ShortBookandScribes #BookReview – The Last List of Mabel Beaumont by Laura Pearson

The Last List of Mabel Beaumont by Laura Pearson is published by Boldwood Books and available in paperback, eBook and audiobook. I purchased my own copy.

The list he left had just one item on it. Or, at least, it did at first…

Mabel Beaumont’s husband Arthur loved lists. He’d leave them for her everywhere. ‘Remember: eggs, butter, sugar’. ‘I love you: today, tomorrow, always’.

But now Arthur is gone. He died: softly, gently, not making a fuss. But he’s still left her a list. This one has just one item on it though: ‘Find D’.

Mabel feels sure she knows what it means. She must track down her best friend Dot, who she hasn’t seen since the fateful day she left more than sixty years ago.

It seems impossible. She doesn’t even know if Dot’s still alive. Also, every person Mabel talks to seems to need help first, with missing husbands, daughters, parents. Mabel finds her list is just getting longer, and she’s still no closer to finding Dot.

What she doesn’t know is that her list isn’t just about finding her old friend. And that if she can admit the secrets of the past, maybe she could even find happiness again…

A completely heartbreaking, beautiful, uplifting story, guaranteed to make you smile but also make you cry. Perfect for fans of My Name is OveEleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and The Keeper of Stories.

Sometimes a book just immediately appeals. The title and premise of The Last List of Mabel Beaumont were right up my street, and now I’ve read it I can say that the story is too. This is a brilliant and beautiful book in every way. Not only was it all I hoped for but it exceeded all those hopes.

A big part of what makes this my kind of read is that it’s about an ordinary and long life, and about what happens when Mabel has to step out of her comfort zone. Married for 62 years to Arthur, when he dies she has so many thoughts and feelings. She’s lost and lonely without him and yet the marriage wasn’t always one where they were completely in step with each other. Arthur left a list and it says ‘Find D’. This must surely mean that Mabel must find Dot, her former best friend who she hasn’t set eyes on for six decades.

What comes next is the most perfectly executed story about marriage, companionship, friendship and love. Mabel makes new friends of all age groups and although an unlikely group they make, the wisdom and experience of each is of so much benefit to the others. With their help, Mabel sets out to try and find out what happened to Dot and in turn begins to heal from her loss.

I thought Laura Pearson’s writing was perfection. She nailed all the minutiae of life and made it interesting. The story tugs on the heartstrings and yet it’s so uplifting and joyful in so many ways and I loved that she managed to surprise me with some unexpected developments in the plot.

This is a book that has so much detail I want to talk about that I could go on and on for ages (I will spare you that!) but sometimes a book comes along that just entirely envelops me, which has a bit of everything I love, characters that I care about, and a story that I become totally immersed in and which makes me laugh and cry. The Last List of Mabel Beaumont is that book. It’s a complete and utter triumph.

Laura Pearson is the author of issues-based women’s fiction. She founded The Bookload on Facebook and has had several pieces published in the Guardian and the Telegraph.


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