wonderful! Adding to my list. :)

    1. Again a kindred spirit, thanks Stacey!
      Lovely seeing you here,


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