The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 24 Jan 2019

Member Reviews

Such a lovely lovely, heartwarming and wonderful book. This story made me feel really happy. I fell in love with all the charming characters, and wanted to read more. 
The story follows Peggy, a 79 year young woman existing in a residential home, grieving the loss of her beloved husband and dealing with a lack of confidence, then one day an old friend walks in and together the friends embark on turning their older years into a big adventure.

This beautiful story should have way more than 5 stars, my favourite read this year.
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What a lovely, lovely book!

It took me a little while to get into the story and characters, as Peggy at first came across as so scattered and insecure that it was hard to get a ‘feel’ for her as a main character.  It wasn’t long though before her common sense and sense of humour pushed their way to the forefront and then I wholeheartedly adored her.  And Angie, and Basil, and Brian, and Jim, and Celia…!

The ‘supporting cast’ here are fabulous.  They clearly start out as caricatures via Peggy’s perceptions and prejudices but gradually all preconceived ideas about who they are and what they do slip away and genuine personalities shine through.

This encapsulates the whole theme of the book: not judging by age, or appearance, or interests, as people are complex and can surprise you.  In Peggy’s case she can even surprise herself and often does!

I found her little malapropism quirk totally endearing.  It threw me slightly at first, as I wondered if there had been an editing error, but once I cottoned on to it being the character making the mistakes, not the writer, then I thoroughly enjoyed her innocent howlers (‘orgasms on the kitchen counter’?!).

There are no huge events here, other than the slow physical deterioration of the human aging process and the effect that has on our self-image, and how others view us.  These topics are explored with an honesty, warmth and humour that left me feeling surprisingly okay with the idea of retirement homes and joint replacements!

I would recommend this book to those who like an uplifting read about relationships and life as an elder which will have you crying, smiling, cheering and ‘awwww!’-ing.  I didn’t want to put it down!

 

‘This is all so humiliating,’ Peggy picked at the edge of the blanket with her good hand.  It was like she couldn’t trust her own body anymore, as though someone had reprogrammed it for a cheap laugh.
‘Sometimes, I’m sick of being me,’ she said.
‘Well, suck it up, sweetheart,’ replied Angie, ‘because everyone else is taken.’
Peggy smiled in spite of herself.  Part of her had missed Angie and that no-nonsense attitude.  She’d never admit it.  Peggy Smart still had her pride.  In this case, it had come after the fall.

– Joanna Nell, The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village

Review by Steph Warren of Bookshine and Readbows blog
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Who knew living in a retirement village could be so much fun?

Peggy, 79,  has slipped - far too easily - into a world of beige. Living in Jacaranda Retirement Village, the focus of her day is a visit to the doctor, then aqua aerobics topped off with a meeting of the Resident's Committee. Of course, there's always the bonus of fellow resident Brian whose very presence sets Peggy's heart all-a-flutter and fills her dreams. Then a chance encounter with her old school friend Angie, who was always more worldly wise and more glamorous than Peggy certainly begins to shake things up...

This is such a fun read! The author really has a grip on creating varied characters and has produced a wide array of personalities. The story itself is entertaining, but the real star is the author's ability to write such a witty novel. There is oodles of humour in this, topped off with Peggy's malapropisms which are hysterically funny. This is a lesson on how NOT to slide into our later years in a haze of beige - or taupe, if you prefer. I've smiled, laughed and giggled my way through every page, and would recommend this to everyone who likes to look on the brighter side of life!

My thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for my copy via NetGalley. This is my honest, original and unbiased review.
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Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village by Joanna Nell a five-star read that you will want to grow old with. In my daily life I freely admit, I love old people and they are my jam, I work with them every day and miss them on my days off, they surprise me every day and this book showed me them in their true light, something that not many people do and I loved that the author showed everyone how awesome oldies are. I recommend this to everyone no matter your age or taste as this has something for everyone, its humorous and honest and filled with great drama that will warm the cockles of your heart. Peggy Smart shows us how a well written character can come alive on the page and make you feel emotions that will make your head spin.
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Peggy Smart is a 79 year old widow living at the Jacaranda Retirement Village. She's still grieving her husband, is stuck in a beige rut, worries about her incontinence and the highlight of her day is watching an elderly widow through her window.

A new resident arrives, the vibrant, colourful and lively Angie Valentine. An old school friend of Peggy's who she hasn't seen for 50 years. They reconnect and in doing so change their lives. 

This is a beautiful yet funny book. I laughed out loud in places, others I felt sad. It's a beautiful story that tells us that we all have to get older, but we don't have to be old. 

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC in return for an honest review. I can honestly say this will be a book I'll go to again and again.
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This is without a doubt my favourite book of 2018 so far. A tale of 79 year old Peggy Smart living in Jacaranda Retirement Village. Peggy wears a lot of beige and lives simply. She reconnects, after 50 years with her childhood friend, Angie Valentine. Angie, also 79, is vibrant and colourful, in both clothes and personality, with a wonderful lust for life. Together they change each other's lives in ways they couldn't have forseen.
This beautiful book made me laugh out loud, made me cry and then had me laughing through my tears! The lessons it imparts are at the forefront of the story, time is precious, you're as young as you feel, live fully, be thankful for family and friends, appreciate every day, it's never too late, and, basically, "life is short, wear the lipstick, use your best china, dance, love".
I devoured this book, if I could give it 10 stars I would, absolutely brilliant 💕
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I enjoyed this book, and loved the main character Peggy. This was a gentle read, full of humour and left me feeling warm and fuzzy!
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When The Single ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village was compared to one of my favourite books The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry I had to request it and I am so glad that it did. I loved this book.
79-year-old Peggy is one of the residents at the Jacaranda Retirement Village. She is still grieving after the loss of her beloved husband Ted, she is not a very confident person. All her clothes are beige. She has incontinence problems and her kids thinks she is starting to suffer from Dementia and she can’t cope on her own.
When one day, in walks Angie. Peggie’s old friend from 50 years back. Who is completely different to Peggie. Confident, outgoing, knows how and to get everything out of life. But, she is with holding a secret. When both women get together, Angie brings Peggie out of her shell and Peggie starts living for once in her life.
The is a beautiful, charming, heart-warming story about the highs and lows of people ageing, falling in love and friendships.  There is a lot of laughs in this story too. I thought this was an absolute gem of a book and I can’t wait to see more from this author.
Thank you NetGalley and Hodder and Stoughton for a copy of this book
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It's been a while since I have read a novel which is so full of warmth and humour, with all its details of getting older, losing confidence, becoming invisible, taken for granted, fear of losing independence, the increasing frailties of the physical body and those memories that become ever so more elusive. 79 year old Peggy Smart is still grieving the loss of her beloved husband, Ted, and having to face the interference of her children, David and Jenny watching closely for signs of dementia and possibilities of falls, with Peggy terrified of being placed in a nursing home by them. Peggy's life is organised and remembered around her need to take numerous pills, and her eternal vexation with her weak bladder, an affliction from childhood. Her life and wardrobe is beige in every sense, all colour has leached out, her beloved elderly pooch, Basil, is under threat of being removed from her as a complaint has been received at the Jacaranda Retirement Village. This is a moving story where a group of geriatrics with apparently little in common other than the same final address begin to develop an increasingly special bond with each other as they begin to laugh, obsess over sex and behave disgracefully with glee, thanks to the forceful hurricane of glamorous fashionista that is Angie Valentine as she enters their lives.

It has been over fifty years since Peggy has seen her best friend of childhood, Angie, last seen at Peggy and Ted's wedding. Angie was confident and unafraid of standing up for the young, and bullied Peggy, taking her under her wing. Peggy loved her, wishing she could emulate her friend's qualities and sex appeal, with every man finding himself drawn to her. Out of the blue, the 4 times married Angie becomes a resident of the retirement village, taking no prisoners as she begins to turn Peggy's life upside down, although Peggy puts up a fight, doesn't Angie know they are too old? Before long, Peggy's wardrobe is replaced with clothes she could only dream about, and a hairstyle that swiftly changes her image of herself as she channels her inner Helen Mirren. And it doesn't stop there, Peggy is breaking the habits of a lifetime, beginning to swear, dreaming of sex with Brian, swimming, challenging the traditions of the Annual Dinner Dance, eating Angie's rather special brownies and more. For the first time, she is part of the cool crowd with her fellow oldies, but all the change has her children worrying about her mental health and thinking she is going gaga. Peggy is going to have to learn to assert herself with David and Jenny, and readjust what she knows about Angie, a woman with her own heartbreak and secrets. 

The book begins with a poem I have loved since childhood, the Dylan Thomas's famous Do Not Go Gentle in to that Good Night, and it is so apt as our cast of characters take up the challenges in life and rage against the dying of the light. This is a glorious read, with its beautiful touches of authenticity with Peggy's morass of emotions including jealousy, and her petty rivalries and competitive behaviour. The loneliness of old age, the tide of physical and mental health issues, problematic family members, the fear of loss of independence are no reason to stop living, beginning new friendships, and recognising the value of old friendships irrespective of the challenges they may present. It took me a little while to get engaged in this gem of a novel, but once I did, I was enthralled. The characters of Peggy and the unapologetic Angie were so compelling, and the wit, comic humour, and fun were a tonic, balancing the numerous adversities of getting older. A read that worms its way into your heart and comes highly recommended! Many thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for an ARC.
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I would like to thank both NetGalley and Hodder and Stoughton for giving me the opportunity to read ‘The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village by Joanne Nell. In exchange for my honest unbiased review.

Funny, feel good. Ladies reconnected. 
Full of laughs. Relaxing read.
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I would like to thank Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read ‘The Single Ladies Of Jacaranda Retirement Village’ by Joanna Nell in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.
Seventy-nine-year-old widow Peggy Smart lives in the Jacaranda Retirement Village where she admires from afar the eligible Brian Cornell, chartered accountant and Lexus-owner.  Peggy can’t believe her eyes when she discovers that the glamorous and fashionable Angie Valentine, her old school friend who she hasn’t seen for over fifty years, has moved into the village.
This is a gentle and amusing novel of ladies of a certain age and their many ailments.  Peggy’s visits to Doctor Stephen Lim had me smiling, as did her constant need to visit the bathroom (I know that feeling so well!), her confusion and mispronunciation of words.  The description of the fashion show and Peggy’s entrance through Angie’s window is humorous although her discovery of Angie brought a lump to my throat.  This novel is enjoyable and easy to read.
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Fabulous! The sound of chords being struck all the way through. Peggy's use of language and malapropisms made me laugh out loud. To rekindle the friendship with Angie after so many yers gave Peggy a new lease of life , her bladder too! Win Win.  and despite the revelations of Angie's secret she realised the friendship was too precious to lose.
A must read for all people of a Certain Age. It's on the shortlist for Book Club definitely
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Some great characters in this lovely, feel good book. Angie demonstrates to Peggy how to grow old disgracefully and turns her life around. Even when you're nearly 80 you don't have to stop looking for new adventuŕes. Loved the running joke about marbles. Recommended.
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The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village written by Joanna Nell for me was a good read based on the life of Peggy Smart and her new friends as they settle into life while living under the rules of the village. Peggy Smart had moved into the village shortly after the death of her husband Ted and she missed not only him but her old home.
This was an old-fashioned love story which was a nice gentle read, it showed Peggy as she decides to let her new friends into her life while finding love along the way.
If you want a book full of buzzing energy this is not the book for you but if you want a nice gentle read which allows you to sit back and relax which will have you smiling when the last page is reached.  For me, the author has written a good read which showed that no matter what age you are there is always time for romance in your life.
Happy to recommend.
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A sweet, funny and charming read that highlights all the physical and emotional pitfalls of ageing, and includes the message that you are never too old to find love. 

Thanks to Joanna Nell, Hodder & Stoughton, and NetGalley for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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A lovely optimistic read about getting old,friendships and love. 
Seriously,if you dress old(beige), think old and surround yourself with old, you end up feeling so down and depressed,and life passes you by. Getting older can be about the joys of elasticated waistbands,disintegrating bodies,incontinence problems and horrible dentures,but this book is about being rescued by a good friend with a devastating secret.
Peggy Smart is 79 and starting to experience memory problems and her bladder rules her life. She lives in a retirement village and really values her independence. One day,she hears a voice from her past,Angie Valentine,who is everything that Peggy is not. Angie dresses smartly,wears beautiful jewellery and seems to have no fears about getting older. Angie takes Peggy under her wing,they buy new clothes,get a new hairstyle for Peggy and generally end up feeling twenty years younger together. They start to socialise,plan social events for their fellow residents and generally enjoy life.
 I believe that everyone should have a really close friend like Angie. My best friend and I have known each other since we were 16years old,I have to be nice to her as she knows all my secrets! We all need a good friend to moan with and grow old disgracefully together,and this book shows how marvellous this friendship is. Too many older people give up and lose all confidence as they get older and lose a partner,but others really relish the challenge of later life. 
A wonderful,cheering book,full of laughter and humour,sometimes at Peggy's expense!! Bring on the Gin and little blue tablets,I'm going to enjoy myself,and make my children wonder!! 
I have posted this review to Goodreads today.
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A nice gentle read about a woman's coming of age when she is 79. She breaks her wrist and has to rely on her friends, who are also elderly, to get by. She also questions her childrens' opinions about how old and incapable she really is. It just goes to show that you are never too old to start living.
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