I picked up small miracles after seeing Julie Cohen post about it. When I was a student, I used to live in a hostel run by the Convent of the Sacred Heart, so I always have a small, soft spot for religious sisters. When I saw a book that was about three of them fighting to save their convent from being closed down, it seemed like a book that was meant for me to read.
St Philomena’s is a small convent in the small town of Fairbridge. In fact, the order is very small now because there’s only three of them left – Sister Margaret, Sister Bridget and Sister Cecelia – three very, very different people. Sister Margaret is struggling with the responsibility of being Mother Superior. She’s terribly sensible. She loves the convent and wants to keep it open, but there’s so little money and so many bills to pay! She’s also battling with grief, from having lost her best friend and mentor. Sister Bridget is ebullient and friendly. She likes to cook, but doesn’t have enough people to feed. SIster Cecelia is distant and academically minded. She is also obsessed with the history of the convent and making a saint in Fairbridge in order to save the order.
One of the sisters wins a small amount on the lottery and this sets off a selection of small miracles that happen one after the other. These may seem a little unlikely, but if you accept these as small miracles, it’s the loveliest, most heartwarming story. I really really enjoyed this glimpse into the village life and the lives of these people.
The story also touches on the lives of people in the village.You get to hear a little bit about their lives and their loves and their dramas. There was a little bit of head-hopping (something that bothers me, but might not necessarily bother you), but it wasn’t enough to stop me enjoying the book. The story is set in the 90s, which means there’s a lot of telephone calls made from phone boxes and there are no mobile phones – which was rather lovely!
This is a charming, heartwarming, life affirming book about friendship, love and community. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I would recommend it to anyone who’s finding the world a difficult place to deal with at the moment.
Thank you to the publishers for giving me a review copy via Netgalley.