#BlogTour #BookReview The Golden Girls’ Getaway by Judy Leigh @rararesources @judyleighwriter @BoldwoodBooks

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Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for The Golden Girls’ Getaway by Judy Leigh. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour and to Boldwood Books for my review copy via NetGalley. Do check out the posts by my tour buddies for today.

The Golden Girls' GetawayAbout the Book

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.

Format: Paperback (365 pages)           Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication date: 7th December 2021 Genre: Contemporary Fiction

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Hive | Amazon UK
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My Review

After my recent diet of rather serious books, The Golden Girls’ Getaway was a welcome helping of light relief. A Devon cream tea after a bowl of beetroot soup, if you like.

All three of the characters were a delight to become acquainted with: Vivienne, the stylish former soap-actress afraid she has been consigned to thespian obscurity; Gwen, the former opera singer who now only has an audience of one – herself; and Mary, who cooks up a mean curry and has an impressive and imaginative range of swear words.  Probably my favourite of the three was Gwen. I found it touching how at the beginning of the book she thinks of herself as having lost the knack of living, spending most of her time as she does in her flat. And although all three of the ‘golden girls’ experience a transformation in their lives, I felt Gwen’s was the most deserved because of her kindly nature.

I loved the idea of the three of them sharing the motor home, sitting outside of an evening admiring the view at their overnight stop and sipping a glass of wine – although I’d not be quite so keen on the chemical toilet! I enjoyed eavesdropping on their conversations about love, life, missed opportunities and new horizons, and witnessing their reaction to the various places they visit.

There were some laugh out loud moments such as the ‘full frontal frolic’ (sorry you’ll have to read the book for more detail), an accidental lock-in, a quadbike rescue, Vivienne being recognised for a role she wouldn’t consider the height of her acting career, and Mary’s microphone testing spiel.

The Golden Girls’ Getaway is a heart-warming and entertaining way to spend a few hours. So let’s join them in their toast ‘To the three of us and the best of times to come’.

In three words: Funny, engaging, uplifting

Try something similarThree Women and a Boat by Anne Youngson

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Judy LeighAbout the Author

Judy Leigh is the bestselling author of Five French Hens, A Grand Old Time and The Age of Misadventure, and the doyenne of the ‘it’s never too late’ genre of women’s fiction. She has lived all over the UK from Liverpool to Cornwall, but currently resides in Somerset. Sign up to Judy’s newsletter here.

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Judy Leigh


#BookReview The Writer’s Cats by Muriel Barbery and Maria Guitart @BelgraviaB

The Writer's CatAbout the Book

From the best-selling author of The Elegance of the Hedgehog comes this delightful, delicate tale that pays tribute to the poetry of the everyday, to Japanese philosophy, and to the ingenuity and sardonic humor of cats.

What a mysterious, confounding thing is a writer! Yet, spend a little time with the writer’s cats and one might just understand her better.

Muriel Barbery, via her feline friends and co-conspirators, takes readers into her atelier, offering them a behind-the-scenes peek into her process and problems, joys and disappointments. The tale is told from the perspective of one of the writer’s four cats, Kirin, who, together with her cohort, may or may not be a reliable narrator. There’s Ocha, the leader of the gang, a tough guy with a soft heart; the bandy-legged and affectionate Mizu, Ocha’s sister; the phlegmatic and refined Petrus, lover of flowers; and finally, pretty Kirin, narrator of this bewitching story.

Format: Hardcover (80 pages) Publisher: Gallic Books
Publication date: 19th October 2021 Genre: Nonfiction, Humour

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Hive | Amazon UK
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My Review

What’s this, Cathy reading a book about cats (and an illustrated one at that) when she’s not even that much of a cat lover? Well, I’m so glad I did because this is a charming book by Muriel Barbery (whose book A Single Rose I read and reviewed recently) with wonderful illustrations by Maria Guitart.

I loved the clever touches such as the fact the illustrations stick predominantly to the same colour palette as Chartreux cats – grey and orange – and that the writer is seen only from the back until the very end of the book. Just as it should be, Kirin, Ocha, Mizu and Petrus would say, as after all we’re the stars of the book.

There’s lots of self-deprecating humour about the trials and tribulations of being a writer which, as her cats observe, manifests itself in three ways: restlessness, doubt and denial. I loved the way the cats discuss the writer’s latest output, assessing it for language and style as well as ‘consistency, relevance and the narrative progression of the text’. When it comes to denial – the tendency of writers to try to convince themselves that what they’ve written is good when in their heart they know it’s full of holes – the cats are only too happy to help. After all who needs an editor when you have Mizu farting noisily on the offending lines?

The Writer’s Cats is charming, funny and beautiful to look at. It would make a wonderful gift for the cat lover in your life… and at the same time contribute to the share of the royalties demanded by Muriel’s cats.

My thanks to Gallic Books for my advance review copy.

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Muriel BarberyAbout the Author

Muriel Barbery is a former lecturer in philosophy and the bestselling author of IMPAC-shortlisted The Elegance of the Hedgehog. Published in France in 2006 and in the UK in 2008, it has gone on to sell more than 10 million copies worldwide and has been described by Le Figaro as ‘the publishing phenomenon of the decade’. She has lived in Kyoto, Amsterdam and Paris, and now lives in the French countryside with her husband and four Chartreux cats.

About the Illustrator

Maria Guitart was born in Barcelona. She holds a degree in Art History from the University of Barcelona and a certificate of Higher Technical Education in illustration from the Massana School of Art and Design. Currently, she combines her job as an illustrator with work as an editor of international fiction.