It’s a pleasure today to be joining the publication day push for the latest book from Liz Davies, The Not So Golden Oldies: independently published, it’s now available for kindle (free via Kindle Unlimited), and also in hardcover and paperback. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support, and to the author for my advance reading copy.
I first discovered Liz’s lovely writing with The Summer of Going Topless – a touch outrageous and extremely funny, but really touching too (you’ll find my review here). And, later, I read and very much enjoyed The Cottage on Wildflower Lane (heartwarming and very different – my review is here), and also managed to read two of her four-book Ticklemore series – The Ticklemore Tattler (you’ll find my review here), and The Ticklemore Tavern (review here). But her latest is a standalone, and you know how much I enjoy a book that deals with later life issues… let’s take a closer look…
When retirement isn’t all it’s cracked up to be…
Meena Fisher is a middle-aged medical secretary with a husband, two grandchildren, a house to run, and more hobbies than you can shake a stick at. She is perfectly happy with her life just the way it is.
Her husband, Oscar, is a middle-aged workaholic who spends his days either in the office or on the golf course. With his wife looking after both him and the house, he gets on with the business of making money. He is also perfectly happy with his life just the way it is.
They share a house, and they sometimes eat dinner together if they can both manage to be in the same place at the same time. Aside from that, their paths rarely cross. The arrangement suits them both.
But when Oscar is forced to take early retirement and decides it’s only fair that he takes over the running of the house, both their previously happy lives are turned upside down.
The question is, can they find a way to live together with the new status quo? And, more importantly, do they want to?
After nearly forty years of marriage, the day-to-day lives of Meena and Oscar have settled into a pattern which suits them both nicely. After a difficult upbringing, she has an understandable obsession with running the home to her own exacting standards – but generally enjoys her job as an indispensable medical secretary, and fills her spare time with a whole range of voluntary activities that make her feel needed. When Oscar’s not working, he spends his time on the golf course.
They’re both content with the way things are, their lives barely crossing – but everything changes when he’s forced to take early retirement, reluctantly taking over the running of the home, needing to fill his time. And their marriage begins to come under pressure – there’s little doubt they still love each other, but they need to find common ground again and work out a new pattern of life that they can both live with.
This book promised an uplifting and feel-good read, and in many ways it was as they drew closer to a solution that suited them both, but I will admit that there was a lot that I found distinctly uncomfortable too. It’s a very real portrait of a marriage hitting the skids, filled with domestic detail, and I did find it quite difficult at times to identify or sympathise with either of its exceptionally well drawn but essentially selfish characters – I rather wanted to bang their heads together, to make them see the good things about their marriage rather than the niggles driving them apart.
There’s perhaps a tad less of the humour that I’ve grown used to and enjoyed in the author’s other books – although there was certainly plenty of joy and lightness in the holiday they take in an attempt to recover their closeness, and I did very much enjoy the solution Oscar finally found for filling his empty hours. I liked too the gentleness of the story’s telling, and the way their problems were seen from both their perspectives. The story essentially focuses on acceptance, dealing with change, and the need for communication – and it does that very well indeed, with the emotional content particularly well-handled, its conclusion particularly uplifting and heart-warming.
Nicely done, and a book I’m sure many readers will enjoy – but it just wasn’t quite what I was expecting it to be, and I suspect I just might not have been the right reader this time (it happens…). But I really do enjoy Liz Davies’ writing, and I’ll look forward – as I always do – to seeing what she does next.
About the author
Liz Davies writes feel-good, light-hearted stories with a hefty dose of romance, a smattering of humour, and a great deal of love.
She’s married to her best friend, has one grown-up daughter, and when she isn’t scribbling away in the notepad she carries with her everywhere (just in case inspiration strikes), you’ll find her searching for that perfect pair of shoes. She loves to cook but isn’t very good at it, and loves to eat – she’s much better at that! Liz also enjoys walking (preferably on the flat), cycling (also on the flat), and lots of sitting around in the garden on warm, sunny days.
She currently lives with her family in Wales, but would ideally love to buy a camper van and travel the world in it.