#PublicationDay #BookReview ~ Lyrics for the Loved Ones (Matilda Windsor #3) by Anne Goodwin #Contemporary #LiteraryFiction @annecdotist

7Lyrics for the Loved Ones finalAuthor: Anne Goodwin

Published: 15th May 2023 

Category: Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction


After half a century confined in a psychiatric hospital, Matty has moved to a care home on the Cumbrian coast. Next year, she’ll be a hundred, and she intends to celebrate in style. Yet, before she can make the arrangements, her ‘maid’ goes missing.
Irene, a care assistant, aims to surprise Matty with a birthday visit from the child she gave up for adoption as a young woman. But, when lockdown shuts the care-home doors, all plans are put on hold.
But Matty won’t be beaten. At least not until the Black Lives Matter protests burst her bubble and buried secrets come to light.
Will she survive to a hundred? Will she see her ‘maid’ again? Will she meet her long-lost child?
Rooted in injustice, balanced with humour, this is a bittersweet story of reckoning with hidden histories in cloistered times.

Matty Windsor is a protagonist I’ll remember for a long time. After the trauma of her past she now lives in a care home in Cumbria and is nearing her 100th birthday. Matty imagines her milestone birthday as a stylish affair and is geared up for the performance of her life as befits her perception of herself. She certainly delivers, but not quite in the way she envisaged, due to the Covid pandemic. Nevertheless, she is a sensation thanks to technology and her new ‘maid’.

The narrative alternates between locations – Scarrowdale, the care home in West Cumbria, Bristol and Somerset, and also several viewpoints. We learn about the characters from their everyday lives. There’s Gloria, a widow with a son, Tim, who is battling health issues, and his partner, Brendan. Much is learned through Irene’s inner, very Cumbrian, dialogue during her visits to a certain grave. I wondered what would draw these people together and how they related to Matty. Some are more obvious than others and as the story unfolds there are snippets which begin to slowly unravel mysteries and secrets.

Anne Goodwin portrays Matty beautifully and in a way that endears her to the reader, both in the confusion of her thoughts and also the rarer moments of clarity.

Her skull is a cutting room, celluloid clippings strewn across the floor. She plunges in, gathers armfuls, splices frames into a continuous strip. Things that happened meld with things that might have and things that never would. Each time, a different sequence, composed of disparate segments, creates her personal history afresh.

In a story where a feeling of sadness might have been the overriding emotion, with everything Matty has been through, as well as another character’s problems, there’s humour and the antics of assorted characters that lighten the atmosphere. There are sad moments, of course, and lots of emotions playing out.

Although the pandemic and lockdown meant Matty’s birthday plans had to be adapted and everyone’s life changed, there were other social changes to contend with, one of which explained the sudden departure of Matty’s favourite care assistant, or maid as she thought of the carers.

Anne Goodwin obviously has a deep understanding of the human mind, given her career. Lyrics for the Loved Ones is expressive, atmospheric and emotive, written with insight and sensitivity, the well developed characters driving the compelling narrative.

‘Never too old to make a difference, never too late to learn’

My thanks to Anne Goodwin for an  advance e-copy.


Anne with LLO 2Anne Goodwin’s drive to understand what makes people tick led to a career in clinical psychology. That same curiosity now powers her fiction. Anne writes about the darkness that haunts her and is wary of artificial light. She makes stuff up to tell the truth about adversity, creating characters to care about and stories to make you think. She explores identity, mental health and social justice with compassion, humour and hope. A prize-winning short-story writer, she has published three novels and a short story collection with small independent press, Inspired Quill. Her debut novel, Sugar and Snails, was shortlisted for the 2016 Polari First Book Prize.

Away from her desk, Anne guides book-loving walkers through the Derbyshire landscape that inspired Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre.

Subscribers to her newsletter can download a free e-book of award-winning short stories.

You can find out more on Anne’s website.


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