Radiating warmth, and set amid the lush beauty of tropical Queensland, Thursdays at Orange Blossom House is a heartwarming story of friendship and family, of chances missed and taken, and the eternal power of love.
It’s 1993. Sleepless in Seattle and Jurassic Park are hit films, and a new comedy Seinfeld has just aired on TV. At seventy-four, former cane farmer Grace Maud is feeling her age, and her isolation, and thinks the best of life may be behind her. Elsewhere in town, high school teacher Patricia has given up on her dreams of travel and adventure and has moved back home to look after her ageing parents, while cafe owner Dorothy is struggling to accept that she may never have the baby she and her husband so desperately want.
Each woman has an unspoken need: reconnection. And that’s how they find themselves at Orange Blossom House, surrounded by perfumed rainforest, being cajoled and encouraged by their yoga teacher, the lively Sandrine. Together, they find courage and strength—and discover that life has much more to offer than they ever expected.
Thursdays at Orange Blossom House is a delightful and heartfelt read that provided me with a much-needed escape from lockdown. If you enjoyed Sophie Green’s previous bestsellers, The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club and The Shelly Bay Ladies Swimming Circle, then you will adore her latest novel. This time, Green takes us into the heart of Far North Queensland in the mid-1990s. The novel is separated into sections, each one beginning with a list of popular culture sensations of the time, in case you have forgotten or were too young to remember. It’s a fun touch, breaking apart the novel which follows the lives of Grace, Patricia, and Dorothy over one year.
These three women, alongside their charming French yoga teacher, Sandrine, are the centrepieces of the novel. They are each struggling with things that so many women experience—ageing parents, distant children, miscarriages and IVF treatment, regrets, unrealised hopes and dreams. The beauty of the novel lies within the connections they form and their ability to provide solace to each other. Green superbly illuminates this bond between the women, showing that age is no barrier to meaningful friendship, which is something many readers will relate to.
As for the yoga, whether you know your downward dog from your savasana or not, the classes provide a meaningful, and sometimes entertaining, catalyst for the protagonists to connect and learn. What’s more, Green herself is a qualified yoga teacher, and it’s clear she was in her element when writing this story.
Thursdays at Orange Blossom House is the perfect read for those wanting to escape to warmer climates, embrace their inner tranquillity, and meet characters who you might just wish were your friends too.