The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 24 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

Heartwarming and hilarious book about family, friendship and love. It will renew your faith in getting old and remove some of the dread.
Was this review helpful?
Oh how I enjoyed this book. Human frailties in all their disguises. Written with warmth and gentle humour, the story is set in a retirement village for the elderly (not that the residents would consider themselves to be elderly).
Peggy Smart is one of the chief characters and is a delight, with her Malapropisms and her slight memory problems, not to mention falling in love at a distance with Brian.
Surprised to see Angie, an old friend from many years ago, Peggy reverts to her old teenage worries, feeling she is not as good/clever/bright enough. But Angie takes her in hand, rejigs her wardrobe and her hair, and Peggy begins to see what she can be if she allows herself. She had missed this deeper contact with a real friend, and she and Angie take over the story, doing wicked things together and leaving us laughing uncontrollably.
Lovely descriptive phrases...'a cavalcade of walking frames', 'the internet dating thing for the groceries', the 'mentalpause'. 
Relationships between families are explored, gently, but showing the concerns that older people have about loss of independence. Peggy's friendship with Angie covers so many years and somehow transcends things that have happened in the past, only now revealed. Forgiveness and closeness are there.
Thank you so much NetGalley for a chance to review  this lovely book.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this book. It made me both laugh and cry. As someone that had elder relatives in various properties, and with various ailments, I identified with so many of the characters in the book.  Everyone should read this book, no matter their age, as is gives a great insight into an aging population. I have friends that will definitely be told to read this book.
Was this review helpful?
Due to the title, I began this book thinking it was going to be set in South America, one of the native regions for the plant. As I began to read and references were made to Woolworths - I thought it was in the UK. Not until I was a good way through did it become apparent that it was in fact set in Australia! I now know that Coles is a famous Australian department store - but I thought it was a made up name for the book!

Anyway, it just goes to show the similarities between the UK and life down under in retirement villages and peoples perceptions - I did think they were brave going to the seaside lol! It also turns out that the author is a GP who grew up in the UK and now lives in Australia. This probably accounts for the sympathetic Dr who takes over at the retirement village and finally Peggy can reveal her hidden secret.

This was such a gentle, funny book and I couldn't wait to get back to it each time to read some more. Peggy has a great turn of phrase and her internal dialogue had be chuckling along. Peggy is maybe getting a little confused in her later years but only as much as could be expected. However, her children have other ideas and she dreads the day when they take her for the "car ride" from which she never returns to her little unit. Peggy has after all seen it happen all too many times before to other residents. 

The rivalry between everyone (well the ladies) at the Retirement village for the eligible men was very entertaining. With a "will they won't they" theme running through the book, as Peggy wonders if it's all worth it anymore at her age. Then there is Angie Valentine the glamorous old school friend, Peggy finds she has moved into the village after not seeing her for many years. Is she a new rival?

There is some back story throughout to times when Peggy and Angie were school girls and then at their first job working together. Peggy always thought she was the underdog in their friendship - will that be still true all these years later, especially when Angie decides to take her in hand and give her a makeover.

A delightful read, I loved every second of it. I'm giving the book 5 out of 5 stars
Was this review helpful?
Peggy Smart is a 79 year old lady that lives at the Jacaranda Retirement Village.  She goes through each day reliving the words from her mother telling her how abnormal she is and no good at anything.  She feels every year of her age and thinks her family are trying to ship her out to a nursing home.  Peggy has feelings for Brian Cornell - the eligible widower of the village but feeling inadequate she hides her feelings for fear of being rejected. Then a new resident arrives and Peggy's life is instantly transformed as she recognises Angie Valentine - her oldest and best friend from her younger years.  Angie hasn't changed one bit - still the outgoing, flirtatious beauty and that instantly attracts the eye of the men around her.  Angie takes Peggy on a whirlwind makeover and she quickly learns that she is still capable of making her own decisions and needs to stand her ground where her family are concerned.   But Angie is hiding a secret and is determined to confess before time runs out.  Life at the Jacaranda Retirement Village becomes much more entertaining.

This is a lovely story of how people perceptions change as the years roll by and if you have the courage to make changes no matter your age then you can start to feel younger, more alive and maybe even find a new love and happiness.

A great book
Was this review helpful?
This was such a charming book with fabulous characters you instantly relate to. While it might not be one of the many psychological thrillers constantly popping up these days, it still draws you in and you can't stop reading it, With each chapter you are eager to find out what happens next. Peggy is an ingenious woman quite different to her old school friend, Angie who reminded me a bit of a similar character in Mamma Mia. I highly recommend this book, it is a breath of fresh air and a million miles from all the gory police dramas that abound on the shelves
Was this review helpful?
A wonderful book with stand out characters and in particular Peggie Smart. She is funny, brave and so lovely. This is a well written book which touched my heart, as she found her feet despite her loving family trying to over protect her. I will remember her character, so well written, for a long time. A truly good read.
Was this review helpful?
What a lovely book; having finished it, the characters are still alive in my head!   I am a little bit in love with the Dr, how lovely to have such an understanding Dr in your twilight years.  The memories and characters are so well written and make an endearing, feel good, read.  Love that the two friends know they have more time for adventures and goodbyes.  Perfect ending.
Was this review helpful?
This was a delightful book - gently amusing in places, but also thought provoking. For anyone with elderly parents, it will ring true (and make slightly uncomfortable reading at times). Using Peggy as the narrator brought the thoughts of the older woman to the fore - her frustration that her children assumed she was only fit for a care home and her desire for the rather staid accountant next door. The encounter with her childhood friend, which she at first assumes is a chance meeting, leads to her realising that life need not end at 80 and she should enjoy herself while she still can. 
Not a literary classic, but thought provoking and fun to read.
Was this review helpful?
Meet Peggy, she and her dog Basil live in a retirement village in Australia. Peggy loves to cook/bake and has a secret crush on her next-door neighbour Brian. But Peggy lives a rather boring life going from GP appointments to committee meetings and her weekly aqua aerobics lesson with the other ladies from the village. It isn’t until Angie, her best friend from the past, moves into the village as well and shakes things up.

I loved reading this, the characters were well written, and it definitely had some laugh-out-loud moments.  A heartwarming and funny story about friendship and growing old with dignity! LOVE the ladies of Jacaranda Village!!
Was this review helpful?
Firstly thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

I really enjoyed this story. Heart warming, funny and sad all rolled into one lovely story. 
Peggy Smart is a fab character who has suddenly found some get up and go at the age of 79. She mixes her metaphors and forgets her phone pin code but she finds a new lease of life when she bumps into an old friend at her retirement village then makes a whole lot more friends. 
This had me smiling and giggling on the train.
I would recommend a read if you like strong characters, humour and tales of friendship.
Was this review helpful?
I think secretly we all want to grow old disgracefully - I certainly do.

So do a number of the residents of the Jacaranda Retirement Village.

Meet Peggy, widowed with just her dog Basil for company. Her children David and Jenny have other ideas about where Peggy should be living and are ready to pounce as the slightest indication of dementia or even a fall.

But Peggy is just simply existing in her beige apartment, with her beige clothes, living rather a beige life. her excitement for the week is either a visit to the doctor or seeing fellow resident Brian head off swimming.

That is until Angie a childhood friend turns up at the village and starts to shake things up not just for Peggy but for the stalwarts on committees and the like.

Angie takes Peggy under her wing, when she has that ultimate fall and gets some colour back into Peggy's life with her clothes as well as her hobbies. Peggy does things she has never done before and embraces it all with aplomb and with much shock to her family.

But Angie is hiding some secrets and it doesn't take long for the roles to be reversed and Peggy suddenly sees life in a different way.

This is a gentle book, that meanders along doctors appointments, committee meetings, aqua aerobics, almost the mundane aspects of perhaps what some people thinks of as retirement. It is all told humour and some stark reality about life with certain medical conditions and the process of ageing.

It is all about life being lived whatever your age and limitations - basically the author is telling us there is nothing to stop you other than death!

A skilful debut novel which draws on the author's experiences clearly as a GP - (I only discovered this after I had read the book) and interestingly her setting, Australia was not so obvious to me despite perhaps the language clues and it too me until two-thirds of the way through the book to realise where it was set. (Again, the author UK born has moved to Australia). What it did show me that no matter where you are in the world, there is an expectation of how our aging population are being treated.

Interesting to see what comes next from this author.
Was this review helpful?
I loved this light hearted tale.  The Characters are really believable.  Just how you would imagine them to be living in a community such as this.  It is a storey of learning, loving, forgiveness and teaches that we are never to old to learn, life is to short, have fun and no regrets.
Was this review helpful?
I had high hopes for this book after the first couple of chapters. Unfortunately I started to drift and skip sections once I was a third of the way through and didn't end up finishing. Too slow and I'm not really clear on what plans the author had for Peggy, who should have been a really strong, no nonsense character. A shame
Was this review helpful?
I loved this book, four stars for these fun old ladies embracing life! The interactions were witty, but the story was a warm one!

'Darling, haven't you heard of audiobooks? I play them in my car.'
Peggy recalled David saying he did something similar in his new BMW. The car was cleverer than she was. Apparently it even had blue teeth.'
Was this review helpful?
A lovely gentle and funny story about growing old with dignity, if not gracefully! Entertaining and heartfelt, the characters were a pleasure to spend time with
Was this review helpful?
Few can write compassionately, with a clear-eyed sympathy and wry, gentle humour of the hard living out of our declining years, where capacity can shred all dignity and self-possession. But this author can. She excels at it, in fact.

I absolutely loved this book for the wonderful characterisation, the warmth and humanity it exudes and the perceptive way it gets under the skin of what it means to be elderly (in other people's eyes) while feeling just as youthful as ever on the inside. 

Peggy, our main protagonist, is approaching her 80th birthday. Although she lives independently in sheltered housing, she is battling fears of encroaching senility and increasing debility, mixed with concern about her family's ideas about putting her in a home.

When Angie, an old friend from the past, unexpectedly appears as a new resident, Peggy is forced to rethink her life and is jolted into uncharacteristic behaviour. She begins to see that change isn't always dreadful and can be quite welcome. Her heart is also captivated by Brian, a fellow resident she is rather smitten with. He presents her with fresh challenges and opportunities to embrace.

The action unfolds at a leisurely pace, with plenty of laugh out loud moments along the way. It's refreshing to see the elderly acting, and thinking, in a far less constrained manner than their younger family members and those overseeing their care. And the ending is suitably touching and fulfilling as well. A thoroughly enjoyable read. I highly recommend it.
Was this review helpful?
Wonderful. You are never too old to have fun. Very funny and, in places,  very sad , . An unusual setting, and the author describes wonderfully the residents revolt against the stigma of old age.
Was this review helpful?
I really quite enjoyed this book about a group of people living in a retirement village. Some laughout loud moments and generally a good old heartwarming read.
Was this review helpful?
Absolutely superb! This has to be one of my favourite reads this year. The characters are so real they just jump out of the page at you and so many laugh out loud moments I had to explain myself to my husband on several occasions! Both feel good and poignant at the same time. Sure to be a huge success when it hits the bookshelves.
Was this review helpful?