Today it is my great pleasure to bring you my publication day review of The Not So Perfect Plan to Save Friendship House by Lilly Bartlett. My thanks to the author for inviting me to review and providing the advance copy of the book. I’ll be sharing my thoughts just as soon as we’ve taken a look at what it’s all about.
About the Book
Meet Phoebe, who’s 28, and Laney, Dot and Maggie, who are 68, 78, and none of your business. Together they’ll prove that age doesn’t matter when it comes to friendship, belonging and an unquenchable zest for life.
A hilarious, uplifting novel about the ties of community, the strength of love and how nobody is truly ordinary.
When Framlingham’s famously all-female senior living home goes co-ed, a war between the sexes is declared.
Stuck in the middle, chef Phoebe Stockton is desperate to help her friends plot to keep the community that means so much to them. It’s become her life raft, too. She finds comfort in her beloved career that might finally make her parents proud. But Phoebe’s darling Nick is lining up on the other side of the battle, and their relationship is suffering collateral damage.
The stakes couldn’t be higher. If the home’s owner can’t improve business by moving the men in, he’ll have to evict everyone.
The women aren’t about to let that happen.
I sometimes forget how nice it is to have a little trip away from the dark world of crime. What I never forget is how much fun it is to spend that time immersed in a new book from Lilly Bartlett. If I am looking for something to bring a smile to my face, elicit a few of those often missing chuckles and generally make me feel a whole lot better, this is a brilliant place to go looking and her latest, The Not So Perfect Plan to Save Friendship House gave me all of that and a whole lot more.
In this book we meet Phoebe, a chef at a home for retired ladies, who has reached a big moment of upheaval in her life. Her mother has only recently passed away, the object of her affections is tantalisingly close by and yet the chasm between them seems impossible to get over. Used to being the family disappointment, her career never quite going as her Mother wished it to, it is only her job, her best friend June, and her unrequited love which is keeping her going. If she were to lose any of those … When the owner of the Home decides it is time to open up it’s doors to the male of species, old grudges and new jealousies surface and with over amorous Ladies on the loose, it looks like things are about to get interesting.
I love the way in which Lilly Bartlett is able to take an everyday situation and make it fun, make you absolutely certain of a smile. Not because of any over the top, slap stick comedy, but because the simplicity of the interaction, the very believable way in which it all happens, makes it so very relatable to your own life. The easy going back and forth between best friends Phoebe and June. The overly embarrassing moments when Phoebe gets a little too enthusiastic and fawning over her crush, Nick. The sure fire embarrassment and bad decision making that can only come from an ill advised drink or two …
Another big win for me in these books are the characters what she creates. Phoebe is someone that I think a lot of people could relate to, not just because of her antics, which do make me chuckle, but because of that feeling of never quite making your parents proud even though you try your best. I think we all know a pushy mom or two. But there are also things we can learn from her, one being that doing what makes you happy, finding that job you really love rather than conforming to a mould, is all that truly matters in life. She is a brilliant, larger than life character who I instantly liked and I was more than happy to go on this all too brief journey with her.
Then there are the Ladies. What a bunch. Not just best friend June, although she is a fabulous character too, but the women she shares her days with. From health obsessed Sophie whose attentions are turned when the men arrive to wonderful Laney, so accepting of her lot in life, including her dementia, that she is perhaps the happiest of them all. Then there is Dot, so vehemently against the men’s arrival, especially that of terrible Terrence, widowed husband of her best friend, so much so that you know there is a story there to be uncovered. And then there is Maggie, a woman so proud and proper that she scares the living daylights out of everyone. Well nearly everyone. And then there is Nick. Perhaps honorary Lady, certainly the token male allowed in the book club, he is kind, generous, always looking for the best in folk … no wonder Phoebe is smitten.
Full of moments of humour, there are also those perfectly placed poignant moments that we’ve come to expect too. Moment that will break your heart, quickly followed by ones which will make you melt a little. After all this is a book about a place called Friendship House. Even the best of friends fall out from time to time. But if you are looking for a quick, fun and ultimately heart warming read then pick this book up. It’s gonna make you smile.
The Not So Perfect Plan To Save Friendship House is released today and is available from the following retailers
About the Author
Lilly Bartlett’s cosy romcoms are full of laugh out loud moments, quirky characters and guaranteed happily-ever-afters.
Lilly is the pen-name of Sunday Times and USA Today best-selling author, Michele Gorman, who writes best friend-girl power chick lit under her own name.