Today i’m passing over to Mandie who has a review of The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village by Joanna Nell. Thanks to publisher Hodder & Stoughton who provided a copy of the book for review. Here is what it’s all about:
About the Book
It’s never too late to grow old disgracefully…
The life of 79-year-old pensioner Peggy Smart is as beige as the décor in her retirement village. Her week revolves around aqua aerobics and appointments with her doctor. The highlight of Peggy’s day is watching her neighbour Brian head out for his morning swim.
Peggy dreams of inviting the handsome widower – treasurer of the Residents’ Committee and one of the few eligible men in the village – to an intimate dinner. But why would an educated man like Brian, a chartered accountant no less, look twice at Peggy? As a woman of a certain age, she fears she has become invisible, even to men in their eighties.
But a chance encounter with an old school friend she hasn’t seen in five decades – the glamorous fashionista Angie Valentine – sets Peggy on an unexpected journey of self-discovery.
Can she channel her ‘inner Helen Mirren’ and find love and friendship in her twilight years?
When looking for a book that was totally different from the ones I had been reading lately The Single Ladies of the Jacaranda Retirement Village seemed like the perfect choice and I wasn’t wrong. What can I say about this book other than reading about people in the later stages of life shouldn’t be funny but Single Ladies had me chuckling repeatedly as I devoured it over 2 days. That being said it wasn’t all hilarity as there were some touching moments as the residents of the retirement village came to terms with their various ailments and limitations.
In the book we get to meet Peggy who lives in the retirement village with her dog. She has been at a loss what to do since the death of her husband Ted and is worried that her children will see as her incapable of looking after herself and try to take control. When a blast from her past in the form of old friend Angie moves in things start to liven up for her. Peggy is forced to deal with the things that broke their friendship up in the first place but at the same time realise that maybe life is still worth putting the effort in after all…. And that includes getting closer to Brian, another resident in the retirement village. Her lack of confidence regarding a possible new romance is quite endearing and shows that no matter what age you are, starting new relationships can be quite daunting.
As they challenge the way things are done in the village from the fundraising to the policy of pets roping more of the residents in along the way you can’t help but get drawn in. The attempt to buy a karaoke machine was hilarious. Some of Peggy’s confusion regarding terminology and technology really brought a smile to my face as they are the sort of thing my mother in law would say. Her struggles with her children as she fights their well-intentioned interference in her life are quite touching. Although the story is told from Peggy’s perspective I never got the feeling that it was a one sided story as the book is filled with characters you can’t help but like and to be honest I am hoping that I grow old disgracefully like Angie. Joanna Nell has managed to capture what growing old can be like without making it morose or belittling it, showing that moving into a retirement home does not mean that life has to end but can actually bring the fun back.
About the Author
Joanna Nell was born in the Midlands and graduated from Oxford University with a medical degree in 1991.
In 2003 she moved to Australia where she now works as a GP with a passion for women’s health and care of the elderly.
Joanna writes character-driven stories of self-discovery for women of a certain age, creating young-at-heart characters who break the rules and defy society’s expectations.
She lives on Sydney’s Northern Beaches with her husband and two children. THE SINGLE LADIES OF JACARANDA VILLAGE is her first novel.