Dee MacDonald comes returns to the blog with a lovely story where our heroine finds herself and her joy in
The Silver Ladies of Penny Lane
Tess and Orla are “ladies of a certain age”, both in their early sixties, both overweight, and both have had lives that didn’t quite follow the paths they hoped for as children. Now living in the same neighborhood and co-owners of a shop that provides bespoke clothing for ‘heavier ladies’ the two friends are in a rut. A weekly luncheon date to an all you can eat restaurant, working in the shops and a general feeling of malaise has hit the two – and while Orla is decidedly determined to find a new man and companion, Tess is still caught in a spiral of loneliness, grief, overwork and a bit of depression. And, she’s not without reason: her husband of many years traded her in for a younger, slimmer model, she battled through breast cancer and gained several pounds on her road to recovery. Just when things were bleakest, she met David, and three years on he was in a car accident, leaving her with no partner in her life and missing his ‘love her for who she is’ that David so epitomized. It’s time for a change and her daughter’s upcoming wedding feels like the kick start she needs. Lose weight, find a dress and a date. Simple? Not so much.
With a serious nudge from Orla – the two join an online dating site dedicated to the senior set, and Tess pushes the two into a ‘slimming club’ as she wants to lose 2 stone. Six opportunities Tess is given for her investment of £150 guarantees her ‘vetted’ interesting men, with a money back guarantee. Orla is a bit more ‘free’ with her advice and history, and while Tess is quieter and much more malleable, she agrees to go along – a cruise through the Greek Islands is the mid-point break that will take them out of the horrid English weather and give her a pick-me-up with another set of ‘places to visit of her bucket list. With a rather strident leader in the slimming club, and the recognition that Orla really isn’t the most positive helpmate she has, not to mention the piles of designing and sewing that she has to get through for the ladies she creates clothes for – things are busier, and fitting in the ‘dates’ keeps her hopeful, if not entirely enthused, about the whole thing.
So – Dee MacDonald gives us Tess – someone you would want to have in your corner. A fresh breath of air with her willingness to be open to change, and her determination to move forward. It seems as if she should have leaned many of these lessons before, but let’s be honest – you never see the need for big changes in your life until you are pressed, and often changing one thing brings clarity to all the other things that need work (or change because of the first). And that is just what happens for Tess… from disastrous dates with men who, let’s be honest, either weren’t vetted all that well, weren’t compatible with her life and beliefs or simply preying on the ‘availability’ of women over 60 who want a relationship, it took her some time to decide that she needed to be the primary concern in her life. The weight loss and her struggles with it are familiar to many, as is her discovery of the positives that came from it in terms of feeling better, being able to wear clothes hanging in her closet that were long abandoned, and (best of all) the increase in her self-esteem and recognition that all the changes may have started out as ‘for something” but really have come to being for her…… Not a perfect story by any means, and some truly horrible men that she met in her ‘dating’ with situations not necessarily dealt with in a ‘modern sensibilities’ way, her determination to get her refund, enjoy the wedding and move forward in her life while maintaining those changes in herself, her diet and her attitude are wonderful to behold, and done with a grace and humor that draws readers in. It’s never past time for a change and redirect, and Tess discovers it just as we do…
Title: The Silver Ladies of Penny Lane
Author: Dee MacDonald
Genre: Contemporary Woman's Fiction, Friendship, Humor elements, Romantic Elements, Second Chance, Setting: Britain
Published by: Bookouture
Published on: 24 April, 2019
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ Barnes&Noble ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Google
Tess and Orla have been best friends throughout most of their adult lives. So when life gave them lemons and their loved ones let them down, they pooled their resources and bought a dressmakers shop on the corner of Penny Lane. And they’ve been doing just fine ever since.
But one day, while studying her tired eyes and shapeless figure in the mirror, sixty-two-year-old Tess realised that she doesn’t want her life to be just fine anymore. She wants it to be extraordinary. For as long as she can remember she’s put everyone else first. Now she wants to rediscover herself – and experience the kind of whirlwind adventure that will have the power make her smile when she’s confined to the armchair of a retirement home.
With the encouragement of fun-loving and quirky Orla, Tess joins an over-the-hill dating agency and the two friends book a singles cruise around the Mediterranean. And that’s when their adventure of a lifetime really begins…
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.