Synopsis

An extraordinary, gloriously uplifting novel about the power of friendship and the puzzling ties that bind us

Clayton Stumper might be twenty-six years old, but he dresses like your grandpa and drinks sherry like your aunt. Abandoned at birth on the steps of the Fellowship of Puzzlemakers, he was raised by a group of eccentric enigmatologists and now finds himself among the last survivors of a fading institution.

When the esteemed crossword compiler and main maternal presence in Clayton’s life, Pippa Allsbrook, passes away, she bestows her final puzzle on him: a promise to reveal the mystery of his parentage and prepare him for life beyond the walls of the commune. As Clay begins to unpick the clues, he uncovers something even the Fellowship have never been able to solve—and it’s a secret that has the potential to change everything.

Audiobook review

4,5 stars

Let me begin by advising you to go for the physical or ebook instead of the audiobook. Not because the narrators are bad, on  the contrary, but because this book has crosswords and mind puzzles to solve and I think it would be easier seeing the words on paper rather than listening to them if you want to solve them.

That being said, I still had a good time listening to that audiobook.

The Fellowship of Puzzlemakers is a heartwarming story about finding yourself, solving the mystery of your past and certainly finding you community.

This has the « found family » trope at its center.

Told from two POV, one in the past and one in the present, we switch between Pippa’s story, how she created the Fellowship of Puzzlemakers and found a baby one day on her doorstep and Clayton’s story, said baby now a grown man who, after Pippa’s death, will be sent on a journey to find his past thanks to riddles and puzzles left behind by his beloved Pippa.

It was charming seeing how this community of lonely souls but brilliant minds happened. How they all gathered in a commune, uniting forces to create puzzles, mazes, crosswords and share their earnings. These people, slowly headed to the last part of their lives and mostly alone thought to find support and avoid loneliness in their old days.

Every member of the Fellowship had his own identity and quirks. It was a delight to see them slowly being fleshed out, every one different but united by a common goal.

Clayton’s journey was where the mystery existed. It was like a treasure hunt, following the clues of his past left behind, trying to guess who his parents were(I did guess by the way) and see that « old soul » in a young body finally leaving the security and routine of the Fellowship to go on an adventure.

If you love charming stories with a dash of mystery, puzzle solving and intergenerational friendship, this is for you.

Thanks for reading.

Sophie

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