Thank you to Rosie Margesson at Headline Books for this gorgeous proof copy of The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle by Matt Cain and a Crunchie bar. I’m pleased to be sharing my review today now the book has been published in the UK.
IT’S NEVER TOO LATE TO START YOUR LIFE’S BIG ADVENTURE . . .
Albert Entwistle was a postman. It was one of the few things everyone knew about him. And it was one of the few things he was comfortable with people knowing.
64-year-old Albert Entwistle has been a postie in a quiet town in Northern England for all his life, living alone since the death of his mam 18 years ago. He keeps himself to himself. He always has. But he’s just learned he’ll be forced to retire at his next birthday. With no friends and nothing to look forward to, the lonely future he faces terrifies him. He realises it’s finally time to be honest about who he is. He must learn to ask for what he wants. And he must find the courage to look for George, the man that, many years ago, he lost – but has never forgotten . . .
Having seen great reviews for this book, I curled up with my proof copy last weekend and read it in a day (the benefits of staying in on a rainy day).
I’m pleased to say that this was one of my favourite reads of 2021 and I’ll try and explain why. As the synopsis above explains, Albert has been living a quiet life, blending into the background and avoiding making friends.
However a number of events conspire to change Albert’s life, prompting him to start to take some risks and to look for the happiness he deserves. Matt Cain has created a book full of great characters, with Albert at the heart of the story. As the story develops, we discover why Albert has felt unable to be honest about his feelings and why he has locked himself away from his local community.
I loved how Albert’s life changed, as slowly he started to open up about his losses and his hopes for the future. It was also interesting to see how his own opinions about work colleagues changed as he got to know them better.
The book also looks at how society has changed in the UK in the past 50 years. My dad, in his eighties, grew up in an era detailed in Albert’s story and still struggles with seeing men kiss on TV, because of the way his generation were brought up. I have seen much needed major changes during my lifetime, and my children are growing up with a very different outlook, with their friends being open about their feelings. We’ve had some interesting dinner time discussions about why people from the older generations find it difficult to grasp how things have changed.
This is a story that flows so well, full of humour and heartwarming moments, but also some heartbreak. This is a reminder to everyone to fight against prejudices and stereotypes, and to be kind rather than cruel.
This is the first book I’ve read by Matt Cain and I’m looking forward to reading more in the future. A five star read for me and available to buy now in bookshops or online (I know that Bert’s Books has some copies). Do also buy a Crunchie bar – there is a link to the story.
Matt Cain was born in Bury and brought up in Bolton. He is an author, a leading commentator on LGBT+ issues, and a former journalist. He was Channel 4’s first Culture Editor, Editor-In-Chief of Attitude magazine, and has judged the Costa Prize, the Polari Prize and the South Bank Sky Arts Awards. He won Diversity In Media’s Journalist Of the Year award in 2017 and is an ambassador for Manchester Pride and the Albert Kennedy Trust, plus a patron of LGBT+ History Month.
Matt’s first two novels, Shot Through the Heart and Nothing But Trouble, were published by Pan Macmillan in 2014 and 2015, and his third, The Madonna Of Bolton, became Unbound’s fastest crowdfunded novel ever before its publication in 2018. His latest, The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle, will be published by Headline Review in May 2021.
He lives in London.
For more information, please visit http://www.mattcainwriter.com.