Meet Me at the Museum by Anne Youngson is a novel about a woman–a farmer’s wife, mother, and grandmother–who lives in East Anglia, Great Britain. Tina Hopgood begins trading letters with a gentleman, Professor Anders Larsen, a Danish museum curator.
Meet Me at the Museum starts when Tina writes a letter to Professor P. V. Glob (a real person) about her interest in his discovery of the Tollund Man (a preserved body from the Iron Age unearthed in the 1950s) that is housed at the Silkeborg Museum (a real museum) in Silkeborg, Denmark.
Thus begins a moving correspondence of well over a year’s time between the fictional characters of Tina Hopgood and Professor Anders Larsen.
These are handwritten, old school letters written with pen on stationery, although eventually Tina and Anders forego the postal system and continue their letter writing via email attachments. The two characters share confidences about the loss of Tina’s best friend, Bella, and Anders’ wife. The farmer’s wife and museum curator connect by means of the mundane nature of their respective lives.
This debut novel by author Anne Youngson, Meet Me at the Museum, is written in an epistolary novel style. The format of the story, told through email, may seem unusual to readers who have never been exposed to the style. Meet Me at the Museum’s story contains no dialogue and no narrative.
Readers of Meet Me at the Museum learn everything about the book’s characters and what is happening solely by way of the two’s correspondence via letters and emails.
Set in the 21st century, Meet Me at the Museum is about two people living their lives and exchanging thoughts. Both the farmer’s wife and museum curator have suffered a loss. By sharing ideas and feelings in letters, the two connect and form a moving friendship that helps to support each other as they sort out their lives, grief, and loneliness.
Meet Me at the Museum is intriguing and delightful, but it is not one that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Nonetheless, I found myself curious about the next letter and what the two would discuss with one another. There are not a lot of characters in Anne Youngson’s epistolary novel, besides Tina Hopgood and Anders Larsen, which makes the story quite easy to follow.
Meet Me at the Museum is a good book to read before bed, or while waiting for an appointment, or on a bus. It is quite easy to pick up and lay down again.
In no way is Meet Me at the Museum light-hearted fluff. Anne Youngson’s debut novel explores human emotion regarding relationships and decisions we make, some large and some minor.
The novel, the author’s first, deals with more than one tender theme. The story is about the willingness to accept our lives as they have evolved and whether they are currently adequate or even tolerable. What has been acceptable in the past may not be applicable in current times.
Meet Me at the Museum deals with how we relate to our families, specifically adult children, and knowing what to part with and what to keep.
Anne Youngson wrote Meet Me at the Museum in 2018. This is Anne Youngson’s debut novel after having retired from life in the automotive industry. She lives in Oxfordshire, England and is married with children and grandchildren.
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Author: Anne Youngson
Release Date: August 7, 2018