Next time you’re feeling a little bit down in the dumps, don’t go to the doctor or reach for a happy pill, read this book. It’s a tonic, it’s feel-good, it’s fun. I guarantee it will lift your spirits and that you will ‘click’ the last page and say, “Oh, how I enjoyed that!”
The story centres around Amanda Wilson, who is in her fifties and has a newly retired husband. Husband Phil hasn’t quite encompassed the wonders of retirement too enthusiastically, and with an adult son who hasn’t grasped the concept of ‘leaving home’, Amanda decides that if the young and carefree can take a ‘gap year’ before they embark on a life of mortgages, marriage and commitment, then why can’t the wrinklies, after they’ve been there and done that. She persuades grumpy Phil to take off in their trusty old camper van and explore the delights of France and its wine and hopefully other parts of Europe. However, the trusty old camper van, Bertie, decides that France might be just the spot for a little of its own R&R, and Amanda and Phil find themselves with an enforced extended stay in the French countryside, when Bertie breaks down. Amanda adapts to her extended sojourn with relish, enjoying the wine, some exercise, and meeting new friends.
Amanda shares her experiences – and her life as a fifty-something-year-old - in an amusing blog for ladies ‘d’un certain âge’, which has some faithful, regular, and amusing followers. At the same time, an ex-lover, her new chic French best friend, Bibi, and Amanda’s wild and wacky mother contribute colour (and sometimes worry!) to her planned year of exciting travel.
The story is a plait, neatly interlaced and expertly finished off without a hair out of place! Carol is a wonderful writer – she throws humour, intelligence, poignancy, thoughtfulness, and entertainment into a pot and the result is an original, funny, witty, and refreshing novel. Job well done, Carol. Can’t wait for more.