Genre: Women’s Fiction
Publication date: June 16, 2020
Publisher: Boldwood Books
The Old Girls’ Network is a breath of fresh air with its focus on seventy-somethings!
If you like warm, funny, light-hearted, yet meaningful stories about country life, full of non-malicious village gossip and a supportive community, this book is for you.
The pace of the story is leisurely– it takes its time to describe everything in detail–people, surroundings, or feelings.
As compared to the second half of the novel, not much happens in the beginning and for a long while, I was wondering what the point of the story was and where it was heading.
There are many characters who populate the village of Winsley Green, but you never get lost in the jumble of names and events. Each person’s story is skillfully and engagingly described such that it leaves a distinct impression on the reader.
I especially appreciated the light humor–it made a lot of difference to the story which has its heavy moments. The “Welly Wanging Contest” was hilarious and I enjoyed the whole episode so much! Don’t miss the 90-something arch enemies, Phyllis and Dulcie, who had a falling out in their youth. Bisto provides some laugh-out-loud moments–I cannot forget the last public “show” that he put up for Barbara’s benefit.
The core of the novel is about two sisters, Pauline and Barbara, discovering a new lease of life after crossing their seventies, aided by the appearance of the mysterious Bisto Mulligan. His exact words are, “My philosophy on life is I won’t always be here, but while I am, I intend to make the most of it.”
I didn’t think much of Bisto in the beginning, too, just like Barbara. But the way his character blossoms in each chapter made me look at him with new eyes–again, much like Barbara saw him in a new light.
I found the idea of the elderly looking forward to life with fresh eyes quite radical. No tired cynicism, no boring lectures, no wise preaching. I’m yet to meet someone like the people at Winsley Green in real life!
The book left me with such a good feeling in my heart and a smile on my lips. I’d recommend it for people who want a leisurely escape into a charming world populated by an eclectic mix of villagers.
Thank you to the author and Rachel for my copy of the book!
Is it ever too late to change…
After a health scare, 77 year-old spinster Barbara goes to convalesce in the sleepy Somerset village of Winsleigh Green with her sister Pauline, who is now a widow. The sisters are like chalk and cheese – Barbara, outspoken and aloof and Pauline, good natured and homely – so it’s not long before the tension starts to rise.
But when Pauline accidentally knocks down a vagrant who goes by the name of Bisto Mulligan, the ladies find themselves with another houseguest. As he recovers, it becomes apparent that Bisto is not who he first seemed, and as the sisters get to know the kind and courageous man he really is, it’s clear Bisto has the potential to change both of their lives.
As the spring turns to summer, and Winsleigh Green comes to life, can the three friends make the changes they need to, to embrace fresh starts, new loves, new lives and new horizons. Or do old habits die too hard?
Funny, joyful and with a spring in its step that reminds you to live every day like it’s your last. Judy Leigh has once again written the perfect feel-good novel for all fans of Dawn French, Dee MacDonald and Cathy Hopkins.
About Judy Leigh
Judy Leigh is the bestselling author of Five French Hens, A Grand Old Time and The Age of Misadventure and the doyenne of the ‘it’s never too late’ genre of women’s fiction. She has lived all over the UK from Liverpool to Cornwall, but currently resides in Somerset.
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