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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.2 out of 5
5 Stars
63 reviews have 5 stars
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50 reviews have 4 stars
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All Book Reviews

  • Dream-like village setting

    There’s a dream-like quality to the Somerset Village of Winsleigh Green. It’s an updated dream, as though the trope of the traditional English village has been stretched to try to accommodate inclusivity, tolerance, and sex after 70. In Winsleigh Green, festivals with Morris Dancers coexist with a yoga studio where ladies of all ages ogle the handsome window cleaner. The vicar is an enthusiastic, non-judgmental young woman with wise, life-changing counsel. Alcohol flows freely, but consequences of over-imbibing are mild and quickly mitigated. Neighbors bicker but care about each other. Older women are sought-after knockouts, and people are grateful for firm, heart-felt advice. The copious gossip has a kindly tone and intent. If people are not what they seem, they are even better once you get to know them. Even the laws of nature seem to have been repealed: Sunshine makes elderly skin look great. Into this happy setting comes guarded and opinionated Barbara. She’s suffered a health scare that offends her as much as it alarms her. She leaves her home in Cambridge to try to strengthen her distant relationship with her widowed sister, Pauline, who is the embodiment of Winsleigh Green – sunny, caring, flexible, and popular. Barbara sniffs at her sister’s Buddha bedspread but envies her empathy and popularity. The plot of the book turns on how the sisters will influence each other, and how that influence will affect their next steps toward happiness. When Pauline hits an inebriated man with her car and insists on moving him into her home to recuperate, additional complications and misunderstandings ensue. I really enjoyed the village setting, the deep look at the many and varied characters, including the cats (“The Feral Peril”), and some of the gorgeous descriptions. The scene of small plane flight at sunset is particularly beautiful, delicately conveying the exhilaration of speed, color, and lift – and the meaning of the journey for the characters. I wish the author had shown more and told less. Barbara’s predicament was resonant: the wounded and awkward person who always feels she is going to say the wrong thing, so she distances herself from others. I did not need to be told repeatedly about why Barbara acted as she did. The resolution of the romantic relationships felt forced, like a rom-com. And some of the coarse scenes, apparently meant to be funny, just fall flat. Overall, though – who wouldn’t want to spend some time in Winsleigh Green, where everyone has your best interest at heart and your skin will look fantastic?

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    10 person found this review helpful

    10 people found this review helpful

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • A light-hearted, funny and often poignant read.

    I really enjoyed this book, it was a delight to read. Again, in this, the authors fourth novel, the central characters are in their twilight years and to be honest I find them the most fun to read about. They may be ageing, but they’re not done with life yet. The story is set in an English country village – Winsleigh Green during a warm, quintessentially English summer. I loved this little village, somewhere I’d definitely be happy living. Through the first half of the book Barbara does tend to be a bit of a misery. A typical spinster, she’s set in her ways, straight laced and speaks as she finds. Completely different to her sister who’s a far happier person with a sunny disposition and a desire to embrace village life and offer help to anyone who might need it. When Barbara first turns up on Pauline’s doorstep and invites herself to stay, Pauline soon starts to regret making her welcome and it’s not long before she recalls why they just don’t get along. However, she does feel sorry for her sister and lucky for Barbara, Pauline has quite a forgiving nature and is willing to bite her tongue and put up with her grumpiness. When they literally bump into a stranger in the village, Bisto Mulligan, who steps out into the road in front of Pauline’s car, Pauline decides to offer this odd but pleasant and apparent vagrant, a temporary roof over his head while he recovers. She feels it’s the least she can do after running him over. Much to the disapproval of Barbara. So the story centres around these three elderly folk and follows them through the many ups and downs of village life. Whilst you’re reading you don’t really think of them as being in their 70’s. There are lots of supporting characters within the village to complement the main protagonists. There are all the typical things that go on like the village fête, a welly throwing competition, yoga in the village hall, a sexy window cleaner, village gossip, a touch of romance here and there. It all adds up to fun and frolics in the sun. A light-hearted, uplifting and funny read but with touching moments scattered amongst the fun here and there. It’s a wonderful story to read in the garden in the sunshine, with a cool drink by your side to take you away from all the upheaval we’re experiencing at this present time.

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    8 person found this review helpful

    8 people found this review helpful

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Lively & Entertaining!

    Such fun! Just that little bit different but oh, so very entertaining! Barbara and Pauline are sisters who don't get on (I know the feeling!); but when Barbara has a bit or a turn, she announces that she is going to stay with Pauline to recover. Faced with this fait accompli, Pauline hopes that finally they can rub along together. When Pauline is inadvertently involved in an accident injuring Bisto Mulligan who, to all extents and purposes, is a bit of a vagrant she immediately takes him into her home to allow his injuries to heal - much to her sister's horror. Will these three manage to survive together peacefully? Who knew that two ladies in their seventies could be so lively and entertaining? I loved Winsleigh Green (spelled 'Winsley' in the novel); it's full of a fantastic range of characters each with their own idiosyncrasies. As with any village, there is always plenty going on; life can be very busy if you want it to be and I enjoyed all the interaction. A lighthearted story with more than a dollop of truth in the pages but also threaded through with humour. This is an easy, feel-good read - my first by this author but I'll definitely watch out for any future books. Well-written and enjoyable, I'm very happy to give this one 4*.

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    7 person found this review helpful

    7 people found this review helpful

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • A joy to read

    This is the first book I've read by this author, but it won't be the last. This book was a joy to read. I loved Barbara and her outspoken ways. It has parts that will make you laugh out loud and Barbara and Pauline are a hoot! Thank you Boldwood Books via NetGalley for the ARC copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.

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    5 person found this review helpful

    5 people found this review helpful

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Never Too Late For Growth, Change, Love

    This book has so many things going on, just like real life. Many of the characters are getting another chance at love. Most of them need some cathartic change ti open the door to love. The main characters are past their prime, but some are barely adults. The main story is based around two sisters who are in their seventies, getting to know and love each other again. It is written in such a fashion that the reader can't see where it is going until the final denouement. It is a lovely and heartwarming story. I will be looking to read more of this author's work. I received this ARC book from Net Galley and this is my honest review.

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    3 person found this review helpful

    3 people found this review helpful

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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