‘Eleven Days in June’ (The Little Leaf Series, 1) by R. Gibson Colley
Devon, 1985. Dan is 20, lives in a sleepy village and works in a small DIY shop. He likes numbers and hero worships Lord Nelson. But he finds ordinary people difficult to understand and he’s certainly never kissed a girl. His mother mocks him, and he misses his father and he pines for Ollie, his only childhood friend who truly understood him.
But, despite it all, Dan thinks he’s happy enough. Until one June day, the beautiful and mysterious Libby walks into his shop – and into Dan’s life.
Libby’s sudden appearance turns Dan’s ordered existence upside down. But Dan soon realises that Libby isn’t who she seems. Who exactly is she? What is she hiding, and, more importantly, who’s that threatening man always looking for her?
In trying to help Libby, Dan comes to realise what’s missing in his own life, and, in turn, appreciates what’s really important…
One of my pet peeves with novels set in the past is when they fetishize the details of the period and conform to all of the stereotypes. Everyone in the 60s is a hippy, everyone in the 80s wearing colour contrasting shirts and getting blitzed on cocaine while chanting “Loadsamoney” like a Harry Enfield satire.
Just one of the reasons to like this charming little tale, therefore, is the deft way in which Gibson Colley treats his period setting with a light touch.
The central character of Dan is quite content with his job in the hardware store (“I always have to reorganise the screws”) and his love of Lord Nelson until Libby arrives with her feminine wiles and turns his world upside down.
This is a sweet, gentle little novel which is more smile-inducing in its humour than laugh out loud funny. However, it is a good natured, gem of a period piece which wears its world lightly and will alleviate any lockdown gloom.
I look forward to the next instalment of the The Little Leaf series.
Author Bio – I was born one Christmas Day, which means, as a child, I lost out on presents. Nonetheless, looking back on it, I lived a childhood with a “silver spoon in my mouth” – brought up in a rambling manor house in the beautiful Devon countryside. It’s been downhill ever since.
I was a librarian for a long time, a noble profession. Then I started a series called History In An Hour, “history for busy people”, which I sold to HarperCollins UK.
I now live in London with my wife, two children and dog (a fluffy cockapoo) and write historical fiction, mainly 20th-century war and misery, and humorous books set in 1980s England.