The Women Who Wouldn't Leave

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Pub Date Aug 03 2023 | Archive Date Aug 11 2023

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A gripping and uplifting new novel by the author of BA Book of the Month and LoveReading Debut of the Month Patience.

Connie Darke is trying to run away from the traumas in her past, and it's led her home, to the small rural council estate she left almost 20 years earlier.

Matilda Reynolds has spent most of her long life in the Worcestershire village of Stonecastle, and she’s content there, with her animals and her solitude. Until a fall lands her in hospital, and Matilda has to turn to her strange young neighbour Connie for help looking after her home.

Out of their tentative arrangement, each woman gains a new sense of community. But before long, that community comes under threat when the council decides to sell the estate, to make way for expensive developments.

Connie and Matilda are determined to fight for their home, whatever it takes...

Praise for Grace:

'Beautiful... Heart-wrenching. A wonderful gem of a book.' Eve Ainsworth, author of Duckling

'Warm and real and heart-breaking all at the same time. I loved it.' Clare Swatman

A gripping and uplifting new novel by the author of BA Book of the Month and LoveReading Debut of the Month Patience.

Connie Darke is trying to run away from the traumas in her past, and it's led...

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ISBN 9781804544716
PRICE £3.99 (GBP)

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Average rating from 93 members

Featured Reviews

A lovely story about feisty women, regardless their age, background, or history. People have their faults, yet there is kindness to be found in this small community.

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This was such a lovely book! Very emotional at many times. The friendship that blossomed between Connie and Matilda, two women of completely different ages, generations and backgrounds but who had a lot in common once they let each other in. Both women hiding from the world because of their own traumas, but bringing each other back into it. It was very moving. The community aspect of the book was also heartwarming. It shows that we can have perceptions of those around us but have no real clue about who they are or what they've been through. And that if you take a chance to get to know those people, they can enrich your life. So beautifully written and a book I will remember for a long time.

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Firstly I would like to thank aria and Aries and the author Victoria Scott for access to the women who wouldn’t leave.

The review I am going to make is an honest review regardless of the access I received for this book. It should be noted I was not paid for this review and ensure honesty in all my reviews.

Connie has run away from past issues and finds herself back home 20 years later. Matilda turns to her strange neighbour Connie for help. The council is trying to sell their estate and they have to work together.

This book is beautifully written and explorers an unlikely friendship. The messages I learnt from this book I will take forward with me to not judge a book by its cover.

I would recommend this book to friends and read other books published by this author.

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Another wonderful book, with a great, feel good and uplifting. It is full of heart and also heartwrenching. A lovely well written book about Connie annd Matilda. Connie has had a troubled life and is is trying to get away from all the things that have caused her traumas. Which leads her to returning to the small council estate that she used to live on when she was young. It is here that Connie meets Matilda. Matilda has a fall one day and all of a sudden she can't get out and about and can't do the things that she used to do. So she has to ask Connie for some help. The pair form an unlikely friendship which is very heartwarming and they both show each other the ways of the world and introduce each other to different experiences then they would have had normally. However just as they are getting settled into their new roles and new lives the council tell them that they are going to be selling the estate that they live on. But Connie and Matilda are ready to fight for the things that they love and the home that makes them feel safe.

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Connie and Matilda are unlikely friends, however, much like family, neighbours are something you can't always choose, however, when the chips are down, it is Connie who comes to Mathilda's aid and from there a friendship is born. This is a lovely book about two feisty and at times funny women, who stole my heart and had me rooting for them from the very beginning.

A heartwarming, uplifting read that would be perfect for book clubs or just curling up quietly with in the garden on a sunny afternoon. Utterly, utterly fabulous!!!

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Some battles are fought on major battlefields and some are fought in the pricacy of single hearts and minds.
Connie and Matilda, in The Women who Wouldn't Leave, are each fighting demons of their own making, Connie, depression, alcohol dependency and guilt and trauma from her past life, and Mathilda, deep sorrow,guilt and mistrust of others.
The story of these two, vulnerable and broken, women battling to save their council homes from being taken from them and sold for profit while they are displaced and rehoused, could seem depressing on first impression and
And there is an irony in that first impression, for all of Connie and Mathilda's first impressions of the people around them are turned on their heads as they reach out to join forces with their neighbours.
Victoria Scott creates warm and relatable characters, each with their own back story, and, just as we, the readers, have our own stories which have made us who we are, these characters are who they are, because of what they have lived through.
It is a story of how we can all support one another, and how much kindness and goodness there is in the world if we just open ourselves up to it.
I was rooting for Connie and Mathilda all the way through the book, although you would be very wrong to cast them as saints. Each of them is prickly, difficult and, occasionally stubbornly hard to help!
Perhaps the completely happy ending is a bit too sweet, but for a feel good read, The Women Who Wouldn't Leave ticks all the right boxes and gives us some strong, engaging women characters into the bargain.
Thank you NetGalley and Head of Zeus for and advance e copy of this title

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Connie (Constance) lives with her mother, Ellen, in a small town in England. They call their neighborhood a close and in my head I think of it as a cul-de-sac. They don't know their neighbors and they don't want to.

Connie leaves her mother and goes to live with her father in London, she's looking for more in life. Little did she know she'd find her own version of hell, in many different ways. She finally returns to her mom's house full of fears and unable to function, relying on alcohol and "Gilmore Girls" to dull her pain.

Their next door neighbor, Matilda, is very old, cantankerous and has a bunch of animals in her backyard "garden." When her goats are bleating for days Connie is sick of it and goes to find out why. Matilda has fallen in her house and hasn't fed her animals in days and is in need of an ambulance.

This all sets of an amazing story of resilience, friendship, forgiveness, trust and love. People aren't always what you think they are and are capable of so much more than you can imagine.

This book was lovely and really gave me a reason to smile. I would definitely recommend this book!!!

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Connie and Matilda are unlikely friends, however, much like family, neighbours are something you can't always choose, however, when the chips are down, it is Connie who comes to Mathilda's aid and from there a friendship is born. This is a lovely book about two feisty and at times funny women, who stole my heart and had me rooting for them from the very beginning.

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Thank you, NetGalley, for providing me with this uncorrected proof for review.

Once again Victoria Scott deftly combines sympathetic and appealing characters, some heart-warming conclusions, and social commentary. Such a combination provides an enjoyable read, while raising questions that are worth pondering. The Women Who Wouldn’t Leave is a book that, while raising such questions, does not lose sight of the need to develop characters who are attractive at the same time as identifying their failures, and story lines that are absorbing.

The ‘women who wouldn’t leave’ are tenants on a council estate. Their homes become the focus of a fight between residents and the local council. A decision is to be made on whether the land should be sold to a real estate company which will demolish the council houses and substitute expensive housing. The women and their neighbours determine to bring the council to account, by ensuring that their arguments against the changes become part of the debate. At the same time as this political venture takes place, the personal changes that need to be made to ensure success, are pursued. At the heart of both processes, the political endeavour and the personal, are Constance and Matilda. Both women have suffered, made egregious mistakes, and as a consequence are wounded. Their damaged lives impact on the people around them.

The at times gentle, and at others harsh, unfolding of Connie and Matilda’s stories is poignant, humorous and edifying. At the same time, the women are shown to be flawed, difficult for others to understand, and as movingly depicted by Scott, with significant failings. Scott is adept at combining the egregious nature of Connie’s descriptions of her neighbours with elements of humour. When Connie recognises that she has misunderstood much of her neighbours’ behaviour her humility is well drawn.

The Women Who Wouldn’t Leave makes a valuable contribution to debate around council tenants’ needs and rights and the impact community political action can have on decision making. It also treats personal trauma, its long-term impact, and the nature of some manifestations of that impact. At the same time, the novel meets many readers’ need to find happy resolutions that are plausible and satisfying. At times I am one such reader. Victoria Scott’s work meets the desire for books that combine absorbing social commentary advanced by engaging characters whose lives are enhanced by the novel’s end.

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Book 31 of 2023

Thank you to @victoriascottauthor, the publishers and @netgalley for the advanced copy of 'The Women Who Wouldn't Leave' due for publication later this year in August. After having read Victoria's previous two books (reviews also on my page) I knew that this would be a book I'd really enjoy as Victoria writes with warmth about characters we become totally invested in.

Connie, utterly broken from her life in London, moves home to be with her mother Ellen. Her experiences have made her not only deeply depressed and reclusive but dependent on alcohol. Connie walks before sunrise and goes back to her bedroom with vodka and re-runs of 'The Gilmore Girls'. Her neighbour, OAP Matilda is similarly reclusive and apart from her animals, prefers her own company. That's until she has a fall which brings in the attention of the local council who then realise there is some benefit to selling the whole of Roseacre Close. Their council housing would be demolished to make way for more expensive private housing.

Connie and Matilda are similarly tortured by their previous experiences and realising that they need to join together to fight the council's decision, they form an unlikely but beautiful friendship. Their respective stories are ones which are tragic and with Victoria's usual narrative style, we are given a book that is life-affirming, heart-warming and satisfying. Just lovely.

#bookstagram #bibliophile #bookworm #book #booknerd #bookstagrammer #kindle #instabook #reader #bookobsessed #victoriascottauthor #thewomenwhowouldntleave

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I love a relatable, funny story of friendship and The Women Who Wouldn’t Leave had all these in spades. The characters are beautifully developed, and there is an excellent mix of humour alongside more serious parts of the plot. If you enjoy a heartwarming and uplifting story, you'll love this.

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Thoroughly enjoyed this book, a beautiful tale of how a little community of neighbours come together to help out Matilda one of the residents and then in turn have to campaign to save their collection of homes.

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A beautiful, emotional uplifting read: Connie has returned home from London after leaving her job which she couldn't cope with. Home with Mum where no-one notices her is where she wants to be. Next door is an old lady, Matilda, who has also kept herself to herself until the day she couldn't. Connie noticed that one of Matilda's goats had got out and the animals were making rather more noise than usual- was something wrong? Whilst Matilda is in hospital Connie strangely finds herself drawn to the animals, doing things she thought she could never do, and that it's helping her mental health and confidence being around them and in the garden. What transpires is a friendship and pathway of care and help for more than the intended recipient which is more than needed when the council has plans for the estate and Matilda although feisty is not as physically strong as she once was.

I was drawn to this straight away. There are times when we all want to shut out the world and often it's difficult to ask for or even find help. Animals don’t judge, will listen for hours and always give the right feedback. We can find help in the most unlikely places and that first hand (or paw) of friendship can mean the world. There are some wise words in this perhaps for us all. A story of finding yourself whatever your age and being true to who you really are. A truly wonderful uplifting read with a message of hope.

For more reviews please follow me on Twitter@nickisbookblog

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An utterly delightful heartwarming book. A lovely story about a group of council tenants in a small Worcestershire village trying to save their homes from being demolished by ruthless developers. Charming quirky characters so well drawn all with secrets and various issues which eventually come out. So true the main storyline with developers buying up land in small villages. This main plot stuck a personal note as I live just outside rural Worcestershire in an equally blighted area where locals can't afford to live with new builds being bought up as second homes and pushing up the prices. Plenty of sub plots bubbling beneath the surface but so sensitively dealt with that they intertwined perfectly with the story. Totally charming, with an unexpected but perfect ending.

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Another beautiful story from author Victoria Scott.
Connie has run away from her life in London, back to her mother's house in a small village, away from prying eyes.
She grew up on the estate before leaving for the bright lights in the capital to live with her father.
She doesn't know much about the people there, though she knows of them, and neither does she have any interest in getting to know them better.
Matilda has lived in her house on the estate since it was built. She has been there for decades, yet she still doesn't know her neighbours and isn't interested in getting to know them. She has her house, her memories and her animals.
Both women have secrets that they'd rather keep to themselves. However, an accident somehow builds a bridge of communication that becomes stronger as time goes on, especially when there is a fear of both women losing their safe spaces.
I loved this beautiful story of friendship and resilience.
Both these characters have a tragedy-filled story behind them, which is heartrending to read, and though they are polar opposites, I loved how they connected and the development of their relationship, despite being from such different generations.
The whole community on the estate is an interesting bunch, and the animals, though noisy, were what ultimately brought them together.
A fantastic read.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Aria & Aries for an ARC.

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Loved this book! Connie has come home to live with her mum after a traumatic incident that changed her life. She had nowhere else to go and she’s grateful that the mum who she ran away from as a teenager has welcomed her back to her childhood home. Connie is buttered emotionally and what’s nothing to do with the residents of the council owned road. Her next door neighbour Matilda is an odd lady; she was a scary witch when Connie was younger and she seems to have more animals than the local farm roaming around. When Matilda is taken ill: Connie takes on the role of carer to the animals; and slowly the whole road becomes of importance to Connie as they all rally around. But then the.Council delivers some devastating news to the community, and Connie finds herself thrust into the spotlight saving her friends. I absolutely loved this book.

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I received an ARC of this novel from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

A young woman recuperating from a toxic relationship returns to her mother's small village. When the next door neighbor needs help, Connie reluctantly agrees to tend to the woman's animals. The full extent of the woman's need is made clear, and the small community of people come together to help.

The novel is a sweet story of family, community, and grace.

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What a lovely lovely book. An amazing cast of characters and such a lovely story. I’d highly recommend giving this a go!

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I was eager to start Victoria Scott’s latest novel and when I started I couldn’t stop. Connie was someone who I felt for and Matilda was someone i found interesting too. Victoria Scott has an absolute gift for depicting difficult realities. I identified with Matilda’s being vulnerable- as I am, too but because of physical disabilities instead of old age. Connie is vulnerable in her own way,

With their alternating chapters, I felt I was deeply immersed in their backstories, Both women are people to root for. The town is realistic and I identified with the social housing projects because I also have experience of those lists. The sensitivity with which Victoria deals with the very hard realities of each character is both heart wrenching and heartwarming.

Now having reviewed Patience, Grace and now The Woman Who Wouldn’t Leave, I can honestly say that Victoria Scott is one of my favorite authors.

The Woman Who Wouldn’t Leave is a novel that will not leave me, and it’s one of the best books of my year so far.

Thanks to Victoria Scott and Aria and Aries for my eARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

5 stars but it deserves more.

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Constance (Connie) is now at home in Stonecastle in beautiful, rural Worcestershire, trying to escape past trauma, whilst elderly Matilda has spent most of her life there, she is solitary and content with her menagerie of animals, until disaster strikes in the form of a nasty accident. This unlikely pair need each other to help them to refind their way in life. When the local council make a terrible decision, these two, ably assisted by others, become the women who wouldn’t leave. The story is told in alternating chapters by Connie and Matilda.

This is a lovely story with the beauty of the area matching a beautiful unlikely but totally wonderful emerging and burgeoning friendship. Both women have a lot of baggage, they are flawed and very vulnerable. Although they have different responses to the trauma they have experienced their growing bond comes from a place of understanding. Learning how/why/what has happened to each of them is an emotional journey.

The characterisation is excellent., You grow to love both of them, rooting for their recovery and standing shoulder to shoulder in their fight against the local council. Matilda’s eccentric, neglected garden and multitude of animals is just what Connie needs, it’s balm for a troubled soul, and though reluctant to see it, Matilda needs Connie. I love Matilda‘s obstinacy, especially with superior, supercilious council worker, Caroline Goodman. See her off Matilda! Most of the characters are very likeable, Ellen, Connie‘s mum is just fabulous, what a mother she is. I mustn’t forget Matilda‘s goats either, one is most definitely a character in her own right and is often the source of the humour.

This novel has a bit of everything, at times, it’s funny with some vivid scenes that make you smile, usually accompanied by great dialogue. It’s good on the impact of trauma, at times it’s therefore sad and poignant and some situations make you angry or shocked on characters behalf. It makes you think in lots of ways and drives home good points about issues such as affordable housing in beautiful rural areas. There is a real sense of community here, with everyone rallying round as best they can. That is a real feel good element.

Overall, it’s insightful, heartwarming, engaging and ultimately uplifting.

With thanks to NetGalley and especially to Aria and Aries for the much appreciated arc in return for an honest review.

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This book is not my usual read at all, but I must say I was pretty impressed with the author's storytelling! It centers around Connie, a woman struggling with mental health and trauma and clearly running from something. She encounters her neighbor, Matilda, a 90 year old woman who is labeled as the town's "witch," hiding her own struggles from the world. Health problems and real life problems bring together this unlikely pair, who, with the help of their community, conquer them all in beautiful and tragic ways. Despite not being romantic at all, this story of community love and triumph really warmed my heart! Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me to read this book prior to its release in return for an unbiased and honest review!

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lovely book, with lovely characters. wholesome but empowering!! the cast of characters and their stories were amazing, it was a breeze to get through.

i did enjoy the subtle romance and strong friendships in the plot! especially between Connie and matilda!

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for this ARC!

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I loved both Patience and Grace by this author so I was really excited to get this one from NetGalley. I am so glad I was approved because this book was just wonderful. Told from Matilda and Connie's points of view via alternating chapters both women are hiding from life and their issues, they have deep seeded secrets and keep themselves to themselves. Connie learns to care and think of others she really grows as a person understanding her illness and how lucky she is and how good she really has it. Matilda learns to trust, share and let people into her life, finally. Didn't like either of these characters much at first but they both really grew on me and I learned to love them.

Victoria Scott loves to use vulnerable characters in her stories and this one is no different, what I most liked is that they eventually found the strength within themselves to change and they realized that can't do it alone. The author has a way of making her characters' lives feel very real, and as I learned about them I realized these are women I'd like to be friends with. I connected to these wonderful characters, flaws and all. Connie and Matilda may differ in age and personality but they are really much more alike than either realizes. I loved how Matilda's animals and nature were used as a balm for Connie's mental health issues and now I want to go and pet goats!

The dialogue is simple, very authentic and true to life. I felt so many emotions while reading, it was so sad at times, I felt angry at certain parts and I was laughing a lot. The funniest scene is when Connie tries to use her mother's printer, I was literally laughing out loud because I went through this very recently with my son and my old 2007 HP printer. Ultimately this is a story about friendship, standing up for one's self and for what's right, belonging to a community and overcoming a traumatizing ordeal. This was such a poignant story, very heartwarming and told with compassion. And it's true what they say, you never really know a person or what they're dealing with so always be kind.

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Connie Darke has fled London after her life there imploded. She’s returned to her mother Ellen’s council house in Stonecastle in rural Warickshire, where she spent her childhood before going to live with her wealthy father in London at the age of 12. Frail and damaged from all that has happened to her, she just wants to hide away and lick her wounds. But the world won’t let her do that, and when her curmudgeonly elderly neighbour Matilda Reynolds falls and ends up in hospital, she finds herself enjoying taking care of Matilda’s menagerie of animals and appreciating the healing peace and quiet of the countryside. And when the council decides to sell the estate to a developer and relocate the tenants to flats in the centre of town, Connie and Matilda band together to lead all the neighbours in a protest campaign to save their homes and way of life.

This is a lovely heart-warming and moving novel about two damaged women hiding from the world. They have both suffered trauma and have secrets they hold on to tightly. Their fight against the council brings them both out of isolation, allowing them to get to really know their neighbours and their problems for the first time. It’s lovely to watch the effect the countryside and Matilda’s animals, particularly Clarrie the goat, have on re-awakening Connie’s spirit and eventually her awareness and empathy for others. There is a lot of humour in the novel, as well as a sweetly awkward love story. Peopled with a bunch of wonderful, relatable characters and addressing issues such as affordable social housing, communities, aging, trauma and depression it makes for a very engaging and enjoyable read.

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Loved this read. It follows an elderly woman hiding herself away from the world and a younger woman hiding from her past. It develops into a lovely story of real connection, friendships and life’s highs and lows.

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Thank you for the opportunity to read this book. I’ve read and enjoyed the first two books by Victoria and I’m pleased to say I enjoyed this one too.

Great characters, thought provoking topics, community spirit and secrets.

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Uplifting story of two women in an English village

Connie has moved back in with her mother who lives in a small village in Gloucestershire. She is intent on avoiding the neighbours, although she has seen enough of them to give them all nicknames, and so enjoys early morning walks across the countryside and the odd swig of vodka.

Matilda lives next door to Connie’s mother, preferring her own company and that of her beloved animals, to venturing out into the community.

Through a series of events these two, and others in the village, come together to fight for a common cause.
This is a charming story delving into the lives of two people (and others) whose backgrounds and life stories are quite different to what others might imagine. This is about a village coming together for good, and in so doing the reader meets two people who might at first seem very different, but underneath the exterior they choose to portray, they have many similarities.

Wonderful characters, great story and a feel-good read – though with ups and downs getting there. Just perfect when you want to escape into a good book, and meet interesting, true to life characters.

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This is a lovely book, real life characters, felt like an authentic situation, although it started of slow I really got into the story. A book about friendship and it's true, you really don't know what other people are struggling with. A great heartwarming read.

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A story of friendship , obstacles and getting past hard times. When a home is wanted by a developer, two women engage that forms a bond. I love the two story aspects of the women. A heartwarming read.

Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.

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You can’t see me but I’m on my feet giving Victoria Scott a standing ovation. I didn’t think I’d love another book by her as much as I loved Grace but my word this novel is beautiful!
All of my favourite things are in here, love of the English countryside, intergenerational friendships, wit, compassion and a ‘will they, won’t they?’ cliffhanger storyline.
Scott’s ability to draw characters of all ages, of all social strata and both genders is incomparable. Matilda and Constance are so different yet so similar and both completely real to the point where I could actual smell Matilda at one point!
As in Grace there are some lovely male characters but it is Scott’s women that always come to the fore and both our two protagonists along with Ellen l; Con’s devoted mother are powerful women not to be messed with. I loved how each resident of the street began to blossom some just slightly and some like the main three, quite unrecognisably from the start of the novel.
Again there is a thread of Christianity running through the book as we hear Matilda praying and musing to herself about what her faith has done to mould her and form her opinions. Just as she did in Grace the author offers this up as simply a fact of life with no opinion offered and no agenda at play. Quietly normalising the fact that many people in Britain do hold strong faith and that it doesn’t mean they aren’t tolerant and accepting of others.
I also loved Constance’s nicknames for the other residents of the street and the backstory she invented for each of them. I also liked how Jamie then neatly demolished these fantasies in his own inimitable fashion as he introduced her to the wider community that she was seeking to hide from.
I loved this novel, loved it!! I do hope the author already has another novel in the pipeline!

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The Women Who Wouldn't Leave is a crisp breath of fresh air this smoggy world of ours. It is about neighbours, friendships, perseverance, secrets, trust and hope. Author Victoria Scott's beautifully descriptive writing captured my heart immediately. I was right there with main characters Matilda and Connie as well as the animals (and other neighbours) and felt a range of emotions in the heartwarming, uplifting and poignant story.

Connie had a traumatic experience and returned home to a rural council estate to regroup and escape life. What better place than in a small and rustic community? Her elderly neighbour Matilda is not exactly congenial but as neighbours they need occasional contact. When Matilda finds herself in the hospital with no one to care for her beloved animals, Connie very reluctantly agrees to help out. Animals are not Connie's wheelhouse but she needs to have a purpose. She quickly discovers much more about herself and her capabilities than she would have dreamed. Matilda must learn to let go of what binds her and it is not easy. What a pleasure to watch them both grow individually and together as they navigate challenges which crop up.

If you crave a feel-good book to satiate you, add this to your list. Well worth enjoying.

My sincere thank you to Aria & Aries and NetGalley for providing me with an early digital copy of this fabulous novel.

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A very engaging story about a diverse group of people - centring around eccentric elderly Matilda, living alone with her animals, and twenty-something Connie, back living with her mother Ellen - fighting to save their council homes from being sold off to a developer.

Both Matilda and Connie have their issues, and plenty of them - this looks like a light read but has some dark themes of coercive control, sexual assault and mental ill-health. Both women have withdrawn from society for their own reasons, but find themselves - initially reluctantly - being pulled back into the community.

There's a nice cast of characters, drawn from the local residents (and animals), and a dash of romance.

Thanks for the opportunity to read an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.

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A lovely story of feisty women one who has moved back to the village where her mum lives and the neighbour a old woman who lives alone with her animals.
When the local council threaten to move the villagers they get together with the other neighbours to form a protest against the move. I really felt part of the village and the emotions and found myself willing the group on in their fight.
Would highly recommend as a modern day story which you cannot put down.
Thanks to NetGalley & General Fiction (Adult) | Women's Fiction for a ARC for a honest review.

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A heart warming story about two women- Connie and Matilda- who come to each other's rescue and change their lives in ways they never expected, Connie's had a lot of trauma and she's pretty closed off but she steps up when her neighbor Matilda needs help after a fall. And then it looks like their home will be sold. Canny readers know what's going to happen- or do they? While this odd couple pairing is becoming a trope, Scott has created distinct and engaging characters that kept me turning the pages. Thanks to netgalley for the ARC, A good read,

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4.25/5 stars

I really enjoyed this book.

After moving back home with her mother following personal issues, a young woman begins a relationship with her reclusive elderly neighbor that she never knew growing up. They are drawn together through immediate needs (both personal and for their community).

This book was heartwarming but also heartbreaking in all the best ways. As two women from different generations dealing with different issues in their lives (hoarding, failing health, depression, etc.), these two are a pleasure to watch as they navigate their lives and share themselves (both with each other and the community at large). As the neighborhood becomes closer through a shared struggle, they realize that each have their own problems, their own challenges in life and draw instinctively together as a result. A feel-good, deeply felt, cheer-worthy kind of book. I loved it and highly recommend it.

My sincere thanks to the author, NetGalley and Head of Zeus for providing the free early arc of The Women Who Wouldn’t Leave for review. The opinions are strictly my own.

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Although I initially found this a bit slow to start and I was puzzled by Connie, I soon fell in love with the residents of Stonecastle and was rooting for them all.

With a cast of very real, flawed and damaged people, I desperately wanted a happy ending.

Covering some very heavy topics this could be a difficult read for some people and should come with a content warning for depression, substance abuse, suicide, sexual assault and domestic violence. However, it’s a story about the bonds of community, friendship and family, new beginnings and forgiveness and is actually uplifting.

I would definitely read more by this author.

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This book is a cozy and warm read for me. It's a slow burn in a better way because it made me savor the story, place, and people.

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Connie has returned home, to the council estate she left almost 20 years earlier. Matilda has spent most of her life there happy with her animals for company . When a fall lands her in hospital, Matilda has to turn to Connie for help looking after her animals.

Their community then comes under threat when the council decides to sell the estate, but Connie and Matilda are determined to fight for their home, whatever it takes...

A bit of a slow burner to start, but a truly heartwarming read about an unlikely friendship and a communities fight to save their homes. I loved both Matilda and Connie, you’ll find it hard not to be cheering them on from the sidelines.

Thanks to NetGalley Aria & Aries for an advance copy of this uplifting read.

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A lovely read that keeps you engaged .
For me the book started a little slowly, especially regarding Connie but it soon grew into a heartwarming tale of two women who overcome their personal barriers and become friends. Along the way we meet their friends and neighbours and get a feel for the community they live in and are fighting to remain.
One of the strengths of the author's is her character descriptions and you leave the book feeling like you know these people well.

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This book was a slow burn for me however, I throughly enjoyed reading it and would recommend it to others.

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

After nearly twenty years, Connie is back in the council estate she left behind.

But, Matilda has always lived there, with her animals to keep her company. She has an accident and has to go to hospital, following which she asks Connie to help look after the animals.

They find out that the council are selling the estate and they will have to vacate their homes. They both decide to do whatever it takes to save their little community.

A story about friendship and how communities come together in times of need. Both characters were relatable.

I recommend this book.

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The Women Who Wouldn’t Leave’

This third novel by Victoria scott is a gem of a story. Full of Insight, humanity and joy with just enough grit in the narrative to keep it real and keep you guessing.

‘The Women Who Wouldn’t Leave’ is beautifully written in a deceptively simple style which carries the reader along on an emotional and ultimately uplifting, journey. This book is about the redemptive power of friendship, community and of course, goats!

Victoria Scott paints empathetic portraits of two very different women, who form the most unlikely friendship in difficult circumstances. The characters are lovingly drawn with humour and understanding.

This wonderful story shows it is possible to come through tough times and personal tragedy stronger, wiser and more alive than you would possibly believe.

A real pleasure to read such an inspiring novel-my favourite of the authors work so far.

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A lovely and poignant story, emotionally charged and uplifting. A story about resiliance, strength and how strong women from different backgrounds can join forces and overcome difficulties.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher for this ARC, all opinions are mine

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When her life implodes, Connie returns to the sanctuary of her childhood home – a small close of council houses in rural Worcestershire – where she avoids contact with others by taking solitary early morning walks, observing (and making assumptions about) the lives of her neighbours by watching them through the window, vodka bottle in hand. Next-door neighbour Matilda – now in her 80s – has lived in the close for most of her life, caring for her beloved animals, keeping herself to herself, now confined to her front room, surrounded by her hoarded memories.

After an accident, Connie reluctantly takes on the care of her animals while Matilda is in hospital, and finds particular solace in their company (particularly one rather special goat) – and when it becomes clear that ongoing help is needed, the pair develop an initially tentative but growing supportive friendship. But life intervenes – the council and developers see an opportunity to develop the close, moving out its residents. And with Connie and Matilda leading the effort, the community pulls together to fight their decision.

The characterisation in this book is quite superb. The story is told in alternating chapters, in third person, through the eyes of Connie and Matilda, and the heartbreaking stories of both their lives slowly emerge – the trauma in their pasts, the heavy baggage they carry. Both are flawed and desperately vulnerable, but initially not particularly likeable – but as their friendship grows, so does our understanding of their respective journeys, and they both soon found a place in my heart. But I also loved the rich cast of supporting characters, the other individuals who live on the close, defying the assumptions Connie made about their lives, each with their own emotional story. And I must mention Connie’s mother – a carer in every sense of the word, and a calm and reliable presence amid the turmoil that ensues.

The whole story is immensely engaging – and beautifully written, particularly the dialogue and the emotional content. The impact of trauma is just perfectly handled, and the strength the two women at the heart of the story find in each other is tremendously uplifting, but not without a few tears along the way. There are developments in the story that made me particularly angry, but there’s always a balance of gentle humour too – plenty of moments to make you smile, the warmth of the community just wonderfully captured. It’s difficult to achieve, but it was a story I really felt part of – I could feel the hurt, share the hopelessness, experience the joy, share the tears and laughter.

This was a book I really loved – my first experience of the author’s writing, and it certainly won’t be my last. Totally unforgettable, and without question one of my books of the year – emotional, engaging, uplifting, one of those rare and perfect reads – and very highly recommended.

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I read and loved Patience which is written by this author so when the chance came up to read her latest release The Women Who Wouldn't Leave I immediately jumped at it and I am so happy that I did! In this one we meet Matilda who is a elderly lady living on her own in not so great conditions and when she has a fall her neighbour Connie steps up and helps her out particularly with her animals which end up helping Connie. The two different women form a unlikely friendship and unite to save there community. I became so lost and immersed while reading this book that I forgot about the outside world and felt like I was living the beautiful story of Matilda and Connie. Each chapter is told from alternate pov of Connie and Matilda and as we continue to read we learn more about the demons that they faced. Connie has mental health issues and I loved that the animals helped her with them as I believe animals are great healers. Matilda is isolated and alone but doesn't easily accept help and will do anything to keep her independence. I laughed at a few funny antics and sayings in the book and I cried but most of all I felt the power of community and the never dying human spirit. I really really really enjoyed reading this book and would positively recommend.Oh and I forgot to mention Clarrie the goat who I want for myself she is a loving little cracker and I'm sure everyone will fall for her!

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A heartwarming novel of the power of friendship, community and resilience.
Follows a group of council tenants led by Connie & Matilda, in a small Worcestershire village fighting for their homes from being demolished.
Loved how they found their voice and felt empowered to fight for their homes.
Beautiful quirky characters who all have their secrets and loved how the animals got mentions too especially Clarrie the Goat
A brilliant holiday read and would make a perfect Book Club read.
Thanks @toryscott @ariafiction & @netgalley for the eARC

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A truly stunning book from Victoria; her books get better and better. It is beautifully written with lovely descriptions.

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A fantastic heart warming read.
Matilda and Connie live next door to each other on a council estate, Connie had returned to her mother Grace after she suffered a trauma in her life. Matilda who is decades older than Connie had a fall and ended up in hospital, social services visited her home and asked Connie if she would watch over her animals till she returned home.
Connie starts to bond with the animals and a friendship with Matilda starts to develop between them, then the council decide they want to develop the land and want to evict everyone in the small road, so Connie decides to get all the road to try and stop the eviction with more friendships forming and preconceived ideas of the neighbour's that she was only on "Hello" terms are blown out of the window when their true lives are revealed which shocks Connie.

Loved all the characters, a great story about friendship and getting over trauma all of what you could relate to.
Definitively worth a read.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the ARC
Posted on Goodreads

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okay, this book was so adorable!! i know a lot of people did not like this one, but i really really did! it was so fun and sweet and precious! thank you so much to netgalley for letting me read this one early!!!

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The Women Who Wouldn’t Leave - Victoria Scott.

Neighbours, Matilda and Connie, both lead a quiet life. Until a fall leaves Matilda in need of Connie’s help.
The two women form an unlikely but special friendship.
When the prospect of losing their homes looms large, Connie and Matilda lead the charge to save their little community.

#TheWomenWhoWouldn’tLeave is a gorgeous piece of writing.
Victoria Scott creates some wonderful characters.
Connie and Matilda are so different in many ways, but these two feisty women find their common ground, and a beautiful friendship blossoms.
Both women have been through their hard times in life and I felt for them both.
The other residents of the close are a varied bunch, but maybe not the people that Connie assumed them to be.

#TheWomenWhoWouldn’tLeave is a story about strong women, the power of friendships and the strength of community. Not forgetting Matilda’s loveable motley crew of pets.
It’s an emotional story, that made my eyes leak at times, but it also filled my heart with joy and hope.

A feel good read, touching, poignant and utterly heartwarming.

With thanks to Netgalley, Rachel’s Random Resources and Aria & Aries for a digital arc of this title.

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his is a novel which sweeps you along and you find yourself caring about the characters and what is going to happen to them. At first, you see different generations who are living around the cul de sac through Connie's eyes. It takes some time to work out what is the matter with Connie and why she is keeping herself hidden away. She has tried to make herself invisible and unnoticed. In truth, she is noticed. As Connie comes to realise, her impression of her neighbours was not accurate. They have their own challenges.

Matilda, Connie's elderly next door neighbour has also tried to live her life away from people. They have quite a lot in common. Her accident is the catalyst for Connie beginning to look outwards. The mystery of why Matilda is living as she does runs throughout the story. There are some emotional moments and a slow burn romance. I enjoyed this novel a great deal and found myself hoping that Victoria Scott revisits Stonecastle.

In short: an uplifting tale despite some dark issues

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I started the story very much disliking both main characters: Matilda was way too abrasive and Connie was too scare of everything... But I must say, Scott knows what she's doing: slowly showing the hows and whys of their personalities, their stories and traumas and how they are more similar than we can simply see. If there's something you can take away from this book is a sense of community, friendship in the most unlikely places and that no one can determine who or how strong you are but yourself. I loved the mental health discussion (including a hoarding disorder, depression, addiction and dealing with toxic relationship and rape, please check the trigger warnings) and how love can be present in so many different ways. This was an amazing read, definitely recommend it!

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I love reading about women finding their voices and becoming empowered and this novel had that in spades. From the start, I connected with the main characters who were both headstrong, set in their ways, feisty in the presence of others and tied to their homes in the council estate. The age difference didn’t matter as they discovered they had more in common than they thought. Despite her age, Matilda ran a small holding from her worse for wear home and these animals ranging from chickens to goats provided a central thread to both her and Connie’s life. The use of nature to bond the women together worked well and highlighted how it can lift the shroud of depression slightly and keep it at bay. Both storylines were heart-wrenching at times, but told compassionately.

Connie’s and Matilda’s backstories were original and a surprise, which is hard to do when there are so many books out there. It was a delight watching the friendship grow and them find the strength to fight for their homes.

With strong characterisation and sense of place, I galloped through this book and was left feeling uplifted, emotional and bereft at leaving Matilda behind. It showed how kindness can change lives and provide much needed friendship.

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