Coats of Many Colors
In many ways, this one reminded me of some of the gentle English Family-oriented romances written in mid 20th century that are such a comfort and joy to me. Or some of the later stories by a favorite author, Rosamunde Pilcher. A fragile, introverted, and very nice young woman escapes to Cornwall to recover from some trauma. There is usually a granny involved, as well as a young child, a dog, a cottage, a close rural community, and an upstanding but grouchy love interest. This one fit the bill except the love interest was just nice, not grouchy.
This one largely deserves the very positive reviews it has gotten. Eloise Mumford is wonderful in this as the panic attack prone Joss. She is seeking tenure as a professor of English but her paper has been rejected. She is still grieving the death of her mother a year earlier and takes pills to stave off a life-long anxiety problem. Her best friend discloses that Joss’s mother had planned to take her to her childhood home in Cornwall as a surprise for her birthday and insists that Joss go anyway and work on her paper there, which she does. Everything proceeds very predictably as usual, but as Hallmark devotees know, if a Hallmark Romance appears on Hallmark Murders and Mysteries, it is going to go a little deeper than the usual rom-com shenanigans.
Famous British Actress (Downton Abbey, etc., etc.) Samantha Bond plays the mother of Daniel, the owner of the farm/B&B and Joss’s love interest. She is fighting with her son who wants to put Wind Turbines in one of their sheep fields for the sorely needed income. Underneath her polite façade, she is cold, rude and hostile, change-averse, and old-fashioned despite her snazzy sweaters and chic haircut. She was so remote and scary that when she breaks down and kindly helps Joss with her grief, it is genuinely touching. Meanwhile Joss mentors Daniel’s dyslexic daughter. So there is quite a lot going on, including a mysterious woman that may or may not be a ghost or a figment of Joss’s imagination. There is lots of English poetry quoting which was nice. The scenery and photography were beautiful.
The moral of the story is that security and safety are over-rated and sometimes taking chances and living a little is the path to take. Instead of pursuing tenure (security and safety) which was only adding to her stress, she decides to live in the moment and move to Cornwall to be with Farmer Dan and his little family and also travel. We have a “One Year Later” epilogue in which we see she is happily in charge of the literary festival and happy in her relationship with Daniel. Speaking of the epilogue, I was going to refrain from adding to the general criticism of the vast number of coats that Joss crammed in her suitcase to wear in Cornwall. (Blue, Pink, Red, Houndstooth, and a Puffy Jacket.) But when she was sporting still ANOTHER DAMN COAT one year later (Tartan) I couldn’t resist.
March 16, 2022