Judy Leigh has become a must-read author for me. Her books are fun, hopeful, and feature romance after the age of 50.
Molly is a widow still grieving her Richie when she is smacked in the face with her 70th–70!!!–birthday. She has her cat and a daughter up in Cumbria, but her life is just blah. Nell has just been shocked by her husband of many decades asking for a divorce to marry a younger woman who works at the village coffee shop. Off Nell flees to her sister for comfort. Molly decides what they both need is sun and a change of scenery so she finds an apartment to rent in Spain and the sisters head out to sunshine, beaches, and a new way of life for a few months.
Travel, new things to learn, Spanish to improve, new foods, and sunshine enliven the two ladies, out of their respective funks. Molly decides to make a short trip on her own to Mexico and there finds something she needed (no spoilers) in a cultural event unlike any other. When Nell joins her things get even more fun.
This book took a little longer to get into than the others I’ve read by Judy, but it was worth it. The characters of Nell and Molly were both believable. “Life is a celebration,” chef Christoph says at one point and it is very true. I liked the way Molly and Nell each faced their own new realities, and embraced having new experiences and just plain fun along the way.
I always think Judy’s books would make wonderfully fun movies–like Mama Mia in tone, but without the Abba soundtrack. They are made, too, for Julie Walters and I could see Helen Mirren as Molly–so like her character in Calendar Girls.
This story turned out to be so much fun! I highly recommend it
Note about the editor: Her editor should have caught and corrected an American saying they had spoken to their “solicitor”–a term not used in the USA. The same character also said, “shan’t” which would only be used in America a very jokey tone–probably with a bad British accent. Another American mentions “the hire car.” We call them “rental cars.” These are not a big deal, I just am always amazed at how little attention editors pay to detail anymore.
It was also humorous to hear a Texan enthuse over “Western-style” “horse riding.” Riding is generally done on “horseback” and on a Western saddle in Texas. English saddles and the English style of equitation are used for fox-hunting, dressage, show jumping, polo, and other more formal equestrian events as well as for formal riding lessons. Trail rides are usually Western in the USA–it is very difficult for a novice to do a trail ride on an English saddle. It doesn’t take away from the fun of that wonderful scene with Molly though! It will be a life-long favorite of mine from Judy’s wonderful books!