The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 24 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

The story is based around characters in a retirement village in Australia. The main characters are all different but together their personalities are the crux of the book.
I loved the lifetime bond between Angie and Peggy; how they helped each other in different ways.
The descriptions of their family and friends beliefs about old age were very realistic.
This book definitely has a fun filled factor.
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Being a member of the sandwich generation (responsible both for bringing up your own children and caring for your ageing parents) I fully appreciate what this book has to offer. An engaging read, heartwarming really, about the high and low points of what it is to grow old. There will be laughter, there will be tears but most of all it highlights what it’s like to be facing the twilight years of one’s life.

Follow along with Peggy and her fellow residents of the Jacaranda Retirement Village as they face the growing hurdles of what it is to age. At times humorous, at times incredibly sad, I feel that this book really does shone the spotlight on both aspects of this life stage. How do we treat our elderly, what is like to be facing a loss of independence, a lost partner or loved one - how do you move on from that? Peggy (the main lead) goes through all this and more and with the help of her lifelong friend Angie, learns to see life through a different - ‘a pensioner camouflaged in fifty shades of beige’ - lens! 

The standout aspects of this book is firstly the humour. Peggy’s thoughts, musings and observations are very funny. Whether you know someone, or even have experienced some similar situations, it will ring true for many of us. For the female readers, no matter what age, we all have had to deal with mood swings, memory loss and body image shame. 

The second aspect I wish to draw attention to, is the underlying theme of loss and sadness - loss of youth, loss of independence, loss of a loved one. This book may make you giggle, but at this stage of life, it goes hand in hand with many a sad truth. Whether it be physical (knee replacements or the consequences of having a fall), social (loss of a friend) or emotional  (loss of your own cognitive skills) - it’s just so challenging to face and confront this onslaught of change. 

Finally there are the many pertinent themes that run throughout - lessons to be learnt at any stage of life. Everything from taking charge of your own life, learning how precious time is, being thankful and best of all, it’s never too late to make changes. Peggy learns to embrace these changes, thanks to Angie’s encouragement, and surprises herself with new and fun discoveries. 

This book has a little something for everyone - best of all is perhaps its honesty - laugh or cry (or do both) but embrace life and cherish each and every day.
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This is an easy, lighthearted read. I loved the various characters and had great fun reading it. The humour was just right.
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Thoroughly enjoyed this book. Was lovely to read about life after being widowed, kids grown up, and discovering old friends. Tugged at the heart strings a few times!
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Thanks to netgalley for an early copy for an honest review 
A really laugh out loud book loved the retirement  home and how they lived can highly recommend  this 5 star book
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I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book from start to finish! Peggy is almost 80 years old and living a beige, boring life at Jacaranda.  She reconnects with a friend from 50 years ago, when the very vivacious Angie Valentine moves into the same retirement village, and encourages Peggy to live what's left of her life to the full. 

The book is full of laughs, tears and the realisation that we all make choices that shape our lives, but it's never too late to change.

A real feel-good book!
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Seventy-nine year old Peggy lives in a retirement village and has done so for a couple of years but it is not until an old friend comes to live there, that she is shaken out of her comfort zone and makes a close circle of friends from among some of the other residents. This book had some amusing malapropisms (“blue teeth”, “Luke Spywater“ and “Pirates of the Crimean” to name a few) plus some country specific words that didn’t mean anything to me. Overall it was a pleasant, if undemanding read that could be picked up and put down without losing the thread of the story.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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A fun easy book to read, sure people will see themselves in some of the characters. Poor Peggy, apprehensive after meeting up with Angie again in the retirement village. Giggled in places, reminded me lots of my late fathers retirement flats
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Warmly funny, honest and touching story of a bunch of pensioners who have most definitely NOT given up on living.

In the genre of retirement fiction (Hundred Year Old Man, Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen), there's a lovely connection - giving the reader the chance to see older people as no different to someone younger. They have crushes, they enjoy jokes, they have insecurities, skills, loves, worries...  

Peggy Smart is fast approaching her 80s. With a long-standing bladder issue, she's a widow with an aged dog and an apartment in a retirement village where she has a crush on the rather delectable Brian. Getting on with things, "she pictured her overdue library book, and the wet clothes still sitting in the washing machine. No she wasn't ready to go yet." Life is quiet, safe.

Her insecurities making her delay approaching Brian, she is horrified to bump into Angie Valentine while on yet another doctor's visit - a woman who was her best friend decades ago, glamorous, well-travelled, who lived a life Peggy only dreamed of. 

Now they are both residents in Jacaranda Retirement Village... and Angie seems to be on a mission to pull Peggy up by her socks and breathe new life into her. Will Peggy succumb? Or stick with her staid, calm life of beige and baking?

I soon settled in with Peggy. She's such a personable, unintentionally hilarious creation, trying to keep in touch with a modern world of "Luke Spywater", "blue teeth"  and "sociable media" (and her own of the "mental-pause", "plumbago" and "high cholester-oil". Her life is so different from my own, separated by more than four decades and yet I strongly identified with her. 

Feeling uncomfortable in her own skin, feeling flustered and gauche in front of a dishy crush, these are not age-related experiences. She's also quietly feisty around her controlling family, terrified of mental incapacity and decline, and desperate to keep in touch with her young grandchildren. She's an Everywoman.

This is a story with tears and laughter in equal measure, with a change of heart over many characters as the story moves forward. Angie, Brian, Peggy, their friends, all have stories to tell, and I loved how the retirement village gives them a community but lets us see their lives as individuals. 

There are surprises along the way and more than one character you'll fall in love with. Peggy's whole life comes under scrutiny, her marriage (with more than one moment of 'lump in throat') and youth, friendship with Angie, and the subject of ageing is dealt with under the surface throughout the story, it doesn't need its own chapter...

We are all going to be Peggy, or Angie, or Brian one day. To meditate on what we might expect can only allow us to sympathise with those only ahead of us by a few years. This is a wonderful story, with a memorable cast. There are some wonderful actors of the right age out there destined to be cast in a film version of this someday soon, I hope.

With thanks to Netgalley for the advance reading copy.
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A lovely heartwarming, amusing tale of growing old 'disgracefully'. Peggy is a 79yr old widow living a rather dull life at the Jacaranda Retirement Village.Peggy's  biggest excitement was the Jacaranda committee meetings,  where she got her regular fix of the rather dashing Brian. However out the blue a new resident arrives, Peggy's oldest friend whom she hasn't seen for over 50yrs, Angie. Suddenly Peggy has a new lease on life, gone are all the beige clothing, the hairstyle that had changed since the 70's. With Angie's verve for life Peggy now has a new capsule wardrobe of clothes, a Helen Mirrenesque hair style and most importantly the new ability to speak up for herself.
I cannot recommend this book more. This novel lead me through a roller coaster of emotions. I laughed at and with the all the wonderful characters. I got angry for Peggy when she was overwhelmed by narrow minded children and I was cross with Angie when she was just too much for Peggy to handle. However as I reached the end of the book I was totally enthralled and I hope Joanna Neil will let us meet some more of the residents of the Jacaranda Retirement Village, very soon.
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I loved this book from the first page onwards.  It is funny, moving, thought provoking,  and has solid, believeable characters.  All of this is hung on a decent plot.  It has shown me how I want to behave when I'm in my eighties!
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I really enjoyed this book and would love to read more of the adventures of the residents at Jacaranda.  As I get a bit older, I find I love to read stories of more mature characters bucking the norms expected of the "elderly". I certainly hope to have plenty of fun in my retirement.  Loved Peggy and was really rooting for her to triumph over her interfering family, enemies within the village and the Basil haters!!
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The life of 79 year old Peggy Smart is as beige as the decor in her retirement village. Her week revolves around aqua aerobics and appointments with her doctor. The highlight of Peggy's day is watching her neighbour Brian, head out for his morning swim.

Peggy smart is still grieving after the loss of her husband, Ted. Having incontinnance problems and her kids think she is showing signs of dementia, they worry that she can't cope on her own. Peggy feels that life has passed her by but then Angie, an old friend, comes back into Peggy's life. Angie takes Peggy under her wing. They buy new clothes, Peggy get a new hairstyle and together they feel twenty years younger. 

What a fun read this is. Some of Peggy's observations on life will ring true with a lot of readers. Dealing with getting older, mood changes, memory loss and behaviour problems are a few things that come along with old age. I loved all the characters in this book. A book that will make you laugh out loud and also cry. A well written and poignant story. I do recommend this heartwarming read.

I would like to thank NetGalley, Hodder & Stoughton and the author Joanna Nell for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a gentle story, tackling big issues such as love and loss, ageing, illness and care homes as well as small but important things . It is often funny in a bitter sweet way. Anyone moving towards old age will identify with the heroine's concerns, showing her arms, what to wear!
The main character moves from being afraid of most things and worrying about tackling her family and their opinions to being an organiser and much braver. Unlikely perhaps but also suggesting hope for later life.
An enjoyable read which I recommend.
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Peggy Smart is a 79 year-old widow. She wears neutral colours. She attends committee meetings. She is a great baker. Until her glamorous old friend arrives in Jacaranda Retirement Village and her life is turned completely upside down.

What makes this book an absolute delight is Peggy. She is hilarious and one of the most likeable characters you will ever come across. Her friends at the retirement village are also quite charming and entertaining. Although there are all the usual characters you would expect in this setting, the characters are not tired or boring - they are animated and an absolute joy to read about.

There isn't much I can say about this book. It's just pure enjoyment and so easy to read. It's lighthearted reading at its finest. I didn't want it to end. I would recommend this book to anyone who has a sense of humour and a bit of heart. I give it top marks because I can't think of anything I didn't like about it.
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I was given a copy of the book by Netgalley for review purposes and I consider myself REALLY fortunate! This book is an absolute delight with really well drawn characters, some more sympathetic than others. I laughed a lot but also felt sad at times as the story, true to life, follows the lows as well as the highs of the characters. I literally couldn't put the book down and highly recommend it particularly if you enjoyed Major Pettigrew's Last Stand. This is a real gem of a book.
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The author begins this book with a quote from the Dylan Thomas poem "do not go gently into the night, rage , rage against the dying of the light".

Peggy a widow has moved into a retirement village and has settled into a life of wearing beige and attending committee meetings and aqua aerobics and sharing a bungalow with her equally elderly dog basil. However shortly before her eightieth birthday her life is turned upside down by the arrival of her old school friend Angie who has very different ideas of how to face old age.

I found it a very life affirming book that tackles the problems of ageing gracefully or disgracefully without resorting to stereotypes. I found the characters leapt off the page and by the end I wanted to move to Australia and settle in to Jacarandra retirement village. I would thoroughly recommend it to any other older reader.
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I was intrigued by the synopsis of this book; it sounded different and an entertaining read. It was certainly well written and had a unique storyline and did have me chuckling at the beginning.

The characters are well rounded and very believable, having met some very similar ones at my Mother's retirement home. Peggy is the loveable, slightly dippy lady fast approaching her eightieth year. She is "beige" and the archetypal widow, feeling life has past her by and worried about her memory. Angie is her old friend whom she is reunited with; she is full of life, trendy and thoroughly enjoying life. Throw in Brian, the love interest, a host of gossipy old ladies and two worried and slightly overbearing children and the stage is set for this tale.

Personally, I felt although it started really well it came of the rails a bit. The humour of the first quarter of the story vanished and the story then felt a bit flat. It was fairly obvious where it was going and I have to confess I wasn't disappointed when it ended. However, saying that, if you are looking for a pleasant read with some good characters then you may very well enjoy this one.
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What a delightful read! Peggy is a 79 year old widower, living in a retirement village and the story follows her swooning over another resident, meeting an old friend from 50 years ago and reminiscing about her life.
It's a lighthearted story, but, with a heart and it made me laugh out loud and shed a tear.

Peggy's observations on life and her situation will, I'm sure, ring many bells. They did with me and I'm a good few years younger than Peggy! Many of the observations are that of a female getting older and dealing with changes in mood, behaviour, memory and body and so will appeal to any age.
It's such a lovely book and I loved Peggy and the other characters and their adventures. It's filled with hope and love and would make a great gift for a female friend for Christmas and I recommend.

Many thanks to NetGalley, the author and publishers for my preview copy in exchange for this honest review.
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Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher.  I have been wanting to read this book for a while and I was delighted to receive a copy.  This story was full of warmth, humour and the advantages of getting older!!!!!!!!!!!!
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