The Sparkle Pages by Meg Bignell is her first (published) novel. Susannah Parks, wife to Hugh, a forensic structural engineer, discovers that his craving to join a second Antarctic expedition is stronger than that for love and passion in their marriage. Their relationship has seriously lost its SPARKLE! In fact Hugh appears to have lost interest in her altogether and Susannah is rapidly losing interest in herself. SPARKLE in any shape or form appears elusive as she picks up after her four children, Eloise, Raffy, Jimmy and Mary-Lou, not forgetting Barky, the dog.
On New Year’s Eve she makes a resolution, which becomes “THE SPARKLE PROJECT”. Hiding in the walk-in wardrobe and sitting in her rocking chair, she begins to write in a diary – “THE SPARKLE PAGES”.
She writes of the highs and lows of her relationships with family, best (and world famous) friend, Ria, elderly neighbour, Valda, lover of loud music, and dear Henry, casual orchestra cellist and bookshop owner.
She mulls over her past, spent studying the viola at the Conservatorium of Music in Hobart with Ria, who chose the piano. It was at Uni that she met Hugh, who was studying Physics, and she joined an astronomy course to get to know him better. They fell in love with a passion and the SPARKLE seemed endless.
Can Susannah re-kindle the passion and bring back the SPARKLE?
And, why can’t she be persuaded to play her once much-loved viola?
Set in Tasmania, this novel is both comical and heart wrenching. As Susannah tackles the day-to-day household chores and cares for her family the intimacy in her marriage declines. Blaming herself, she reveals very specific confessions of the sexual aspects of her marriage. She strives to improve the situation but guilt and insecurity weigh her down.
Meg Bignell writes with humour, insight and wisdom of the complex relationships between family members, lovers and friends. She has created some wonderful characters, who add depth and absurdity to the narrative. Also, the mystery of Susannah’s refusal to play the viola, will keep the reader guessing to the very end.
The Sparkle Pages is available in paperback, e-book and audio
About Meg Bignell
Meg Bignell was a nurse and a weather presenter on the telly before she surrendered to a persistent desire to write. Since then she has been writing almost every day – bits and pieces here and there, either to earn a crust, to get something off her chest or to entertain herself. She has written three short films, mostly because she wanted to do some acting and no one else would cast her. She sings a bit too, occasionally writes and performs cabaret, but is mostly very busy being a mother to three and a wife (to one). She lives with her family on a dairy farm on Tasmania’s East Coast.