*I received a free DRC of this book with thanks to the author and Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources blog tours. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: In a small town in Oregon, everyone wants to kill the local advice columnist, Mrs Bambi. If only they knew who she was.
Mrs Bambi’s advice is so snarky that people have long since stopped asking for it. Instead she eavesdrops on conversations and writes the letters herself. The readers would lynch her, but no one knows who she is.
In fact, Mrs. Bambi is not a woman. The column is written by Richard, a quiet widower with a young daughter.
The uneventful part of Richard’s life is nearly over: he begins dating Pam, a well-known realtor and a sports addict. When people begin to learn the identity of Mrs. Bambi, Richard is threatened and humiliated in public. Despite the pleas of his editor, his friends, and Pam, he refuses to stop writing the column.
The only thing that can prevent disaster is for the town to finally learn the whole truth about Richard, which is much larger than the simple mystery of Mrs. Bambi.
Set in 1995, Chris Mason’s skillful storytelling brings a tale of humour and romance – and not a little peril – charmingly to life in the mind of the reader.
This book isn’t quite the zany romcom romp I was expecting from the blurb, but it is a romcom. It is just a more thoughtful, small-community-centric family drama of a romcom, all about learning to trust and live again after a loss; about parenting, friendship, new love, secrets and finding one’s identity.
Speaking of identity, there is plenty of LGBTQIA rep in the story – nearly all of Richard’s friends are in same-sex relationships and of the main characters his budding relationship with Pam is the exception.
Richard is an endearing main character but I also found him pretty annoying at times, as he seems committed to a path of passive self-destruction. I longed to throw a beer in his face myself sometimes!
Some of the aspects of the story do get a little dark, as Richard grapples with helping his friends at a shelter for abused women, the loss of his wife and potential loss of close friends, and even death threats and arson related to his secret life as Mrs Bambi – agony aunt and local spy/eavesdropper.
The excerpts from Mrs Bambi’s column add a lighter, funnier note to lighten the more serious moments in the story. And wow, Richards alter ego really doesn’t pull her punches! I actually winced in sympathy at some of the harsh responses, even though there is some good advice behind the snark.
I actually feel like the main heart of the story lies there, not in the romance aspect of the storyline, but in Richard’s search to reconcile the different aspects of his identity and find a place for himself in his community beyond all of his meddling, both positive and negative.
That is how I would sum this book up: an easy-read, hopeful story about searching for who you are and where you belong.
‘You’ve been writing that column for what, three years?’ He turned back to face him. ‘What are your friends going to say when they find out the nastiest bitch in town is their friend Richard? How’s A.M. going to handle that, or Nadine, or Karen?’
‘It didn’t upset you when you figured it out.’
‘I’m not a woman, Richard. The only people who know that you’re Mrs Bambi are me and that asshole Frank. You don’t know how the women’ll take it. But I can guarantee you—at the very least they’ll be pissed.’– Chris Mason, Mrs Bambi Knows
Purchase Link: Mrs Bambi Knows on Amazon
About the Author
Born in Ohio, Chris has moved around too much for anyone’s good, living in several places that might be considered tourist attractions. He mines those experiences for the settings of his books.
He lives in Florida with his wife, two dogs, two cats, and a smart-aleck macaw who has pets of her own.
Don’t forget to stop by the other blogs on this tour (see the poster below for details) for more great content and reviews!