Mari HowardOctober 11, 2021
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Mrs Morris Changes Lanes

by Debbie Young

Another novella by Debbie Young is always welcome light reading! After The Natter of Knitters, (a romp themed around Yarn-bombing in Wendlebury Barrow, the Cotswold village location for her Sophie Sayers cozy mystery series), her Mrs Morris Changes Lanes moves away from this familiar location and group of characters, and extends the kind of social comment we find in Young’s ‘flash fiction’. It is more of a delightful fairy-tale. employing the device of ‘magic realism’, to explore an idea of ‘What if…?’

As a novella, Mrs Morris Changes Lanes is an ideal read, for example, to take on a train journey. The book qualifies as a ‘fairy-tale’, as the main character proceeds, as in such ‘moral’ tales,  from a kind of discontent, poverty, or some other difficulty, to the apparent happy fulfilment of their wish for a different life… only to discover the disadvantages of greener grass. Juliet Morris, struck in what she believes is a dreary marriage to a guy she met at school, finds herself ‘whisked away’ on a journey, via an ordinary circumstance which turns bizarre, into the kind of more glamorous world she pictures had her years after leaving school taken different turn.

Young takes us through apt descriptions of this other life, with her usual cleverly observed social interactions and humour, until in Mrs Morris’s case, like  Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, but through an emotional rather than a physical tornado, she comes to the conclusion that ‘east west, home’s best’ might be the place she belongs. 

Short, funny, and definitely cozy, is an amusing and interesting variation on Young's comforting ‘cozy’ fiction style, and as warm as a knitted jumper on a cold evening..