It’s impossible not to empathise with Peggy Smart. At almost 80 years of age, she knows that women her age become invisible, turning ‘completely neutral, blending in so perfectly to the tasteful decor of the retirement village that she had all but disappeared.’
She is still grieving the loss of her husband Ted, and is terrified that her adult children are going to see her occasional lapses of memory as an excuse to pack her off to a nursing home. Her life is dictated by her medication and her problem bladder that has hindered her all her life. She pines for the highly eligible Brian Cornell, yearning for ‘a deeper connection with another human’.
When a new resident moves in to the Village, Peggy cannot believe her eyes – it’s an old school friend, Angie Valentine, who she hasn’t seen for fifty years. Angie is still as glamorous as she was then; the life of the party. And she sees it as her mission to show Peggy how to age disgracefully.
You will find yourself quietly cheering for Peggy as her confidence begins to grow, and she starts to embrace life again.
Nell has written a novel that celebrates growing old, and shows us that ageing doesn’t mean that we have to stop living a full and meaningful life.
Reviewed by Gaby Meares
Murder on a Monday Reading Group