Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives 2023 #Potluck – Jemima Pett #reviews The Museum of Ordinary People by Mike Gayle

Welcome to the new series of Posts from Your Archives 2023 where I will be sharing posts from the last six months of 2022 I have selected from the archives of willing participants. If you wish to be included the information is at the the end of the post.

In this post from the archives of author Jemima Pett she reviews a fascinating sounding book.

Book Review by Jemima Pett –  The Museum of Ordinary People by Mike Gayle 

The Museum of Ordinary People: a book that didn’t fit any category I usually read, but sounded as if I’d really enjoy it. Right on both counts, as it turns out. Thank you to NetGalley and to the publishers for allowing me an ARC (which was perfectly formatted).


The superb new novel from the bestselling author of Half A World Away and All the Lonely People.

Still reeling from the sudden death of her mother, Jess is about to do the hardest thing she’s ever done: empty her childhood home so that it can be sold.

But when in the process Jess stumbles across the mysterious Alex, together they become custodians of a strange archive of letters, photographs, curios and collections known as The Museum of Ordinary People.

As they begin to delve into the history of the objects in their care, Alex and Jess not only unravel heartbreaking stories that span generations and continents, but also unearth long buried secrets that lie much closer to home.

Inspired by a box of mementos found abandoned in a skip following a house clearance, The Museum of Ordinary People is a thought-provoking and poignant story of memory, grief, loss and the things we leave behind. (goodreads)

Jemima’s Review

There are plenty of people who will empathise with Jess as she goes through the pain of clearing her mother’s house for sale. So many things in this book are so ordinary, that so many of us go through. Yet the author presents them in such a way to give us fresh eyes and engage us with the process.

The plot is not really anything out of the ordinary. But the way Mike Gayle has presented it, and embellished it with the wondrous collection of ordinary objects that someone loved, but couldn’t keep, makes it a stand-out novel for me.

Throughout the opening few chapters I wondered when Jess was going to stop fooling herself. But that is the nature of this type of book. We get ourselves thoroughly involved in what she should do, and then things fall apart in even more ways than we’d imagined. Then it gets worse. We almost think it will all come to nothing. In many ways this could be a rom-com with Hugh Grant, or a Bridget Jones for a new generation. It is a really enjoyable take on modern life in London and all that goes with it. Deliver-ins and Ubers abound. But tracking down the mysteries within the museum, both human and and inanimate, lead us to some surprising secrets.

It was engrossing and enjoyable, and a breath of fresh air. Loved it – and gave it five stars.

©Jemima Pett 2022

My thanks to Jemima for inviting me to share posts from her archives and I know she would love to hear from you.

A selection of books by Jemima Pett


One of the reviews for The Princelings of the East the first book in the series.

Julie Grasso Five Stars on Goodreads

We follow Fred and George, Fred who is the thinker or Philosopher and George who is the Engineer, but the totally unique and endearing thing about these two totally lovable characters is that they are in fact Guinea Pigs. But not just your average guinea pigs that eat lettuce and live in a cage, they are Princelings and they live in a castle, contribute to its fine tuning and banter with the humans.

Fred and George remind me of an English cartoon that is currently showing on Australian television called Country Mouse and City Mouse, which I recently realised is a retelling of Aesops Fable.
The two mice are intelligent adventurers who travel around, but they have different likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses which help them along in their adventures.

Similarly, Fred and George are brothers with very different talents and interests but they work together on their adventures, that’s until they get separated and have to work apart to solve the mystery of the Energy Drain.

I enjoyed this book very much and I was intrigued the whole way, itching to find out the answer to mysterious energy drain. I won’t spoil it but there may be some wibbly wobbly timey wimey shenanigans ( sorry that is a Dr Who quote which I realise if you aren’t a super nerd like me, Yes I own a Tardis, you won’t have a clue what I am talking about lol.) I loved the reference to Wozna Cola which sounded an awful lot like a certain dark coloured liquid that has taken the world by storm for about 4 decades

This was a clean read, with no violence at all which I think is such a credit to the author as I feel quite passionate about this very topic when considering if a book is for a Middle Grade audience. I would recommend this to 10+ plus due to the intricacy of the plot and there is quite a cast of characters to follow. I also feel that this story would be more appealing to boys than girls.

I like the cover, but I do wish that it had pictures of Fred and George as I think that would totally appeal to kids to help them visualise these completely adorable guinea pigs.

I am looking forward to reading the further adventures of Fred and George.

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And:Amazon UK – Blog:Jemima PettGoodreads:Jemima Pett – Twitter:@jemima_pett –

About Jemima Pett

When I discovered the words ‘portfolio career’ I realised I was trendsetter – having not only a number of different jobs, but in totally different fields. These included social work, business management, computer technology, environmental research. The thread running through all of them was communication – and that continued in my spare time with writing and editing club magazines, manuals, reports… I loved words, loved to learn and to apply my learning to the real world.

Eventually the world just wasn’t big enough, and so I went back to inventing my own, as I had as a child. First came the Realms, the setting for the ten-book Princelings of the East series. It’s a feudal England run by princes in castles who just happen to be guinea pigs – although you can read them as people equally well. Then came the Viridian System, a planetary area on the outskirts of known space where a frontier mentality mixes with big business and tourism.

I wrote some shorter stories featuring characters from the Princelings series, recently published as Messenger Misadventures. This features Dylan and Dougall, and their friend Deirdre, who unfortunately did not feature with them in Book 8 of the Princelings series. Two more characters that are asking for their own book are Roscoe and Neville, who turn up in book 10.

2021 saw the publication of five short story collections. Most of these originally appeared on my blog between 2012 and 2020, but are no longer there. Several new stories appear, especially in the seasonal special Snowflakes and Shivers. I still blog short stories, usually once a week.

The third and final Viridian System book is due for publication in Feb 22. There’s a snippet at the end of that which may lead to another scifi story, but not set in the Viridian System.

How to feature in the series?

  • All I need you to do is give me permission to dive in to your archives and find two posts to share here on Smorgasbord. (
  • Rather than a set topic, I will select posts at random of general interest across a number of subjects from the second six months of 2022. (it is helpful if you have a link to your archives in your sidebar by month)
  • As I will be promoting your books as part of the post along with all your information and links so I will not be sharing direct marketing or self- promotional posts in the series.
  • If you are an author I am sure you will have a page on your blog with the details, and an ‘about page’ with your profile and social media links (always a good idea anyway). I will get everything that I need.
  • As a blogger I would assume that you have an ‘about page’ a profile photo and your links to social media.
  • Copyright is yours and I will ©Your name on every post… and you will be named as the author in the URL and subject line.
  • Previous participants are very welcome to take part again.
  • Each post is reformatted for my blog and I don’t cut and paste, this means it might look different from your own post especially if you are using the block editor
  • If I do share a post which contains mainly photographs I will share up to five and link back to the original post for people to view the rest.

N.B – To get the maximum benefit from your archive posts, the only thing I ask is that you respond to comments individually and share on your own social media.. thank you.