The Golden Oldies Book Club – A review

The Golden Oldies Book Club by Judy Leigh

I loved this story of a group of older women who come together in a book club. The main character is 72 year old Jeannie who runs her family’s cider business but is beginning to feel that life has passed her by. She lives with her 95 year old mother and two teenage grandchildren. She has lived in the village of Combe Pomeroy all her life but is beginning to wonder what she has left to look forward to.

The village book club of the title is run by the librarian Ruth and I enjoyed the discussions that they had about the books such as Wuthering Heights and Tess of the D’Ubervilles. There were some very spirited exchanges between Jeannie and her friends and Mark with his very dated attitudes.

Other members of the book club are also feeling unhappy with their lives and so after discussing The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Ruth decides to organise a trip to Brittany for herself and her friends. The five women set off to Normandy where they will stay on a local cider farm. The scenes in France were my favourite parts of the book especially the scene where they go sand yachting. The trip makes each of the women really think about what they want from life.

This was a lovely story about the fact that it is never too late to follow your dreams. I loved each of the five main female characters. As we got to know them we found that each of them had their own particular demons to deal with. We saw how the friendship between the five of them deepened during their stay in France and each of them had a satisfying story arc.

Jeannie’s family is the real backdrop of the story. Her mother Violet provides a lot of the humour in the story with a constant stream of jokes and puns. I think that living with her would be more than I could cope with but the relationship between her and Jeannie was full of affection. The two grandchildren also both have important roles to play as Jeannie begins to see that her future holds more than just more of the same day to day routine.

I really loved this story. It’s refreshing to have older characters as the main protagonists but I also enjoyed the real mix of ages in this novel. I haven’t read any of Judy Leigh’s previous books but I certainly will look out for them after reading this one.

Thank you to Net Galley and Boldwood Books for my ARC.

The Golden Oldies Book Club was published on December 6th 2022


The Girl on the 88 Bus (or The Lost Ticket) – a review

I loved Freya Sampson’s debut novel last year and was excited when I was approved to read her latest book and what a gorgeous story it is. I read it in an evening and was torn between wanting to rush through it so that I could find out how it all ended and taking my time so I could enjoy all the lovely descriptive details.

Libby has been dumped by her boyfriend who also happens to be her employer. As a result, she is temporarily homeless and has to go and live with her sister and act as an unpaid nanny to her nephew. On her way there, she meets Frank who tells her the story of how he met a red haired girl 60 years ago on this very bus route and has been looking for her ever since. Libby is inspired by his story and offers to help him in his search. She is also helped by Frank’s punk rocker carer Dylan, who is not as scary as he seems despite his appearance.

This was a lovely story about how chance conversations can have a huge impact on someone’s life. The main characters are all brilliantly written and the relationships between them feel very real. I especially loved the character of Esme who has Down’s Syndrome and said exactly what she thought about things. She reminded me very much of a girl I knew who had a very similar manner and outlook.

The book has a lot of humour but that is balanced by some sadder parts especially involving Frank’s increasing dementia which is handled sensitively. I love the author’s attention to detail which makes all of her characters and the locations seem so real. I would definitely recommend this book.

Thank you to Net Galley and Bonnier Books for my ARC in exchange for my honest review.

The Girl on the 88 bus was published in the UK by Bonnier Books on June 9th. It is due to be published in the US on August 30th by Berkley under the title The Lost Ticket.

Sundays in bed with ………. An Impulse Purchase

Sundays in bed with is a meme hosted by Midnight Book Girl but I came across it recently on Jill’s Book Blog. It is simply a chance to share the book that is by your bed at the moment (or that you wish was by your bed). This week, the book is An Impulse Purchase by Veronica Henry

I’ve never read a huge amount of romance but Veronica Henry is an author who is an automatic want to read when I see a new book.

Blurb from the book:
Sometimes you have to let your heart rule your head . . .

Cherry, Maggie and Rose are mother, daughter and granddaughter, each with their own hopes, dreams and even sorrows. They have always been close, so when, in a moment of impulse, Cherry buys a gorgeous but rundown pub in the village she grew up in, it soon becomes a family affair.

All three women uproot themselves and move to Rushbrook, deep in the heart of Somerset, to take over The Swan and restore it to its former glory. Cherry is at the helm, Maggie is in charge of the kitchen, and Rose tends the picturesque garden that leads down to the river.

Before long, the locals are delighted to find the beating heart of the village is back, bringing all kinds of surprises through the door.

Could Cherry’s impulse purchase change all their lives – and bring everyone the happiness they’re searching for?

I’m enjoying this so far although the characters haven’t gripped as much as the author’s characters sometimes do. The setting is lovely and it’s a nice bit of escapism for the weekend.

What’s by your bed this weekend?

Sundays in bed with ……. Anything Could Happen

Sundays in bed with is a meme hosted by Midnight Book Girl but I came across it recently on Jill’s Book Blog. It is simply a chance to share the book that is by your bed at the moment (or that you wish was by your bed). This week, the book is Anything Could Happen by Lucy Diamond.

I love Lucy Diamond’s novels and was excited to see that she had a new book out.

Blurb from the book cover:
A chance encounter in New York City. A great love story on the cusp of beginning. And then he was gone.

For Lara and her daughter Eliza, it has always been just the two of them. But when Eliza turns eighteen and wants to connect with her father, Lara is forced to admit a secret that she has been keeping from her daughter her whole life.

Eliza needs answers – and so does Lara. Their journey to the truth will take them on a road trip across England and eventually to New York, where it all began. Dreams might have been broken and opportunities missed, but there are still surprises in store…

This is such a lovely book so far. I really like the characters of Lara and Eliza. It’s definitely bringing back memories of living with my teenage daughter and how strong minded and impulsive she could be.

My Christmas Reads Wrap-Up

I don’t usually read many Christmas books but this year, for some reason I seem to read have loads. It’s mostly down to social media and seeing books recommended on blogs or Instagram as well as the library having much more of a Festive feature than they have in previous years.

Library Christmas Book Display

I think I’ve probably read as many as I’m going to for this year so it seemed like a good time to do a mini wrap up/review post of the ones I’ve read.

Twelve Days to Save Christmas by Elizabeth Neep
This was the first Christmas book I read in 2021 during a gloriously sunny weekend way back in September. It was a Net Galley ARC but is still one of my favourite festive reads this year.

I really enjoyed it and completed it in one sitting. There are some really funny moments as well as some touching ones. One or two of the characters didn’t come across as completely real but I loved the character of Poppy and her journey through this novel. I felt that there were some real issues raised in the book about the personalities that we show to other people and how true they really are as well as it being a brilliant romantic comedy. I also loved the ending which was more hopeful than being an outright happy ending.

The Christmas Escape by Sarah Morgan
This was probably my favourite festive read this year. I loved the characters and the Lapland setting. It had just the right balance of tension between the characters to stop it being too sweet.

The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan
Another one that is definitely at the top of my list this year. This gorgeous book is set in Edinburgh and is full of lovely Christmassy feelings. It also features The Muppet Christmas Carol so you have to love it.

Christmas at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry
I love Veronica Henry and have read all of the beach hut books and this was just as good as the others. A lovely story about a woman who feels completely taken for granted by her family and escapes to the beach hut for Christmas. While she is there, she becomes involved in the lives of other people and helps them to sort out their problems. I loved all of the characters in this book and it has a lovely happy ending.

An Island Christmas/ Christmas at the Island Hotel by Jenny Colgan
These are books 3 and 4 in Jenny Colgan’s series about the fictional Scottish island of Mure. An Island Christmas was actually quite serious for a festive read and certainly has a more down beat ending than many others however I did enjoy meeting familiar characters again.
Christmas at the Island Hotel I felt was bit of a let down. There wasn’t any real tension between the characters or in the situations and it seemed to me that Jenny Colgan was tying up loose ends from the previous books.

A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan
This set in Aspen in the US and is full of champagne bubbles and sparkle. Rosie is planning to get married in four weeks time on Christmas Eve and wants her UK family to be with her. Her big sister thinks that she is rushing into things and wants to try and stop the wedding whereas her parents are hiding the fact that they have separated. And Rosie is beginning to have second thoughts.

Sarah Morgan never disappoints and this was another lovely Christmassy read with lots of snow

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A Surprise Christmas Wedding by Phillipa Ashley
One of my favourite things about so many of the Christmas books I have read this year has been the settings. This one is set in the Lake District and also includes real reindeer. It’s the story of Lottie, who is the events manager for a large estate, being asked to arrange her ex-fiance’s wedding at very short notice with all of the embarrassment that you would expect that to involve. It was an enjoyable read.

Meet me in London by Georgia Toffolo
This is my latest and probably last Christmas read. I’ve seen lots of good reviews of it but for some reason, it didn’t really live up to them for me. I’m never sure why certain books don’t appeal but I found myself skipping through this one quickly and not feeling very invested in the characters. I think it might just be down to the style of writing as I know lots of other people have really enjoyed this.

A Cornish Christmas Murder by Fiona Leitch
Not all of my festive reads have been romances, there have been a couple of murder mysteries in there too.
This one involves ex-policewoman Jodie Parker who is now a chef, catering for a children’s party in a large house on Bodmin Moor. There is a violent snow storm and she and her team are unable to leave the house. Inevitably , a murder occurs during the night.
This was a light hearted crime story with lots of comic moments as well as being a well plotted murder mystery. Definitely one to recommend for anyone who enjoys cosy crime mysteries.

The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict
This was an unusual murder mystery as it involved the characters solving lots of riddles in order to inherit the family home. Again, it involved people being trapped in the house by a bad snow storm. I thought that it was a clever idea and the house was a brilliant character in its own right. I wasn’t sure that I believed in the characters though.

So that’s my festive reading all wrapped up for 2021. Have you read any of these? What did you think? Let me know in the comments as I would love to hear from you.

Sundays in bed with …… A Wedding in December

Sundays in bed with is a meme hosted by Midnight Book Girl but I came across it recently on Jill’s Book Blog. It is simply a chance to share the book that is by your bed at the moment (or that you wish was by your bed). This week, the book on my sofa is A Wedding in December by Sarah Morgan.

In the snowy perfection of Aspen, the White family gathers for youngest daughter Rosie’s whirlwind Christmas wedding. First to arrive are the bride’s parents, Maggie and Nick. Their daughter’s marriage is a milestone they are determined to celebrate wholeheartedly, but they are hiding a huge secret of their own: they are on the brink of divorce. After living apart for the last six months, the last thing they need is to be trapped together in an irresistibly romantic winter wonderland.

Rosie’s older sister, Katie, is also dreading the wedding. Worried that impulsive, sweet-hearted Rosie is making a mistake, Katie is determined to save her sister from herself! If only the irritatingly good-looking best man, Jordan, would stop interfering with her plans…

Bride-to-be Rosie loves her fiancé but is having serious second thoughts. Except everyone has arrived—how can she tell them she’s not sure? As the big day gets closer, and emotions run even higher, this is one White family Christmas none of them will ever forget! 

I haven’t got very far with this yet and no-one has actually arrived in Aspen. The book is echoing my life a bit at the moment though. Rosie has just phoned her mum to tell her that she is getting married in the US. Maggie realises that this might mean that her daughter will not come home but will settle out there and as her marriage has also ended, she is beginning to wonder what meaning her life has. My daughter is also moving to the states shortly after Christmas and having retired, I can definitely get on board with how Maggie is feeling at the moment.

As this is by Sarah Morgan, I am fairly certain that the story will end well and am looking forward to finishing it later on today.