Review of Deborah Goodrich Royce’s debut novel Finding Mrs. Ford
Deborah Goodrich Royce’s debut novel, Finding Mrs. Ford, has become a phenomenon and is being referred to affectionately as simply Mrs. Ford. What is it about this book?
Royce’s main character, the Staid Mrs. Ford of Watch Hill Rhode Island – for those who are unaware, is like a mini-Newport – is in for the ride of her life when one day in 2014, the FBI arrives to question her about her past. The trigger is Mrs. Ford’s relationship with a mysterious man, a Chaldean, who she knew thirty years prior when she lived in the Detroit area in her youth.
Royce takes us places. Both physically and mentally. From the stately world of the upper crust, to the landscape of suburban Detroit in the late 1970’s, she bridges the yawning gap between privilege and economic decline. While toggling between two eras, she touches on themes that ring universal such as identity, longing and the magnetic attraction of an unbridled soul. All of which play out in a page turning atmospheric story that keeps the reader guessing to the end.
I will admit I am biased. The Detroit she describes parallels much of my own experience having hailed from that area during the time frame of the book. But there is something about Royce’s writing, the way she brings you into the direct experience of the characters that keeps the reader -to quote from the book, like a “butterfly pinned to a board” -which is certainly my happy place when buried in a book!
Congratulations to DGR – can’t wait to see what she brings us next!