The Good Mayor by Andrew Nicoll is such a delightful read. It’s a wonderful, magical love story and it captured my heart early on and didn’t let go. As I turned the last page I was already missing the characters and the story. I found myself laughing at times and crying at others. Andrew Nicoll’s writing style is refreshingly different and I think that’s what ultimately is so beautiful about this book.
This love story is between The Good Mayor of Dot, Tibo Krovic, and his secretary Agathe Stopak although at first she doesn’t have a clue that he’s been pining for her for ages. The Good Mayor, called so for the reason that he always says the right thing, does the right thing and everyone loves him is absolutely, hopelessly in love with Agathe. So much so, that he spies on her through the crack under the door when she comes into work in the mornings.
Now Agathe Stopak is a lonely woman. She’s married but her marriage went quickly downhill when she and her husband lost their child. Agathe would like the old magic back but nothing she tries seems to work. She’s still a young woman and she wants to be loved.
One day The Good Mayor is busy watching Agathe from the office tower while she lunches by the fountain. It just so happens that her lunch container is going to take a tumble into the fountain and he races down the stairs and to the fountain to help her and finally, out of the blue, gets up the nerve to ask her to lunch at the same time. Thus begins their romance of sorts but The Good Mayor is just not quick enough with the intimacies and Agathe is left wondering if he actually loves her not. Unfortunately this completely changes the course of events to the rest of the story and people’s lives spiral out of control.
The way this story is told makes it so much more than just a love story. First it’s narrated by St. Walpurnia who was a bearded nun and has since her death, watched over the tiny town of Dot. The people of the town pray to her for just about everything they want or need. Then there is the entire cast of quirky characters in the novel from the quite large lawyer with the dog to the Italian woman in the coffee shop who has a way with magic and can see things. There are some descriptions of food and a brass band that not everyone is privy to seeing. It’s also about loss and friendship and more importantly just what you will do for those you consider true friends.
The writing in this novel is simply beautiful. There are many passages worth sharing but one that stands out for me since I always do love descriptions of areas and such was this one…
- ‘The trees along the black canal held up bare arms to the sky. Snow was piling in the dips between their branches. It had already hidden the cobbles that ran in front of the tenements and smoothed itself over the rusty railings between the pavement and the water’s edge and the cascade of downy snowflakes falling all around made the street lamps sparkle like the glitter ball that hangs from the ceiling of the Empress Ballroom in Ampersand Street. (pg 194, The Good Mayor by Andrew Nicoll)
This is a debut novel from Andrew Nicoll and if The Good Mayor is any sign of this author’s talent, then he is one to keep an eye out for. I would definitely love to read whatever he may decide to create next. This book was released by Random House Canada on May 12, 2009 and you can buy it here in Canada and here in the US.
I haven't heard of this book Dar. It sounds wonderful and that cover is funny with him spying through the door! I enjoy books with quirky characters and a beared nun definitely sounds quirky!
Scrap girl says
does sound good. There are a couple of books out at the moment, that are narrated by a dead person. Interesting concept. Thank you for my author choice – I have added it to my list.
I'm so glad to see that this book is so charming, because the cover captivates me.
Literary Feline says
I can see why you liked this one, Dar. It sounds like a wonderful book. Such an interesting premise! Thank you for bringing it to my attention.
Sounds nice, I do love authors that really make you notice what they have written
Hey Dar.. nice review. Sounds like a good book. It sounds like you really enjoyed the book.
Dorte H says
This one sounds really good. I also love the cover – it makes you soooo curious 🙂
Alice Teh says
This is new to me but it sounds good! I'm putting this into my wish list. Thanks, Dar!
This sounds absolutely delightful!! I love the way you have described the story and now I must read it!!
Dawn - She is Too Fond of Books says
This sounds like a wonderful debut! I was charmed by the description of the fallen sandwich which leads to a first date.
Thanks for the recommendation 🙂
Sounds mystical in all ways!
i think it is time for me to read a romance book 🙂
I had not yet heard of this book, but you make it sound like a must read! Great review, I will have to pick this one up sometime soon.
Sounds like a great book and sweet love story, and what an interesting cover.
Very cool that it made you both laugh and cry. I need to add this to my TBR.
Terrific review. This one is new to me, but it sounds wonderful.
I actually started reading this one (thanks to winning your giveaway) but put it aside in favour of a couple Canadian reads to help John reach that 1000 mark. Those pesky due dates for reading challenges keep popping up too … get a few more of those under my belt and I can return to The Good Mayor.
Glad to hear you enjoyed it and it's one worth getting back to, Dar.
Teddy Rose says
Another great review. I am looking forward to reading this book.
Thanks all for your comments on my review!
Bonnie, I really love the cover on this novel as well. It's so cute and yes this is definitely a book full of quirky characters.
Wanda & Teddy, I look forward to your thoughts when you finally get a chance to read this. I hope you like it as much as I did. If the beginning seems a bit slow to you, keep going. It picks up or I thought it did anyway.
Thanks for bringing this book to my attention. The writing sounds wonderful from the quote you posted. I'll have to keep this one in mind.
Diary of an Eccentric
I just saw this reviewed over at Indextrious Reader and she had a link to your review. I have no idea how I missed this little gem!
An achingly poignant, exquisitely written book funny in unexpected places, proving it isn't only science fiction that takes you places you never dreamed of. So glad I have found a new writer. Hope he write some more Morse Code (.-&) (for Dot, Dash and Ampersand, where the chacacters, cat, statue are)