Back in March, I had the immense pleasure of discovering The Mercury Travel Club by Helen Bridgett when invited to be part of the blog tour organised by Red Door Publishing. And when I saw that Helen was taking the book on tour again – this time with Rachel’s Random Resources – I really wanted to be part of it. Because if a book’s worth telling you about once – well, a second time won’t hurt, will it?
He took her to dinner: that was annoying
He slept with her: that was hurtful
He bought new underwear to impress her: quite frankly astounding
He left me to bloody wash his FILTHY WHORING PANTS: INFURIATING!
After twenty-four years and eleven months of marriage, Angie Shepherd is divorced, dejected and facing a future of cardigans and cats. Best friend Patty is having none of it, and launches Angie into a variety of crazy schemes in search of her lost mojo.
But it’s just not enough; what she really dreams of is beating her ex and becoming Entrepreneur of the Year. Channelling her inner Richard Branson, Angie invests her divorce settlement into The Mercury Travel Club, a travel agency with a twist. But as the club gets going, things don’t go according to plan, and in this digital age, a little chaos brings the recognition Angie’s been looking for.
Witty, entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny, this feel-good novel shows that it’s never too late for a second chance.
Now, I’m old enough to believe that there’s nothing wrong with a sensible cardigan – or thermal vest and granny knickers if the weather requires it. But there’s also nothing wrong with trying to get your life kick-started again, and I loved taking this journey along with my new best friend, Angie Shepherd (otherwise known as Bo – after the shepherdess?!). Laugh-out-loud isn’t always my favourite kind of reading, but Helen Bridgett gets this one absolutely right. The life coaching, the book club, the speed dating, the baking classes – so much that was familiar! – and I just loved the friendships and the way they were drawn. The Granny-Okes are just wonderful, a really different and original idea – and friend Patty, loud and larger than life but with a little hidden sadness of her own, was quite perfect at their centre and as Angie’s constant source of support. The Mercury Travel Club is an inspired idea too, and with my love of everything holiday-related I loved it all, from the planning and marketing through the trips and holidays (the cruise was particularly great reading…), and I was with Angie all the way as she dreamed of her chance of being awarded Entrepreneur of the Year.
All the supporting characters are fantastic – I have a particular soft spot for Angie’s mother with her outspokenness and love of a freebie, and also for fellow travel agent Charlie as he finds his path to some happiness of his own. Ex-husband Alan and his new partner Amanda – the new A-Team – are magnificently awful, as you share Angie’s anger and ambiguous feelings about the man she’s shared most of her life with. And then there’s the lovely Socks – and as for Gnorman and Gnorma, the garden gnomes with a life of their own…
This was a wonderful story – superbly written in a conversational style rich in wit and detail – with perfectly judged humour, really touching moments and a cast of characters who will become your best friends too, all set against a 1980s musical background. And the end? Well, I’m not giving anything away, but I thought it was simply perfect. Highly recommended by me.
About Helen Bridgett
Helen Bridgett was born in North-East England and now lives in Manchester having stopped off at a few places in between. Having failed miserably with every New Year’s resolution that involved giving up food or drink, one year, she set herself a completely different goal – to write a novel and give it as a Christmas present. The Mercury Travel Club was born and the characters took on a life of their own. Outside of writing, Helen loves hiking and wine – not usually at the same time.
Helen is currently developing the next novels in The Mercury Travel Club series.