"[Dido] and Jeffrey, Georgia and Henry... had reading at the heart of everything, touching and defining everything, a ceasless inner life so rich it's hard to say where life and literature begin and end." Four Oxford friends, two long-married couples until death took one half of a partnership. Georgia, widowed a year, is alone with daughter Chloe nearby. Dido, comfortably secure and settled, suddenly finds she's facing a future she hadn't planned or expected.
Sue Gee's novel Reading in Bed is a tour de force: witty, sensitive, intelligent and perceptive. With a light sprinkling of literary references to everything from "Little Grey Rabbit" to Doris Lessing, Alan Bennett and Margaret Atwood, the book is full of sharp observation: a farm which might have come straight from Bates's "The Darling Buds of May" "sounds like something out of a Ladybird book....looks like Constable reworked by Hirst."
Georgia reads Anita Brookner who "speaks like no-one else to faded London women trying to live alone", but she has to galvanise herself and her daughter to help deal with cousin Maud, living with only her dog for company in the depths of the country and steadily becoming more confused.
Will Chloe find love? Will Georgia ever adjust to being without Henry, and what of the trials and tribulations faced by Dido, Jeffrey and their son Nick?
"Comfort, in modern fiction" thinks Dido, "is perhaps in short supply", so she turns to "The Wind in the Willows" during a particularly testing time. Comfort, in Sue Gee's superb example of contemporary fiction, abounds. Read in or out of bed this book is guaranteed to engross and entertain.