Book Review for “The Golden Girls’ Getaway” by Judy Leigh.
Summary: “It has been a long and lonely year for neighbours Vivienne, Mary and Gwen. All ladies of a ‘certain age’, their lockdown experience has left them feeling isolated and alone. They are in desperate need of a change. Things start to look up however, when Gwen comes up with a plan to get them out of London by borrowing a motor home. In no time at all the ladies are on the road – away from the city, away from their own four walls, and away from their worries. The British countryside has never looked more beautiful. As they travel from Stonehenge to Dartmoor, from the Devon and Cornish coasts to the Yorkshire moors, gradually the years fall back, and the three friends start to imagine new futures with no limitations. And as their journey continues and their friendships deepen, and while the seaside views turn into glorious mountains and moors, Mary, Vivienne and Gwen learn to smile again, to laugh again, and maybe even to love again. Now they can believe that the best is still to come.”
Age: Adult; Genres: Literary, Women, Fiction; Settings: Contemporary, England – London, Wales (and other points north-west); Other Categories: Novel, Coming of Age, Comedy, Humor, Road Trip.
Okay, so… I did NOT see this one coming. See, recently I realized that I’ve been reading a whole lot of historical fiction, and most of it is pretty heavy going. Not that I mind that at all, but you know, sometimes you need a break; sometimes you need something lighter. So, although I usually avoid books with comic book drawings on the covers, the blurb for this sounded very much to my liking. What I read was that this novel is about a bunch of single, older women (even older than me – I’m 64) who decide to go on a road trip to get away from the lockdown from the pandemic. I’ve been dreaming of just such a getaway myself, so I was thrilled when I received approval for the ARC of this book. (I think changing my profile to hint at my slightly advanced age in may have been a factor in that approval.)
So, when you read a book that you know is going to be a bit of fluff, you probably have slightly less expectations than you would with a more serious novel. However, there are some things that you might think are essential to any book. For example, an appealing writing style, sympathetic characters, a solid plot, and a level of accuracy regarding checkable facts. Yes, regarding that last one, even a contemporary fiction novel needs to be well researched. Now, sometimes authors take poetic license, which is acceptable, especially in less serious novels. Obviously, it is easy to get away with those little blips if the readers are less knowledgeable about the subject matter. However, I’m afraid that Leigh got one reader here who knows more about opera and operatic singers than the average person, and so… oopsie! I caught a couple of mistakes about Gwen and her signing here. Thankfully, these errors aren’t earth-shattering so I won’t detail them for you, but they did make for a niggle with this reviewer.
I should also say that one of the reasons I often shy away from these types of books is because, as a matter of course, they tend to tie things up a touch too neatly for my taste. That said, when the fiction is humorous, like this one, that’s less of a problem for me. In this book, Leigh did make some choices with this story that felt a touch too convenient for me. Again, that’s not the worst thing in a book, but it did have me shaking my head a couple of times. Luckily, Leigh did let us feel that the lives of these three would carry on after the last page, and we only witnessed the start of their new journeys. In addition, this road-trip novel is also a type of coming-of-age one, where these three women start off in one place, and by the end of the book, they’ve grown in one way or another.
As you can probably tell, I felt a very good level of enjoyment while reading this book, even if there were some niggles there and there, it made me smile, and even got a chuckle once or twice. In fact, this looked like it was going to be a solid 3/5-star book for me (yes, I think 3/5 is a good rating – above average), and then… Leigh made me cry! That’s what I didn’t see coming! Well, as I’ve said, any book that can make me cry automatically gets a higher rating from me. That’s why I think that I can solidly recommend this novel – especially to women of a certain age, but also to people who know women like us – and I say it deserves a really nice four out of five stars!
Boldwood Books released “The Golden Girls’ Getaway” by Judy Leigh on December 7, 2021. This book is/will be available (via the following affiliate links) from Amazon, The Book Depository UK and The Book Depository US (free worldwide delivery), Foyles, Waterstones, WHSmith, Wordery UK and Wordery US, Walmart (Kobo) US (eBooks and audiobooks), the website eBooks.com, Booksamillion.com, iTunes (iBooks and audiobooks), new or used from Alibris, used from Better World Books (promoting libraries and world literary), as well as from as well as from Bookshop.org and UK.Bookshop (to support independent bookshops, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic) or an IndieBound store near you. I would like to thank the publishers for sending me an ARC of this novel via NetGalley.
This novel qualifies for the following reading challenges: New Release Challenge (#49).