Crossed Wires by Rosy Thornton

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Crossed Wires by Rosy Thornton

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Category: Women's Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Can a Cambridge don and a worker in a Sheffield call centre develop any sort of relationship? It's a fairy story for the twenty first century and is recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 352 Date: April 2009
Publisher: Headline Review
ISBN: 978-0755345557

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Some encounters are more chance than others and when Dr Peter Kendrick, geography don at a Cambridge College, rang a call centre in Sheffield to make a claim because he'd had an accident in his car he didn't really expect to make a friend of the woman who took the call. And Mina, for whom Kendrick was the forty-eighth caller that day, could never imagine that they would ever have anything in common, but they were both single – he through the death of his wife in a car accident and she through never having been anything else – and both parents.

It's a gentle story about the trials and tribulations of being a parent and particularly a single parent in the first part of the twenty first century. Peter Kendrick is father to ten year old twins Cassie and Kim and he's concerned about their inseparability, until the day when something comes between them and he finds himself longing for the days when he inevitably found them curled up in the same bed each morning. He's also concerned to find how differently his children are treated when they're in the same situation as the children of a group of travellers.

Mina's daughter, Sal (never 'Sally', please) is isolated but it seems that she's that way through choice. She never has her nose out of a book and loves a trip to the library. In many ways it's helpful to Mina whose job and the travel to and from the call centre takes up a lot of her time. As if this wasn't enough she's in the unusual situation of her mother having moved out of the house to live with her boyfriend – leaving her teenage daughter with Mina. Jess does difficult very well and Mina constantly worries about what she might be up to – or in to.

With two such different backgrounds could a relationship between Peter and Mina ever work – or even happen in the first place?

I first encountered Rosy Thornton when she sent me her novel Hearts and Minds for review. I loved it and even havered over whether or not I would classify it as Women's Fiction or suggest that it should have a wider readership, with its examination of the collegiate system in Cambridge and the problems of a female college having a male head. Crossed Wires is a return to the style of her first book More Than Love Letters and whilst I wouldn't describe it as unashamedly romantic, it is a lighter read than Hearts and Minds. For many this might not be a bad thing – I have loaned Hearts and Minds to a couple of female friends who both described it as not really their thing.

As always with Rosy Thornton you get characters you're really going to get to know. They come off the page fully formed and it's difficult to think that they're not people you've met. I was particularly taken with Mina's mother – blunt and no-nonsense – and the mother of the traveller children with her resigned acceptance of the way that her children were viewed. Even relatively minor characters stay in your mind long after you've finished the book.

I'd like to thank Rosy for sending me a copy of the book to review. We also have a review of The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton.

If this type of book appeals to you then you should certainly read Rosy's first book and you might also enjoy Life Begins by Amanda Brookfield.

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Buy Crossed Wires by Rosy Thornton at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Crossed Wires by Rosy Thornton at


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Chloe Spooner said:

I have read this myself, and thought it was an absolutely charming read! It was an easy read, and definitely as you say a modern-day fairytale. Brilliantly written, and a great review too! Chloe