Originally published: 29 April 2021
Author: Abbie Greaves
Published by: Century
Length: 404 pages
Reading dates: 10-17 April 2021
Mary O’Connor has been keeping a vigil for her first love for the past seven years.
Every evening without fail, Mary arrives at Ealing Broadway station and sets herself up among the commuters. In her hands Mary holds a sign which bears the words: ‘Come Home Jim.’
Call her mad, call her a nuisance, call her a drain on society – Mary isn’t going anywhere.
That is, until an unexpected call turns her world on its head. In spite of all her efforts, Mary can no longer find the strength to hold herself together. She must finally face what happened all those years ago, and answer the question – where on earth is Jim?
I absolutely loved Abbie Greaves’ debut The Silent Treatment which I read this time last year so I was very excited to receive a copy of The Ends of the Earth and it didn’t disappoint!
Mary is a sympathetic character from the very beginning – she lives a sad and lonely existence, working in a supermarket by day then setting herself up at Ealing train station during rush hour with her sign which says “Come Home Jim”. She lives alone and regularly volunteers for a crisis call centre called Nightline. When she receives a call, she is convinced it is Jim who has somehow found her again after 7 long years.
When someone films Mary at Ealing train station with her sign, it gets shared on Twitter much to her horror, and local journalist Alice is intrigued and decides to try and get to know Mary to find out her story to try and write a story that might save her job.
The story is set in the present day but also gradually gives us glimpses into the past, revealing how Mary met Jim and about their life together.
As in The Silent Treatment, at the heart of this story is an intriguing mystery that draws the reader in and made me want to discover what happened that is making Mary so sad. I loved how as the book progressed, Mary gradually lets people into her life, first Alice then the other helpers at Nightline who want to help. Despite it being set mostly in London, Greaves manages to portray a real sense of community.
But the main focus is mental health, especially in men. Several of the male characters suffer with their mental health and find it hard to ask for help and this really resonated with me.
A brilliant follow up to The Silent Treatment, The Ends of the Earth is a lovely read which brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion and warmed my heart with some wonderful characters.
Thank you to Century for my beautiful finished gifted copy.
About the author:
Abbie Greaves studied at Cambridge University before working in a literary agency for a number of years.
She was inspired to write her first novel, THE SILENT TREATMENT, after reading a newspaper article about a boy in Japan who had never seen his parents speak to one another before.
Abbie lives in Brighton with her boyfriend.