The joyous, charming and utterly irresistible new novel from the author of mega-bestseller The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village.
At nearly ninety, retired nature writer Hattie Bloom prefers the company of birds to people, but when a fall lands her in a nursing home she struggles to cope with the loss of independence and privacy. From the confines of her ‘room with a view’ of the carpark, she dreams of escape.
Fellow ‘inmate’, the gregarious, would-be comedian Walter Clements also plans on returning home as soon as he is fit and able to take charge of his mobility scooter.
When Hattie and Walter officially meet at The Night Owls, a clandestine club run by Sister Bronwyn and her dog, Queenie, they seem at odds. But when Sister Bronwyn is dismissed over her unconventional approach to aged care, they must join forces – and very slowly an unlikely, unexpected friendship begins to grow.
Joanna Nell followed-up her bestselling The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village, with the equally wonderful The Last Voyage of Mrs Henry Parker, a poignant ode to love and the memories that make a well-lived life. As a result, she has carved out a very unusual – but utterly delightful – niche in fiction for herself, weaving stories about elderly characters. But these are not just novels for elderly readers. Quite the contrary – these are wonderful, inspiring novels for all ages. In fact, younger readers will not only enjoy these tales but perhaps take away from them a new view of aging. Joanna, a practising GP, says on her website that she’s an ‘advocate for positive ageing’.
Full of wisdom and warmth, The Great Escape from Woodlands Nursing Home is a gorgeously poignant, hilarious story that shows it is never too late to laugh – or to love. The characters are an absolute celebration of life. I adored feisty, reclusive Hattie Bloom, who ends up in the nursing home after breaking a hip while trying to save a tree for some resident owls. And Walter, who misses his wife and whose friend Walter is dying. But all the characters are superbly crafted, with compelling arcs.
Joanna’s novels are refreshing to read as she now settles into this very important niche in fiction. As always, she weaves together themes of aging, death, friendship, the loss of independence and more, however she keeps all of these themes fresh, bringing new ideas and scenarios from her past novels. Sharp dialogue, wit and heart-warming emotion make The Great Escape from Woodlands Nursing Home the perfect weekend read.
I can’t recommend this enough. I enjoyed it immensely.