Published By: Head of Zeus
Released On: 08/12/2022
Evelyn Pringle isn’t the sort to make rash decisions. Or any decisions, really – she’s always left that sort of thing up to her husband. But he’s been found dead, wearing his best suit, with a diamond ring in his pocket that doesn’t fit her. When Evelyn finds a letter addressed to a woman on the Isle of Wight, she decides to deliver it. By hand.
So begins a very unusual holiday, and an adventure no one could have predicted – least of all Evelyn herself. With the help of some unexpected new friends, and a little effort on her part, Evelyn discovers that it is never too late to have a second chance at life and forge friendships that are well-worth living for.
Thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for the advanced copy of this title in return for an honest review.
I would never have guessed this was a debut novel as everything feels like it’s been honed over many years. The storyline, the characters, the themes, they all seem so well accomplished.
Evelyn immediately reminded me of my dear late Nan. Not that she took up spontaneous trips to deal with her husband’s lies, but there was just something comforting and familiar about her that leapt off the page and gave me a big hug. It really gave me a chance to remember my Nan which was unexpected but lovely.
I didn’t initially connect with Cynthia or Joy. I felt Cynthia was too brash and too in-your-face, and I felt Joy was a bit of a wet weekend. However, as the story got going, they both came out of their shells and showed off their vulnerability, and by the end, I couldn’t split the trio up. Whilst all ladies of a certain age and seemingly very similar, between them, they portray a variety of complex emotions.
There’s a small, but important, supporting cast including Liam, Sarah, Carol and Alan – but as good as they are, none of them held my attention for long. For me, this was a three women powerhouse. Whilst it is set at Christmas time, there is very little actually written about the festivities, so if you’re someone who doesn’t like to read Christmas books outside of December, I think you’ll still enjoy this one at any time of the year.
I did think it was going to be a very nice, sweet story about an old lady who decides to go on holiday. But it’s more involved than that. Yes it’s a story about an old lady travelling, but there’s so many layers. There’s sadness and loss and grief, loneliness and friendship, love and hate. It’s a very clear story about what to hold on to and what to let go and what to move on from.
It’s got a very powerful undertone of loss. The loss of spouses, children, relatives, friends and strangers. But it’s not morbid or disheartening in any way. It’s because of this loss that we learn to appreciate what we have.
It didn’t end exactly how I thought it would; it went in a different direction which was still a satisfying and pleasing ending.
It’s such a gorgeous book to read, and one I possibly wouldn’t have picked to read myself, but I’m glad I got the chance. It’s very similar, in my opinion, to Josie Lloyd’s “The Cancer Ladies’ Running Club”. That’s not to say the plots are the same, but they’re both stories of womanhood and female friendship and loneliness, and how even the worst of times can bring out the best in people.
It is very sweet, but vengeful, funny and sad, entertaining and enjoyable. It proves you’re never too old to start again and go on an adventure. It’s a quick read, perfect for cold winter evenings with a mug of something hot.