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 the man that, many years ago, he lost – but has never forgotten . . .
Join Albert as he sets out to find the long-lost love of his life, and has an unforgettable and completely life-affirming adventure on the way . . . This is a love story the likes of which you have never read before!
Delectable, charming and enlightening.
You know when you finish a book and rush to see if the author has written other stories that you ended a very good book!
The Secret Life of Albert Entwistle is a story of awakening and self-growth.
With a steady and tranquil pace, we will follow Albert’s life story. Alternating between present and past, at the beginning of the story we meet Albert, 64. He is the equivalent of a male spinster, living in his childhood house alone with his cat, Gracie.
He has no hobby, no friends, no parents anymore and just lives for his job. Albert is a postman. He loves his job, the walk, learning about people’s life by observing their mail but not in talking to them. No, Albert is too shy, too afraid of people to really talk and reveal his true self.
Afraid to connect with people, even his colleagues at work, Albert’s world will unravel the day he learns of his impending retirement!
How will he fill his days if he has no job anymore? This will be the catalyst to big changes in Albert monotonous and solitary life.
He will embark on the most frightening and fulfilling journey of his life: looking for his true love: George Atkinson.
George was openly gay as a teenager and Albert fell for him hard. They met in secret and lived their best days as teenagers until something pulled them apart brutally. Because in the sixties/ seventies, being gay was illegal. You could be imprisoned for loving someone of the same sex. Albert’s father being a policeman and deeply homophobic, Albert had to repress his true self all his life. Can you imagine, hiding who you are your whole life? Fighting to not feel ashamed, believing that you are worth something even if everyone says otherwise all without uttering a protest or any single damning word? We can feel that Albert’s father has ingrained a deep fear inside him, reinforced by his mother who deemed him “good for nothing”.
It was hard to read about the hate people, even parents, had for homosexuals. After all, love is love and they did nothing wrong!
In his quest to find George, Albert will meet new people, from the single mom to the new gay couple going through that old spinster who designed costumes for theater plays in her youth. All these characters will accept Albert and help him grow into a new man. Someone determined to finally live and stop hiding.
The secondary characters are colorful and very well fleshed out. They make for an eclectic bunch and add layers to the story, all connections furthering the plot and helping Albert to bloom.
And we’ll follow our hero, witnessing his transformation from shy and closeted gay, abhorring talking to people, to someone confident, open about his sexual preferences and becoming an essential part of communities.
It was heartwarming as well as heartbreaking at times. Certainly enlightening about the LGBTQ condition in England around the seventies. A little bit swoony. A little bit sad and bitter. But through it all extremely well balanced, surfing flawlessly between a myriad of emotions.
I don’t often read books with older people as main character but I am so happy that I gave a chance to that story! I wish I could find more jewels like this story!
Special mention for the narrator: Simon Vance. If I had difficulties with some accent or slang in the beginning, soon enough his narration brought this story to life and had me enraptured all along!
Thanks for reading!