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I came across this book a couple of years ago on offer in WHSmith and thought it might be a quick cheap read. I am so glad I bought it as I was hooked as soon as I started reading. Set in the northern seaside town of Whitby, famous for it's link with the supernatural, we follow the antics and adventures of two old ladies - the lovely Brenda - B&B proprietor after the quiet life, and her friend Effie, junk shop owner. But Brenda has a secret, something no-one should ever hope to discover, and Effie herself comes from a long line of witches. From dealing with a deadly kind of beauty therapy to the misdeeds at a hotel where it is Christmas every day, we follow these friends as they yomp about Whitby, stopping now and then for a fish and chip supper at the Cod Almighty. Devillishy good humour, and unputdownable. Leaves you wanting more - and thankfully there are more! Paul Magrs has written several books, not all with the wonderful Brenda and Effie but they are all great reads. He does gothic northern humour ever so well!
Never the Bride is the first of a series of Fantastical Gothic Novels starring the wonderfully eccentric Brenda and Effie by Paul Magrs. The stories are set in Whitby famous as the destination of Dracula but it seems he was not the only monster to find themselves drawn to the foggy seaside town. Brenda is a lady of a certain age running a B&B, she has had a very colourful past and wants nothing more than to settle down and be left alone. Her best fried is the eccentric Effie and they spend their days going for tea and scones and poking their noses into other peoples business. However their quiet lives are disturbed by the many odd characters who turn up in the town. There are the mysterious Green Family who have a strange look about them. Brenda and Effie need to know what is going on at "The Deadly Boutique" that leaves the older ladies of Whitby looking 10 years younger but also decidedly shorter and just what is the agenda of Mr Alucard when he sweeps Effie of her feet? The residents of Whitby are just as strange as its visitors. What is the truth about the Christmas hotel where everyday is Christmas and just what is the deal with Brendas feet that don't just look like they have come from other people but actually do. I absolutely loved this book. I read this whilst on holiday in Greece last year where it was 38 degrees but I was transported to a cold and foggy Whitby as soon as I picked it up. It is quirky, imaginative and fantastical but at the same time it has a sense of normality and nostalgia that makes it almost like a surreal Miss Marple. The main characters are really well drawn as are the array of strange visitors who pop in and out of the story. I felt I real empathy for Brenda who has a tragic history, but who's clever and witty observations left me giggling to myself. I hope when I am an old granny, I too will be eating tea and scones, sticking my nose into other peoples business and having adventures like Brenda and . I read this book in more or less one sitting but every chapter is a different story so it would also be a good choice to read on the bus to work. This is a beautifully atmospheric and wonderfully quirky set of stories. 5 Stars for me!