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“Meet Me at the Museum” is an intriguing first novel by English author Anne Youngson, a 71-year-old grandmother, about two very different middle-age people separated by hundreds of miles and totally different lives who some how manage to connect.
In the background of the story is the poignant photo of the mummified remains of the “Tollund Man,” who was hung and buried in a peat bog in Denmark around the 4th century B.C.
His well-preserved body and facial expression prompts Tina Hopgood, a housewife on an isolated farm in England, to write to the professor who discovered the remains in 1950. She does not really expect a reply since the professor is probably dead. But another professor, Anders Larsen in Denmark, is so moved by her letter that he responds.
They have led totally different lives but they both feel isolated and alone. Tina is very busy on the farm with her husband, children and grandchildren, but it was never the life she imagined when she was a young girl.
She became pregnant, and, in those days, there was no option really other than to get married. She likes her husband well enough but mostly she looks at her life as a hard job, keeping the farm running.
Professor Larsen has just lost his wife, whom he loved dearly, but her emotional problems had kept him from spending as much of his time as he would have liked with his children.
Their correspondence will perhaps prompt readers to think about the choices they may have made in their own lives.
As one of the characters writes, “We have both arrived at the same point in our lives. More behind us than ahead of us. Paths chosen that define us. Enough time left to change.”