17 May 2019


  • this edition published by hachette Australia 2018
  • ISBN 978-0-7336-4035-3
  • 357 pages
  • source: my local library
Synopsis (publisher)

Joanna Nell's life-affirming debut is a moving, funny, heartwarming tale of love and community in the spirit of THE UNLIKELY PILGRIMAGE OF HAROLD FRY and GRACE AND FRANKIE.

The life of 79-year-old pensioner PEGGY SMART is as beige as the decor in her retirement village. Her week revolves around aqua aerobics and appointments with her doctor. Following a very minor traffic accident, things have turned frosty with her grown-up children and she is afraid they are trying to take away her independence.

The highlight of Peggy's day is watching her neighbour Brian head out for his morning swim. She 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.

My Take

Once again I have ventured outside my usual crime fiction genre.
But this came to me so highly recommended I felt I could not miss it. And it is a delightful read.

Peggy Smart has reached the age that I am approaching, and she feels a bit as if she is over the hill and that there isn't much left for her. That is until her childhood friend Angie turns up. Peggy always envied Angie. She seemed to have life on a string. Peggy though was forced into becoming a secretary and then she married early. Angie disappeared from her life, went overseas and re-appeared only occasionally. But now she lives in a unit just 3 doors away in the retirement village, and instantly she challenges Peggy to get more out of life.

I really warmed to this book and to some of Peggy's predicament. An enjoyable read.

My Rating: 4.7

About the author
Joanna Nell was born in the UK and studied medicine at Cambridge and Oxford universities. Her short fiction has won multiple awards and has been published in various journals and literary anthologies. As a GP with a passion for women's health and care of the elderly, Joanna is drawn to writing character-driven stories for women in their prime, creating young-at-heart characters who are not afraid to break the rules and defy society's expectations of ageing. Her first novel, THE SINGLE LADIES OF JACARANDA RETIREMENT VILLAGE, was a national bestseller. Joanna lives on Sydney's Northern Beaches with her husband and two teenage children

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