There are certain standout characters who stay with me for months (maybe even years) after I’ve finished a book – and Evie Gallagher is definitely one of them.
The 75-year-old heroine of Judy Leigh’s debut is utterly captivating – she’s warm, funny, brave and real.
Evie gives a refreshing (and much needed) make-over to the image of older women; I want to be like her when I grow up!
I find it hard to believe that this is a debut because the story is so accomplished with twists and turns (no spoilers, promise) that kept me reading long into the night.
Here’s the blurb:
Evie Gallagher is regretting her hasty move into a Dublin care home. She may be seventy-five and recently widowed, but she’s absolutely not dead yet.
And so, one morning, while the rest of Sheldon Lodge is asleep, Evelyn walks out the front door and never looks back. So begins a road trip that will take Evie first to Liverpool, then on to Brittany, where she buys a camper van and heads south on a Great Adventure.
But not everyone thinks Great Adventures are appropriate for women of Evie’s age, least of all her son Brendan and his wife Maura, who set off in pursuit, following a trail of puzzling text messages.
But when Brendan and Maura finally catch up with Evie, there are shocks in store for all of them … because while Brendan may have given up on life and love, Evie Gallagher certainly has not.
Anyone who buys a camper van is already high on my list of people I would like to befriend but Evie is such a great character. It feels like she’s quite innocent, having led a rather sheltered life, but then she gets a glint in her eye that reveals she’s actually rather canny.
And it’s not only Evie we get to meet, we also follow her son Brendan and his wife Maura as they journey to France to bring her home. Their troubled story is beautifully intertwined with Evie’s – and there are surprises in store for all of them.
I laughed and cried but I also learnt a lot.
While it might not be the done thing to mention film in a book review, I can definitely see A Grand Old Time being made into a film. It’s not that it isn’t a good read – it really is – but the characters are ripe for the big screen (I even spent some time picking who I would want to play Evie) as well as the plot itself. I would definitely go and see it and think it would be a crying shame if this is not picked up.
I loved Evie. I loved this book. I can’t wait to read more of Judy’s work.
Price: £1.99 (via Amazon).
My rating: Five stars.
With thanks to Avon (via NetGalley) for the ARC in return for an honest review.