The Girls

The perfect feel-good, new book club read to uplift you in 2022

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Pub Date 14 Apr 2022 | Archive Date 29 Apr 2022

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Four old friends. Thrown back together after forty years apart. What could possibly go wrong?

In the 1970s, The Girls were best friends sharing a house and good times: Zara the famous diva actor, Val the uptight solicitor, Jackie the wild child and Pauline the quirky introvert. Now they're in their twilight years, and Zara suggests that they live with her to support each other through old age.

Initially, being housemates again is just as much fun as in their heyday. But then Zara reveals the real reason she asked them to move in with her, and suddenly things take a sinister turn.

As the women confront their demons they come under the spotlight of the press, the police and an angry parrot. With their lives spiralling out of control can they save their friendships and each other?

Praise for The Girls:

'This wonderful book made me laugh, made me cry and most of all made me hope that my own gang of girls will be there for me when I need them the most. I loved it!' – Sarah Bennett

'Book club fiction at its best. A wonderfully uplifting story, funny, fabulous and full of heart – utterly brilliant!' – Faith Hogan

Readers love Bella Osborne's books!

'Such a heart-warming and thought-provoking novel! A touching tale of true friendship, overcoming adversity and the genuine joy books can bring to our lives' – Jill Mansell

'A touching tale that will warm your heart and put a smile on your face' – Hazel Prior

'A story that was deeply moving, and ultimately uplifting... Definitely recommended – it was one of my best reads this year' – Janet Gover

'Heart-rending and inspiring in equal measures. A wonderful story. I adored it!' – Celia Anderson

'Beautifully and sensitively written, the characterisation is superb!' – Sue Moorcroft

'Absolutely LOVED IT! It's Bella's best book yet! A glorious heartfelt novel' – Christie Barlow

'The Library is a beautifully uplifting story full of wit, warmth and tender moments, with community at its heart and characters you truly care about' – Cressida McLaughlin

'I absolutely loved this book. Heart-warming with genuine characters, the plot pulled me in and I was rooting for the library every step of the way. A great tonic for the times and highly recommended!' – Talli Roland

Four old friends. Thrown back together after forty years apart. What could possibly go wrong?

In the 1970s, The Girls were best friends sharing a house and good times: Zara the famous diva actor, Val...

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ISBN 9781801100496
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Featured Reviews

Whilst it took me a couple of chapters to get into this book I ended up thoroughly enjoying it and it was such a refreshing change to read about women older than the usual chick lit even if I had to keep getting the Golden Girls out of my head!

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A fun, light, entertaining story.
I enjoyed the storyline, characters and writing style.
The story was full of friendship, love, happiness, sadness and so much more.
A real ‘feel-good’ story.
I enjoyed the The Library by Bella so knew this was going to be a good one.

Head of Zeus|Aria,
Thank you for this eARC!

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I adored this quick, easy, fun read, It was well written with well developed characters and an uplifting storyline. I loved the characters and I especially loved that they were older as this isnt something that happens very much in fiction, especially of this genre. I took these girls to my heart and they will remain there for a long time to come.
I loved it.

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The story of four women who lived together in their 20svand are brought back together and decide to have a second go 50 years later. All four women are beautifully written and their varied relationships are realistic. A highly enjoyable book.

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*Little Spoiler Alert!*
You'd be forgiven for thinking this might just be a frivolous rom-com about a bunch of girlfriends, off on a sun-soaked holiday, looking at the cover, but that's where this old adage, "Never judge a book by its cover", is most suitable.
The Girls is about a group of friends, and there is an element of being abroad, but, that's where the frivolity ends.
These are four women, some may describe as, past their prime.
Pauline, Val, Jackie and Zara.
All in their later years, these four friends used to house share in the seventies, and now, somehow, fate, or rather, Zara, has brought them back together.
Pauline is in her own personal hell, alone after a long abusive marriage, with demons that won't back down, and she's on the brink of taking her life.
Val, alone, but strong. with a secret hidden so deep, that none of her girls knows about it.
Jackie, the most frivolous of the bunch, is still searching for her One, and even though she knows her options are lessening, due to her age, can't help herself.
So, when they are all invited to a party to celebrate their old, now famous, friend, Zara's 80th birthday, they meet with some trepidation, having not seen each other for many years.
Here's where things get more serious.
Zara wants them all to recreate their 70s living arrangement, but in her villa in France, knowing that all her friends have nothing holding them to England, and with a somewhat selfish motive of her own,
However, her sudden demise plunges them into even more problems.
Lots of different issues are raised in this extremely good book.
Sure, maybe it is a little far fetched to think that someone would go to so much trouble to have their friends around them, but the ensuing story had me gripped.
And, the best thing?
They all learn something important about themselves through the journey.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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This book is full of twists and turns, you think the story is heading in one direction and then it goes down a completely different road! Full of intriguing characters - Pauline who is riddled with anxiety following her abusive marriage; Jackie who has never settled down, is fond of alcohol and men; Val who is a recently retired solicitor with a secret and finally the larger than life Zara! The girls lived together in the 1970s but have lost touch over the years and while three of them have had relatively normal lives, Zara scaled the dizzy heights of fame, living a life that the others can dream of. So, after a surprise reunion, Zara invites her old friends to come and live with her in the South of France…….. and that’s when the chaos begins!! This book is full of fun, friendships, sunshine, old feuds, parrots, cats, yachts and, possibly, a murder……… fabulous!

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Well this was a fabulous read!

I adore Bella Osborne books, this one I'll admit I didn't think would be my cup of tea, when I read the first chapter I was like mmm I'm not sure as it was quite hard hitting but I continued reading until I was engrossed into the lives of the girls.

The girls each had their own pasts to deal with which none of the others knew about each other.

I had a real soft spot for Pauline as she bonded with Brian and gave her purpose in life.

A real gem of a read, I absolutely loved it.

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Bella Osbourne is one of my new favourite authors & this book certainly didn’t disappoint me. Loved it!

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4 friends who lived together in the 70s reunite in their twilight years - but everything isn’t quite what it seems!

Zara, Jackie, Val, and Pauline are all very different personalities who lived together in college and then drifted apart. When they see each other again at Zara’s 80th birthday party, she asks them all to join her at her mansion to live out the rest of their days. But things quickly aren’t what they seem.

The description of this book immediately drew me in, it gave me major Golden Girls vibes - but if it were a mystery! It is written in 3 POVs which was a little confusing at first but you quickly get to know each gal’s personality. I loved the story and never knew where it was heading so it definitely kept me on my toes!

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Pauline, Jackie, Val, and Zara are the girls. They lived together as young women in the 70's, and Zara invites them all to move in with her again 50 year later. Pauline, Jackie, and Val are our narrators for this novel.

Each narrator has her own distinct voice and clearly developed personality. As the book proceeds, we learn more about each woman and their past, things that happened when they lived together and then after when they lost touch with each other. Each has her own struggles and worries but they come together for Zara.

Around the half way point of the book it transitions to being a bit of a mystery with each narrator under suspicion of wrongdoing. With out giving away any spoilers, I enjoyed seeing how they worked together on presenting a united front and didn't tear each other down. This is certainly not a thriller.

With the reveal of what happened to clear them of all suspicion, the book does wrap up rather quickly, but it is believable and well done. Overall this is a well written and fun story exploring how relationships change but also stay the same as we get older.

Thank you to Head of Zeus, Aria Books, and NetGalley for the electronic ARC copy of this novel for review.

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I love this author's books so was immediately drawn to it. We get to meet Pauline, Jackie, Val and Zara, who all house-shared as younger women in the 1970's. They lost touch as they aged and now all have different lives. They're all in their senior years now - Pauline suffers badly with depression and anxiety, Jackie is a carer with a penchant for alcohol and men, Val is a retired solicitor and Zara is a famous actress. When the three women are invited to Zara's 80th birthday party, their lives are changed forever.

I have to admit, this wasn't what I expected, and was different to some of the other books written by this author, but I was hooked from the very first page and really enjoyed it. The characters are all really likeable in their own different ways and as you read, you quickly get to pick up on their individual personalities. Whilst it's not a romantic type, light-hearted read, it does have plenty of light hearted moments, and I found myself laughing and smiling at the ladies' antics! It is quite a serious book in parts with some hard hitting themes included, taking you on a rollercoaster journey of emotions amongst all the merriment. There were a lot of different elements included in this story and I loved how the book swung from serious to light-hearted and from the ladies' journeys to a little bit of murder-mystery!

The storyline flowed along well, keeping me on my toes as to where it was heading. I loved the celebrity name drops and the locations and extravagance was to die for! By the end, I found myself liking all the characters equally, with each one having a piece of the journey that warmed my heart. Full of friendships, life and laughter, this book is certainly one which is worth a read. Would definitely recommend.

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The Girls is a story of four women in their 60s, 70s, and 80s. They all lived together in the 1970s and have been brought together again by Zara who suggests they would all benefit from living together again in their golden years.

All four women are very different in their personalities and background, but one thing they all show is that society shouldn’t write older women off. Just because the outer body is wearing out, the minds are still the same.

I really enjoyed this story. Without giving anything away, in true Bella Osborne style, you can expect to discover every emotion as this story has a bit of everything, with plenty of twists and turns along the way.

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Four old friends. Thrown back together after forty years apart. What could possibly go wrong? In the 1970s, The Girls were best friends sharing a house and good times: Zara the famous diva actor, Val the uptight solicitor, Jackie the wild child and Pauline the quirky introvert. Now they're in their twilight years, and Zara suggests that they live with her to support each other through old age. Initially, being housemates again is just as much fun as in their heyday. But then Zara reveals the real reason she asked them to move in with her, and suddenly things take a sinister turn. As the women confront their demons they come under the spotlight of the press, the police and an angry parrot. With their lives spiralling out of control can they save their friendships and each other?

Review: Bella Osborne has a talent for creating characters you can’t help falling in love with. “The Girls” approaches the topic of growing older with dignity and grace and although you will be taken on somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster, you’ll be left feeling uplifted when you put this book down.

I found this book incredibly heart-warming yet thought-provoking. It was a little bit of a slow burner initially, but I found once I got through the first few chapters, I was absolutely hooked and fell in love with the characters and all the twists! Having also read Osborne's book "The Library" I really feel her books would be the perfect book club reads and even include some handy book club discussion points at the end!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Another cracker from Bella Osborne, she writes such different style books, (The Library was brilliant), Now she has given us "The Girls" ladies of a certain age rekindle their friendship but is everything as it seems. Brilliant book i didn't want to put down such a refreshing topic. Totally recommend

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A woman's friendship with others always remains salient especially in light of shared experiences. I am glad that Zara brought everyone together especially due to economic and personal hardship. However, I think that Pauline needs to be stronger as I had to force myself to read her chapters due to her wobblines and childlike behavior. All may have fallacies such as Jackie and her trying to find a man to satisfy her financial needs or Val to simply find a connection, but Pauline overshadowed some of the humor and how great the relationship of the girls was.

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Immersive, Entertaining, Heartwarming…
Back in the 1970’s four girls were sharing good times as well as a house. Now in their later years they come together once again - at a suggestion from one - to share each other’s lives, much as they used to do. Wouldn’t it be great to share the later years all together again, support each other and have that constant companionship? Perhaps. First off, all is well but soon things are to take a somewhat odd turn. As life spirals out of control, true friendships may well be tested to the limit. Immersive and enjoyable, entertaining, touching, heartwarming and delightful. All of those things. All at once.

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Pauline, Jackie and Val each receive an unexpected party invitation: it's Zara's 80th Birthday.

The four women shared a house in their twenties, but lost touch after that. So the invitation is a surprise, but they are intrigued to attend, as Zara is a world-famous actress.

What they discover at the party is that Zara's health is quite poor, despite her façade. Zara then has the idea that they should all move in with her, since they each live alone and could, instead, spend their time together in luxury.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Girls. Bella Obourne is a good story-teller, and while I could gradually see where the plot was going, and could suspect certain things, it held my interest and still brought a few surprises.

Of course, this is a character-driven story, and this is where the book really delivers.
The titular girls are very distinct and rounded, and their different personalities make their interactions entertaining.

It's not all fun and games, though. The girls all have their secrets and emotional baggage, and although the overall tone of the book is light, it does touch upon some heavier themes.

I'll definitely be looking out for more of Bella Osbourne's books!

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Four women who were flatmates 50 years ago are reunited by one of them who has become a rich and famous actress. The story is told from the multiple points of view of the other 3 “girls”. Now living together again in the south of France, the plot twists and turns as more of events of intervening years emerge and affect current behaviours. Bella Osborne is a master story teller and produces and absorbing and unusual book which I highly recommend.

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I am a massive Bella Osborne fan but I didn’t like the characters or story. It did not grab me.Four flat mates at 18 were brought together by Zara who of the 4 had become famous and wealthy. Set mainly in south of France. Good twist at the end . An easy read . The villa sounded amazing .

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What would happen when you get a group of girls together after 50 years!! This is a well writhe story and I throughly enjoyed it.

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In the 1970’s Zara, Val, Jackie and Pauline shared a house in London. Now 40 years later they are about to become housemates again but this time on the French Riviera. Will living together live up to their expectations or will chaos ensue?

A great story about friendship with a good mix of characters which made for an enjoyable read.

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Another brilliant story by Bella about childhood friends who’s lives have all gone in different directions but they are reunited and try to recreate their childhood by making more memories together. Loved it

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Brilliant new read from a wonderful author. Contemporary, warm, full of heart, just like The Library.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for letting me access an advance copy of this book in exchange for my feedback.

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Four friends are brought back together after they get an invitation to one of the friends 80th Birthday. Zara is a famous actress, Jackie is the wild one, Val is the sensible one and Pauline is the safe friend. Each of them have there problems and they rely on Zara to help them out.

What a lovely book, you want to read more and more about the characters. Each of them has their own personality and are full of life. A wonderful, well written book. Another brilliant book by Bella.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for an advanced copy for an honest review.

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What a delight this book was to read. I enjoyed getting to know the 4 "girls" although the start was only told by 3 of them. It was so well written that I'm convinced we only get old on the outside!

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Thanks to NetGalley for an e-arc of this book.

Bella Osborne is a very good author. It's always so refreshing to read her books. If you like books without profanity but still have a good plot and interesting characters, her books are for you.

The Girls doesn't disappoint. The character development is great. I loved most of the characters and was surprised at the twist. Can't really say much without spoiling the book. I suggest you go in blind and just simply enjoy the read.

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March is national women’s month. This book takes the stories of four women on a journey. It addresses the topic of growing older with respect. the story takes you on a an emotional rollercoaster, but leaves you feeling uplifted. .

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I love Bella Osborne and this is probably my favourite of her books to date. I loved premise and it was a really good escapist read, I'd definitely recommend this to friends.

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Bella Osborne is definitely one of my go to authors, I know as soon as she has a book out, I will get it no doubt as I know I will enjoy it and they never disappoint. The story line is so genuine and real and I feel people will be able to relate. It is such a heart warming about two friends who are alot older and decide to live together but what is the unspoken secret between them. It is a story about the true meaning of friendship and how you should tell those people close to you how much you love them. This was such a great and easy read that you will get swept up with.

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Part of the genre of women's fiction is the familiar trope of old friends reunited after they have all experienced the slings and arrows of misfortune but they become a comfort to one another and they all live happily ever after. This is not that book. The Girls, Val. Jackie, Pauline and Zara lived together in their early twenties, when they were all trying to forge their own path. Zara went on to become a famous movie star, the other 3 did not fare as well. so when they are all invited to a fancy do at Zara's house, they want to reconnect, but with Zara asked them to move in with her and then tries to extract a very difficult promise from each them, what could be a joyous time is marred by the request and the women start to remember the flaws in one another that they found so irritating when they lived together. Things go from bad to worse when the police begin investigating a crime - and they are all suspects. Well written, with fun characters and a heck of a plot, THE GIRLS is a captivating read.

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Thanks to Aria and Netgalley for an advance copy of this book in exchange for a review.

Four girls who shared a house in the 70's are reunited and find themselves sharing a house again. It took me a wee while to get in to this book but after a few chapters I was there and thoroughly enjoyed reading about "The Girls".

Great story.

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It's nice to see older women being written about! I had some trouble getting into this one and never really connected with any of the women. It was weird to me that they were living together since they seemed to dislike each other. On the other hand, the reasons for the living situation were thoroughly explained. The last third of the book is when I was won over. A creative premise for a book and I look forward to more from Bella Osborne.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book.

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In the 1970’s Pauline, Jackie, Val and Zara were house mates and best friends, but for the last 40 years they barely kept in touch except to swap Christmas and birthday cards. Much had happened in that time, but nothing as glittering as the celebrity that Zara Cliff courted. Invited to her 80th birthday, ‘The Girls” get back together and events mean they decamp to the south of France to a life of luxury. However this life also includes some difficult demands and decisions.

Told from the alternating perspectives of Jackie, Val and Pauline, Osborne takes the reader inside the mind of each of the characters whilst also allowing you to observe events. She uses metaphors and similes to great effect, such as “there was certainly less tension in the air but without her they were like the pages of a book left too long in the sun - without the glue they came apart.” Throughout there are also surprises and plot twists that keep you guessing, although some felt like they were signalled quite early on.

Osborne is an author I’ve enjoyed before (The Library) and whilst she isn’t too demanding of her reader she provides a good romp that is very engrossing. My only reason for giving her 4, rather than 5 stars is that with ‘The Library’ I felt more of an emotional connection to her characters and was moved more, rather than with this one there were times, particularly in the middle of the novel, where I was less engaged. However this remains a good read.

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Loved this book which focuses on the lives of 4 older ladies, loved the characters some of which were especially fiesty, some pretty weighty issues being dealt with such as confusion over sensuality, emotional abuse and assisted suicide however done in a really clever but not dismissive way which makes you think about the subject but doesn't overtake the book or turn it into a doom fest

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Thank you NetGalley, Bella Osborne and Head of Zeus for the ARC of The Girls. This is my personal review.
Zara, Val, Jackie, and Pauline have been friends sharing a house and good times for many years. But with each of their lives going in different directions they did not see each other for many years.
Then one day Val, Jackie and Pauline got an invitation for a surprise birthday party for Zara. This party was just the beginning of them being together again. After not being together for many years Zara suggests they relive being in the same house and to move in with her in her Villa.
The story builds in layers, and I enjoyed each layer as I read this book.
The start was slow, but it was needed to form the base for the story.
Being with the four women was told by the author in a way that made me care for each of these women.

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Oh this is such a good read.
A group of old friends reunite in their twilight years, having not been all together for decades.
They are all single and lonely, and while reminiscing about their younger years when when they shared a house together, they decide to give it another go.
Cue a new life in the South of France.
Funny, heart warming and a little fantasy.

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This was a very poignant book, well written with some laughs and tears along the way.
An aging film star want inf to recapture the time she spent with we girls where they were all different younger versions of themselves now.
They are all living together in.a villa tecreating the 70’s house share they had before. Then things take a bit of a u turn.
Well written and a great read ,

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A group of best friends getting together after a long time apart. Life and people change as they get to know each other again. It has a Sex in the City vibe. The characters are colorful and the story is good. Not my usual read, but I truly enjoy it.

Thank you to Head of Zeus, Aria and NetGalley for letting me read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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Oh I do love a Bella Osborne read and this is no exception. Pauline, Jackie and Val get an invitation to Zara's 80th birthday. They used to house share in the 70's and now they are brought back together.
You fall in love with the characters and it did remind me a lot of the Golden Girls, which I have to admit I still love to this day.
Bella Osborne has a knack of writing about character's that become relatable and you really identify with them, regardless of their age.
If you want to read something different, as usual, this book is for you

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What happens when you take The Golden Girls and mash it up with Agatha Christie? Well, you might find yourself with something like The Girls. Jackie is Blanche - flirtatious and somewhat in denial about her age. Val would be Dorothy, the most serious of the group, the one who holds things together. Pauline is reminiscent of Rose, the friend who just wants everyone to get along and keep the peace. Unfortunately, Zara doesn't fit the Sophia mold - she's an aging actress, a wealthy drama queen who brings the friends back together after many years apart.

The women, all in their 60s-70s, agree to move together to Zara's home in the French Riviera, to support each other and to help Zara, the oldest of the group, as her health declines. While the initial chapters suggest more of a beach read about friendship and the dynamics between the group, as the book progresses it shifts more to the mystery model, and reminded me quite a bit of classic Agatha Christie novels. Not quite a cozy mystery, but definitely a comfort read - there are strong hints and foreshadowing dropped along the way and I enjoyed reading along.

This is a quick and fun read, but I would probably recommend it more for older audiences or for die-hard mystery fans. It was a real change of pace from my usual fantasy and romance fare, but I enjoyed the detour into cozy mystery territory!

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From the moment I read the description of this book, the characters reminded me of the Golden Girls! And after I started reading, the similarities just continued. This story was like if all the golden girls had super crazy and dramatic lives. This book was a crazy adventure with a ton of plot twists and character development. I recommend this book if you’re looking for something that’s a fast read and keeps you wanting more the whole time! I couldn’t put this one down.

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This book was an absolute stunner! The way it was told from each character's point of view was inspired and the twists and turns made it impossible to put down

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"The Girls" is a delightful chick-lit novel about women’s friendships. It is also a mystery when one of the characters ends up dead.

Four friends from the ’70s gather together to attend their movie-star friend Zara’s 80th birthday. It’s a big celebrity bash and a chance for the four women to reminisce about old times. After the party, Zara woos them to come live with her for free, and they end up in her French villa. The catch—each woman must help in their own way. Jackie provides medical care. Val offers legal and financial assistance, and Pauline is chosen to edit Zara’s memoir. The story takes a turn when Zara asks each friend a huge favor. Each woman has her own secret and feels compromised. But when Zara turns up dead one morning, the friends become prime suspects.

The Girls is an excellent character-driven book. I enjoyed the setting, premise, and tone of this novel. The novel is humorous and a page-turner with a surprise ending. I thank Net Galley for allowing me to read and review it. #NetGalley #The Girls #chicklit

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I love this author and read most of her books… I would highly recommend this book to… anyone with a pulse. Is that you?… This book will stay with you long after you've finished it, and in the most delicious way! fabulous storytelling!

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This was absolutely joyous to read. I really liked the characters in this and found them so varied and interesting. Definitely a book I’d recommend.

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This was a pretty cute read. Nice once again to have older ladies as the main characters. Some plot points were murky or didn’t add up fully but I forgive them for a fast paced entertaining story. Not a feel good read.

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This was a totally different read to what I've come to expect from Bella Osborne, but I enjoyed it just as much as her fun romances. Four former flatmates reunite at the 80th birthday party of Zara, who has achieved her ambition of becoming an internationally acclaimed actress. With her health failing she suggests the others comes to live with her in a mutally beneficial arrangement. With nothing to lose, the others agree but as they settle into Zara's palatial French villa in Nice, they realise that Zara's offer came with strings attached. Is she expecting too much of them? Will they regret giving up their previous lives? As the action moves towards denouement, it seems that Zara's final solution won't suit everyone!
A fabulously fun exploration of female friendship that isn't always sweetness and light, this is a laugh-out-loud read that nevertheless addresses the serious issues of ageing, loneliness, coming to terms with who you are and what life throws at you. It gets a little farcical at times, but the bright breezy prose and the characters of the four women, who prove that (physical ailments aside) age is just a number help to carry it through.
I hope I'm as feisty and fun when I get to their age!

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This book is absolutely fabulous. Her last book The Library was brilliant and this one is just as good.
Zara is an ageing film star who lives in the South of France and asks her long time friends Jackie, Val and Pauline to come over and live with her. Each of them are in a crisis in their own lives and think this idea would be a game changer. Zara has an ulterior motive behind her offer which they will not find out until they have moved in.
This story is full of love, friendships, sorrow, humour and sadness and when put together makes for a great read. I could not put this book down and thoroughly recommend it.
Bella Osborne, I love your books.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC. It was an absolute pleasure.

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Four, let's call them mature women, get together for a surprise 80th birthday party and decide that fifty years apart has been long enough so why not move in together in an effort to not be so alone in the world.

Zara: The starlet, drama queen, flamboyantly wealthy, and most of all a loving friend.

Val: The smart one, responsible, calm demeanor, with a successful career anyone would be envious of.

Jackie: The wild child, drunk on life and cocktails, and still trying to flirt her way into the heart of a wealthy man.

Pauline: Kind to a fault, heart of gold, introvert, and sufferer of anxiety.

On the face of it you'd never guess these four diverse woman would have anything in common, much less a friendship, but sometimes it's those we yin and yang with that bring us all the comfort we need. Such a heartwarming story of what it means to be friends and how those friends are ultimately your family. More importantly, a strong emphasis is placed on women supporting women.

This charming story will have you reaching for a glass of wine while toasting your closest friend(s). The locale of the French Riviera had me swooning and lusting for a place I'll likely only ever dream of. I'll admit one of the ladies irritated me so much in the beginning but by the end she had grown to be one of my favorite characters. Go figure! There is also Brian the cat and Toby the foul-mouthed parrot to round out this unusual cast of characters. What starts as a light-hearted, farcical story turns into a murder mystery and has each of the friends questioning whether one of them has the motive to kill. This book was the perfect break in between heavier stories and I had fun getting to know these characters and while it may have been over the top it was surely entertaining. 4 stars!

Thank you to NetGalley and Head of Zeus for my complimentary copy.

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What a story! I loved the last book by Bella Osborne and this one had me hooked!

I loved meeting the Girls, in a book that will make you laugh and cringe throughout. As Zara pulls back together the girls she house shared with before she was famous, we get a glimpse into all of their lives and what has led them to be at the point in their lives where they all uproot to go and live with Zara.

A story that had me hooked from the moment I picked it up, I loved reading about the funny anecdotes and the wonderfully varied personalities of the girls and how they manage to slot together to muddle along.

Grab a copy of this wonderful book as you won't be disappointed!

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A refreshing change for me to read about women in their advancing years. A story of four women who had all lived together 50 years ago, brought back together by a invitation to a party. There are definitely a couple of twists and turns along the way to keep you drawn into the story.

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What a fabulous brilliant book!! Absolutely loved it!!
Four girls are brought together in a flat share in London in the 1970s. They are all studying different things at college and are very different personalities yet The Girls struck a bond together. Many years later they are brought together again for a surprise birthday party.
The characters are beautifully drawn, and emerge with their secrets as the book unfolds. Bella Osborne deals with some pivotal, controversial issues and subjects, with realistic wise sensitivity.
Thoroughly enjoyable, interesting and refreshing to read about sixty plus ladies who are still The Girls!
Thank you NetGalley for the early read, hugely recommended!

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I imagined this being fluffy, fun, slightly “Golden girls” in novel form. It is anything but, but massively enjoyable.
The characters bounce off each other in an amazing way and are so full and richly written.
A book that is light but at the same time really leaves you thinking and can very easily have you in tears.

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🌅🚤A villa full of mature women reconnecting; but who dunnit?🙊🙉🙊

I never suspected that this story would morph from a gal pal reunion into a murder mystery. I enjoyed it thanks to the characters with very distinct and different personalities; the setting on the sunny French Riviera; and the way each of actress Zara's three friends handle the drama Zara has orchestrated for them all both before and after they arrive at her Cap Ferrat villa.

I loved the short chapter format, the multiple point of view storytelling and the easy flow of the story. And the conclusion was hopeful and celebratory: a good way to end after the troubles they'd weathered. Although I found Jackie annoying, she's a great foil for friends Val and Pauline, both of whose backstories I found very touching.

Though I preferred Osborne's The Library, which focused more on community than a small group of friends, this was a good read that I definitely recommend.

Thanks to Head of Zeus/Aria and NetGalley for sharing a complimentary advance copy of the book; this is my voluntary and honest opinion..

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I really enjoyed this.
The 4 main characters have an interesting dynamic and I'm sure different readers are going to have different favourite characters. For me personally I loved Pauline and Val.

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Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an early review copy.

A fabulous book, I loved Bella’s last book The Library as well.

Living in the South of France, Zara is now no longer a wanted actress as she is ageing. So at a recent function where she meets her friends from years back - Jackie, Val and Pauline, she invites them to come and live with her.

All three ladies have things happening in their lives and feel that this would make things right for them. But, there is a reason why Zara wants her friends to join her, she doesn’t inform her friends of this, they realise what the reason is after they’ve moved in.

This book has sorrow, friendship, love and sadness, which makes for an unputdownable read.

I highly recommend this book.

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This is my second Bella Osborne book and it didn’t disappoint. Old friends make new friendships with each other after years apart. Really enjoyable.

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Brilliant plot! I was deeply involved from the beginning. The story is told through the voices of the four main characters. They were housemates years ago when in college. While I do not think these four would have found friendship otherwise, living together during those years definitely bought them close despite their differences.

Each woman has a unique personality and that gives this story a spark to see how each of them deal with the new life suddenly upon them. They fall into the roles they had years ago, with one being the demanding star (actress), one the party girl (carer in an old age home), one the sensible, guarded protector (attorney) and one pleasant, kind, and wounded (typing pool clerk).

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. While it is more serious than some of the books I have read by Bella Osborne, I definitely believe her fans will love it.

I want to thank Head of Zeus, Aria and NetGalley for giving me the pleasure of reading the advance reader copy, with no obligation to write a review. My review is written freely as a hobby, and is totally my own opinion, not influenced by receiving the ARC.

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We all know Bella Osborne for her funny and touching rom-com stories. Her last book, The Library, was a bit of a change in direction, but still utterly brilliant and written with Bella’s reliable warmth, poignancy and wit.
The Girls, is another new route for Bella’s writing style, but just as she did in The Library, the quality and skill she has as an author shines through.

Four old friends, Val, Pauline, Jackie and Zara are reunited after forty years apart, when a surprise party is arranged in honour of Zara’s 80th birthday.

Back in the 70’s all four women were students and shared a flat. Forty years on, as they rekindle their friendships, they find themselves with the opportunity to once more live together, but this time in the opulence of Zara’s villa on the French Riviera.
The plan is to live out their twilight years in companionable comfort, but of course life doesn’t run that smoothly.

Zara, Val, Pauline and Jackie are a diverse group of women. From wildly elaborate to timid and anxious, shrewd and intelligent to brash and immature. Yet somehow they gel and the story works.

As in all of Bella’s books, there are some darker topics, which are handled with tact, empathy and care.
There is also some wonderful humour peppered throughout the story.

This book is sweet, funny, emotional and moving, with a bit of mystery thrown in too. It flows effortlessly from start to finish and each page draws you in just a little more to this charming story.

I love the fact that the main characters are all of a more mature age. They have all had a life and all have a story to tell.

The Girls, is another triumph for Bella Osborne. Five glorious stars from me.

Publication date: 14/4/22 -ebook and paperback

With thanks to #Netgalley and #HeadOfZeus for a digital arc of #TheGirls by #BellaOsborne.

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Another great book from Bella Osbourne, her books never seem to disappoint. This one was slightly different from her usual books but, it didn’t matter at all as it was still enjoyable. A fun read. My thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review.

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I really enjoyed this book, it was really different to "The Library", the characters were well written and you could relate to some of the issues they were having, I love the idea of friends living together in their later years rather than living alone, it brings the true meaning to friendship, give yourself a treat and enjoy this book

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This was an interesting book. Four old friends in varying stages of retirement meet up again and try to recreate their glory years - only with a few extra twists and turns.
It was interesting to see each of their individual lives before they all come together. I have to say that possibly the last 25% was the most interesting as the plot thickened and by then I was invested in knowing what had happened. Zara was definitely a character!

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I enjoyed this book, although it was not at all what I expected from the description and cover. I thought it would be a feel-good read about a bunch of aging girlfriends who decide to live together and have fun adventures for their golden years.
Although there was a touch of that, I wouldn't exactly bill this as a feel-good friendship story. It sort of turns into a murder mystery and the murder portion happened a little too abruptly.
It's not a sunshiny, breezy book, so if that's what you're hoping for, this book will mislead you. However, I would more accurately classify this as a women's fiction meets mystery hybrid. Once I realized the book wasn't what I was expecting, I still enjoyed it.
I give it 3.5 stars because while I did get sucked into the story and liked the different characters, I couldn't suspend my disbelief that these girlfriends would do or die for each other, when they hadn't actually spoken to each other in 30-40 years. That made the premise of 'these are my girls' feel like a lie that kept niggling at the back of my head. Aside of that, I loved the short chapters and alternating perspectives. The author did a great job of withholding just the right amount of information to make the mystery work.

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‘This wonderful book made me laugh, made me cry and most of all made me hope that my own gang of girls will be there for me when I need them the most. I loved it!’

Sarah Bennett

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I had loved Bella Osborne previous book The Library, and was very excited to read The Girls. I was sure I was going to like it and, sure enough, I did. So very much!

The Girls is funny, humorous while emotional and moving at the same time. It also deals with some heavy topics, but they are handled with a lot of tact and empathy. There's also a hint of cozy mystery which adds to the enjoyment. The characters are just wonderful, you'll fall in love with them.

Definitely a must read!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I was pre-warned that this book was another change in style, for Bella Osborne, but I knew I was in for a treat because I’ve loved all of her previous books, particularly The Library. I’m not yet in the same age bracket as the girls in the story, but I’m closer than I am to my teens! I found the format to be reminiscent of the fabulous TV series, The Golden Girls, not that there is any other similarity other than the basic format.
As the synopsis explains, Zara, Val, Jackie and Pauline are poles apart in character, but their friendship was based on their house share experience in the 1970s. Although they only lived together for a few years, the friendship was a great foundation which served them well when Zara decided that they should all move into her luxury home and recapture their distant youth. That is where the similarity ends, and this story begins.
I did pick a favourite and would defy anyone not to do the same. For me, it was Pauline. She had led such an unsatisfactory life. Her marriage was to a bully, and she had remained childless and was, quite frankly, wondering why she was still alive. Bella Osborne introduced Pauline in a way that was impossible not to be drawn to. I was immediately aligned with her and wanted her to find happiness and a purpose.
Val and Jackie were polar opposites of each other, Val was an uptight former solicitor and Jackie was the eternal good-time girl. Focussed on finding herself a wealthy millionaire, Jackie was somewhat unlikeable, but I still enjoyed her story. Val was hiding a secret, but for the avoidance of spoilers, I will say no more.
This is a joyful, uplifting book that certainly takes a good look at the challenges faced by ageing women. Not just menopause but the spectre of loneliness and failing health. There are no holds barred as delicate subjects are examined and this group of women find themselves navigating their ways through a decidedly messy situation. There are, of course, male characters, but they appear in supporting roles and even include a cat and a parrot.
As I reached the closing pages, I was sad to say goodbye to this lovely group of friends; I know that their stories will stay with me for a long time to come.

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I am a big fan of Bella Osborne's and have read all of her previous books. This book is written in a very different style to her usual books. It is quite dark in some of the themes, and has a touch of Cosy mystery to it as well. I did however really enjoy it. It wasn't at all what I was expecting.
The book was slow to start, but with four different characters, this was understandable. It was easy to recognise the characters voices. It was well written, withlits of twists and turns.
Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for my ARC.

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World famous actress Zara might have preferred to keep her 80th birthday a little quieter – that she’s that old comes as a bit of a surprise to the three friends she lived with in the 70s too, but with varying degrees of enthusiasm they can’t resist the opportunity to attend a glitzy showbiz party and to spend time together once more. For all sorts of reasons, all three are finding life a little difficult at the moment, and when Zara suggests that they try living together again, they decide to give it a try – they can each pay her back by using some of their life skills – but they just hadn’t expected it to be in her sumptuous villa on the Riviera.

Jackie’s the chaotic one – still the wild child, formerly a carer but who’s recently lost her job because of a few unauthorised sidelines, and her nursing experience will be useful as Zara’s health is now failing. Val is the sensible one, has had a successful career as a solicitor, and her professional skills will come in useful to cast an eye over her business affairs. Pauline’s the quiet one – anxious and depressed in the wake of an abusive marriage and harbouring a guilty secret, lonely and lacking in confidence – and she’ll be the perfect choice to help Zara write her autobiography. They soon recover their supportive and very special friendship while living their new life of luxury – but none of them had realised that Zara’s health had declined as much as it had, that she had an ulterior motive in bringing them together again, and a very difficult favour to ask of them all.

The characterisation in this book is just wonderful – the story’s told from the points of view of the three friends, each with a very distinctive voice and their own set of memories and concerns, and it works particularly well in establishing their personalities and getting under their skin. The setting is fantastic, and particularly wonderfully drawn – and Zara moves in the kind of circles the others could never have imagined, with money no object, celebrity friends’ names and anecdotes about them littering her conversation, and with one in particular making a recurring (and hilarious) occasional appearance. And then the whole story takes a bit of a turn – their time together isn’t just fun and cocktails any more – and it turns into an intrigue-filled mystery with question marks over each woman’s involvement and their guilt or innocence.

There’s a perfect balance to this book – at times, it’s extremely funny, sometimes quite gentle, always a little more riotous when Jackie’s in the spotlight. But there are also moments of real sadness and poignancy as their former lives and experiences are exposed, quite beautifully handled with a very sure emotional touch. I grew to really love all of these women, involved in their lives, understanding their foibles and actions, feeling for them when the chips were down – and their special friendship, sometimes tested to its limits, had the most exceptional warmth and authenticity.

And I haven’t even mentioned the mysterious gardener, or Brian the cat, or Toby the foul-mouthed parrot – but they all play their parts in this wonderful story, which really was sheer enjoyment from beginning to end. I really loved this book – and recommend it really highly.

(Review copied to Amazon UK, but link not yet available)

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Another uplifting and entertaining book by Bella Osborne, a gripping and compelling story that i thoroughly enjoyed.
Great characters, interesting plot, and good storytelling.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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I enjoy the current literary trend in fiction toward older women and their lives. The four characters in this story are so different but whatever drew them to live together when they were young intensifies when circumstances conspire to let them live together in their later years.

The story is told from three friends' viewpoints, giving the reader an intimate insight into their past and present lives and motivations. The fourth friend Zara is the catalyst for their reconnection after nearly fifty years, and it's her glamorous lifestyle allows them to be together again.

Friendship is an important theme in this story, exploring other contemporary issues like domestic abuse and mental health through the characters' lives. I loved the story's vibrant characters and the glamorous setting. The cosy mystery vibe that develops is facilitated by the setting and shows how deep the friendship between the women is.

The vivid characterisation and a believable blend of humour and poignancy make this an engaging and uplifting read.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher.

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The Girls
by: Bella Osborne
Head of Zeus, Aria
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Women's Fiction
Pub Date: 4/14/22

Zara, Val, Jackie, and Pauline were the girls of the seventies, close friends who shared a house, the carefree days of youth, and the optimism of their futures. After forty years of going their own ways, Zara brings the women back together with a serious proposal to spend their golden years together. Her reasons aren't initially apparent, but are revealed as the curious plot unfolds.

Osborne created her main characters as uniquely different in personalities and lifestyles, adding to the charm and mystery of the story. The ladies end up with Zara in a surprise setting as they are reunited, with hopes of living their best lives together.

As the friends settle in to start anew, the narrative tapers with twists and turns. As with many stories of female friendships, topics of fashion, romance, social life, and fun are touched upon.
The pasts of each woman have molded them into their present selves. Osborne, however, goes deep into serious issues such as aging, health, and more, before presenting a puzzling mystery.

I love the authentic, quirky, and original women that I got to know in this book. The pasts of each woman have molded the friends into their present selves. As a woman in my sixties, with close ties to my friends from the Seventies, I felt as if this story was just for me. Osborne is an insightful writer who offers distinctive storylines about friendship that readers like myself crave.

Thank you to Net Galley and for the advance reader's copies and opportunity to provide my unbiased review.

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This is a different style of book written by Bella, but nevertheless a great read. Some laugh out loud moments, emotional scenes and sad parts. Highly recommended.

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This is quickly becoming one of those authors where I'll read anything just because they wrote it. I've read a few books by this author now and have loved everyone of them. This is no different.

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This was such a fun book!!

I loved the different personalities between our main characters and reading from their point of view! I loved getting to know each of them and their pasts! I also love the idea of friends moving in together in a form a retirement home!

This book took a turn and I absolutely loved it! I loved how there was a mystery element to it and I couldn't figure out who had done it!

I really like Bella Osborne's writing and I think I might start going through her backlog of books!! I really recommend picking this one up!

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I am enjoying getting to discover this authors books this one was a quirky heartbreaking yet heartwarming abs entertaining read all rolled into one. The author has the ability to make you cry one minute and be laughing the next. This was a fabulous story of friendship and self discovery and also covered several sensitive topics which were covered with feeling and empathy. The reunion of the 4 friends after nearly 50 years apart was mixed in with a murder mystery who done it which through lots of twists and turns and developments into the mix including a few secrets from the past being uncovered.

I am looking forward to reading more of this authors books.

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I love it, a triumph! The girls is a heart warming, funny tale of how to/not to grow old gracefully!

Zara is an aging star who does not like the thought of growing old alone, or going into a nursing home. She hatches a plan to live with her old house mates Pauline, Jackie and Val. The others take varying degrees of persuasion.

This book will having your laughing and crying as the girls are reunited….but how long will it last?

Great characters who will have something for everyone to relate to. A brilliant read.

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#netgalley #headofzeus publication date 14 April 2022
A very relatable and fun book,it had me laughing and crying at the same time, I don't know how she did it but Bella Osborne has made this story funny and sad at the same time I loved it 5/5 stars

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Four completely different women all above 60 end up living together again after nearly 50 years. They've all gotten older and come with baggage, but their characters haven't changed all that much.

I went into this book expecting a light read that would be uplifting and heartwarming, but it ended up being a different kind of story. It's definitely women's fiction, but a mystery also plays a huge role in it.

Although it wasn't what I expected, I really enjoyed it. I didn't love the characters, but I still wanted to know more and see what other turns this story would take.

As always with Bella's books I LOVED the writing style and cannot wait to see what story she comes up with next time.

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I Was alittle worried I would get confused with this book, with the characters having there own chapters. But I can say I really enjoyed this book, it had so many issue which people are experiencing today, I mange to read this in two days. Another great read but Bella Osborne

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The Girls is a story surrounding four ladies who’s friendship blossomed in the 70s when they were flat mates. Flash forward to the present day, and a surprise 80th birthday party brings them back together. In their old age, they decide to recreate their youth and all move in together again to look after each other.

Throughout the story, which is brilliantly told by Bella Osborne, we learn more about each of the four ‘girls’ and discover they each have their own secrets and baggage.

It is a very light-hearted read that I flew through. However, it does touch on some serious and emotional topics.

Overall I really enjoyed this and thought it was a great story!

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Bella Osborne has created a wonderful story with four feisty older ladies in their 60s/70s/80s, who definitely give off some serious ‘Golden Girls’ vibes in this humorous story with a hint of a cosy mystery about it.

In the story, ‘The Girls’ are reunited when three of them receive an invite to a special birthday party for Zara, who is now a famous actress. Not having seen one another since the seventies, they’ve got a lot to catch up on.

When the living situations for Jackie, Val and Pauline all change suddenly, they all reach a decision to move in with Zara. When they find that they will not be living with her in the location they believed that she lived, their adventure really begins.

I loved the way the girls interacted with one another, and I found Jackie a really entertaining character. When Zara presents each of them with a request they may find a little unpleasant, it really adds a tension to their existence in Zara’s home.

When faced with an unexpected situation, they are thrown into a really tricky situation which inevitably leads to the police and the paparazzi, given Zara’s legendary status. I loved the humour in the way they dealt with the police, and what follows, and think this a perfect example of friends coming through for one another when the chips are down.

It’s not all a series of funny moments with a quirky pet parrot, there are some poignant and serious moments, which are handled with tact and gentleness, but overall this is such a wonderfully feel-good read that will have you giggling, and keep you entertained throughout!

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The Girl tells the story of four friends who shared a flat in the seventies and then lost touch.
In present day Zara has a surprise 80th birthday party and the four are reunited. They have all taken different paths in life but none are as famous and wealthy as Zara.
Zara persuades them all to move to live with her in France. Then the fun begins. How will the girls get along after all these years.
A funny and sad story of friendship and loyalty. Just how far are these Girls prepared to go to help each other?
Thank you Head of Zeus and NetGalley for an arc of this book

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Once housemates in the 1970s, and after an absence of fifty years, four old friends get together to celebrate the 80th birthday of Zara, the one who made it as an actress and who is now fabulously wealthy. That the others haven't been quite so successful is obvious from the start as we are introduced to Jackie who is eking out a living as a carer in a care home, Val, the sensible one, who is struggling with loneliness and then there's Pauline, the sad one, who has secrets in her past which constantly overshadow her present. Now in her advancing years Zara is a becoming a little more fragile so when she puts forward the idea of living together to her friends it opens up a dialogue between them which will have great impact on how they go forward as a group.

The story focuses on friendship, loyalty, love and trust and does so in a lively account as this indomitable group eventually find their raison d'être. Although it may look like a frivolous account of five old friends living the high life, after all there is quite a bit of champagne consumed, it also takes a look at the intricacies of growing older. The author brings each of these very different women to life in a considerate and compassionate way and whilst there are some moments of fun, particularly with Toby, the outspoken, parrot, there are also poignant moments which test their friendship to the limit. I don't want to say too much as that would give away the whole premise of the story which would be a great disservice to both book, and author.

The Girls is a lovely entertaining read which captured my imagination from start, to finish.

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Favorite Quotes:

‘And how old is Stefan?’ she asked. ‘Forty-five,’ said Jackie proudly. ‘Recently divorced. As fit as a butcher’s dog with a bone to match.’

Rogues and charlatans are all I seem to attract these days. And nobody wants a decrepit old woman with the memory of a stunned goldfish. I’m better off alone.

Zara was the last person she expected to see on her doorstep. She was standing there dressed to the nines and inspecting her finger as if by pressing the doorbell she may have picked up a communicable disease.

‘Lad? He’s an adult– that makes him fair game,’ said Jackie, her words a little slurred. ‘You’ve got underwear older than him,’ said Pauline, who had been rather quiet. ‘It’s not my fault that Marks and Spencer’s make them to last.’ Jackie jutted out her chin.

Her hair looked like she’d backcombed it with a hedgehog and she still had a full face of make-up although it was now rather patchy and smudged, giving her a certain Dalí-esque quality.

My Review:

I enjoyed this wryly humorous women’s fiction tale. While the characters weren’t always likable, they were well-nuanced and insightfully layered with realistic complications and foibles. The writing style was delightfully detailed with sardonic observations, sparring and snappy banter, and perceptive inner musings and narratives that tickled and taunted my curiosity as well as my funny bone. I had pages of cleverly written highlighted passages and was greatly pained to narrow the list down to the handful in this review.

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Enjoyed meeting the girls.

I did struggle a little with the regular references to suicide after losing family members to suicide but actually this was well done, and not sensational.

Great characters and a good mix of stories. Thanks for the opportunity to read and review.

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The Girls is a very entertaining read featuring an eclectic central cast of characters whom I really enjoyed getting to know. I was swept away into the world of Zara and her friends and I loved reading about their antics and the events that befall them.

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I found this book enjoyable. The. plot was unusual and it was very nice to read something that involved older people. The story involved four women in their sixties and upward who had lived together for a time in the seventies. They had not really kept in contact and their lives had taken very different paths. The eldest of them, Zara, had become a famous movie star. Another, Val, had become a solicitor, the other two, Pauline and Jackie had not fared as well. They were all invited to Zara's 80th birthday party, where they picked up their old acquaintance. They find they are all single and at crossroads in their lives. Zara's health is not good but she is very wealthy and she invites the other women to live with her. Things are not quite what they seem and the 'girls' have many surprises along the way. Thank you to Head of Zeus and Netgalley for an ARC of this novel.

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