THE MAN WHO MADE THEM HAPPY BY JON LAWRENCE
Paperback published by Eyrie Press June 21st 2021
It’s 1985, and single mum Amelia is beginning her new job at Sandwick Nursing Home in the Shetlands. While there, she befriends residents Henry Halleton, a retired BBC war correspondent who is coming to terms with the loss of his wife. As Amelia struggles to connect with her young son, Henry forms a strange relationship with Mary, a dementia sufferer, under the watchful eye of the brutal head nurse, Sean.
Having lived with a secret which has brought him nightmares since World War Two, Henry enlists Amelia’s help to create the perfect day for all the other forgotten residents. In order to succeed, Henry needs to uncover the remarkable stories of all those who call Sandwick home.
The Man Who Made Them Happy is a story about the lengths one man will go to free himself from demons. Poignant and powerful, it is a tale of love, friendship, kindness and guilt. From the author of Silence and Songbirds, The Jack Newton Radio and The House on the Roof of the World.
Wow! I loved every single word written in every chapter. It was a real pleasure to be swept away, becoming absolutely fascinated with each character in believing everything how each voice told their story. If there’s one book I’m going to highly recommend reading it has to be The Man Who Made Them Happy, by Jon Lawrence, as he weaves a mixture of well believable scenes. It’s a beautiful story it made me happily cry, and cry with some heartbreaking news, with at the same time made me angry.
Amelia is a single mother and starts her new job at Sandwick Nursing Home. She is a kind caring worker always making time for all resident, specially including Henry Halleton, who was a retired BBC war correspondent that has nightmares of something he did in the past. Henry strikes up a special relationship with a Mary who suffers from dementia.
The head nurse Sean made me really angry being extremely bossy to his staff and residents, and what appalled me even more is that he had a violent streak in him lashing physically out. I had a big knot in my stomach every time Sean appeared. I braced myself as my mouth went dry, with Henry, and Amelia that came up with a plan to try and report Sean.
Jon Lawrence has achieved a sheer brilliant way in how we get to know about each residents, telling their own story about themselves and what they did for a living in their past.
I found a lot similarities to my life inside this book. I used to work in a friendly residential care home, where all the staff called residents by their first names and the residents called staff by their first names. And further more we allowed to chat to the elderly residents, where I was told the amazing stories about their lives.
What I liked about this fictional story is how inside Sandwick Nursing home is the fact that everything is so different to a real nursing home. All the staff have to strictly call the residents by their surname only and all the residents have to call staff by their surname. It’s rather odd but all the staff referred to each member of the staff by their surname too, that doesn’t sound a friendly place.
The Man Who Made Them Happy is a very special book to me for my own personal reasons.
I loved reading this book even more through the sheer fact of many coincidences, my Nan’s name was Amelia so I was pleased single mum who started working in the Nursing Home was named Amelia.
As one of the residents is named Bill, that was was my late fathers name who died in hospital during lockdown, and he suffered from dementia. In remembrance to my late father, is that when my late dad was alive he use to like listening to music and one of boy bands my dad listened to was Westlife, as I now have his CD collection I decided to take a picture of this wonderful book next to my late fathers Westlife CD.
Set within The Man Who Made Them Happy is a Mrs Smythe, and that ironically was my music teacher’s name. And while one residents inside Sandwick Nursing Home talks to Henry and Amelia about his past, he revealed that he was posted to Malta during the war. This story couldn’t of got even better for me being glued to this as my partner is half Maltese, and I have been to one of my partners cousins wedding in Malta.
In the residential home I worked in we were allowed to chat to the residents. But I did feel sorry for Amelia as she is told off, by Head Nurse Sean for talking to one of the residents, informing her job is clean up after the residents and to help them with the things they can’t do.
I was horrified as by Sean’s orders no music is allowed in Sandwick which, upset the residents and the staff.
The lovely care home where I used to work the owner was extremely kind and had live bands come in and sing, to all the residents and staff, singing all the old songs that the residents knew watching their faces lit up and happily singing along, made me really happy.
With my hand on my heart I recommend reading The Man Who Made Them Happy by Jon Lawrence as this is a wonderful talented author so much so I just didn’t want the story to end. I hope you all enjoy reading this book as much I did from the first page right up to the very last word.
I would like to thank eyrie press for sending me this wonderful proof copy to read and review and for very kindly thinking of me to join in with this fabulous blog tour ❤️
ABOUT AUTHOR JON LAWRENCE
Jon Lawrence is a Welsh author, playwright and poet who now resides in Norfolk. Jon Lawrence was born in Pontypridd, Wales in 1995.To date he has written three novels, four novellas, a full length play, two children’s songbooks and a number of children’s school plays. He has also written an autobiographical travel journal about his treks through five deserts. He also teaches creative writing and music. He works with children around eastern England where he is fondly referred to as The Music Man.
To visit Jon Lawrence you can find him on