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