Your Preview Verdict: The Grand Tour by Olivia Wearne

Your Preview Verdict: The Grand Tour by Olivia Wearne

This vivid story of campervans, stowaways and mischief at any age is essentially about families: the ones you have and the ones you make.

When Ruby and Angela embark on a Grey Nomads road trip, the last thing they expect is a tiny stowaway; one who will turn them from unsuspecting tourists into wanted kidnappers and land them in a world of trouble. As their leisurely retirement plans unravel, Angela’s relationship with her brother Bernard goes from bad to worse.

Bernard has his own problems to contend with. Adrift in life, his career as a news presenter has been reduced to opening fetes and reading Voss as an audio book (a seemingly impossible task). His troubles are compounded when his wife starts dating a younger man and a drink-driving incident turns him into a celebrity offender.

As Angela and Ruby set about repairing burnt bridges and helping their unexpected guest, and Bernard attempts to patch together his broken life, they discover that even after a lifetime of experience, you’re never too old to know better.

A warm, funny, sharply observed story about aging disgracefully and loving the one you’re with.

Read some great reviews from our Preview readers here:

A really funny story that is warmly written which entices you to love these warm & funny characters and go on an adventure with them. It’s a great read about adventure, aging disgracefully and love. – Kim, NSW, 5 Stars

The Grand Tour is essentially about families. the ones you have and the ones you make. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read. My favourite character was the young girl Izzy. Izzy is pretty much left to her own devices trying to bring her self up because her mother does not seem to care about her, yet her mother has her own set of problems. Izzy is constantly concerned in case she upsets her mother. The book is also about the lessons we learn as we get older and mature with age. That life is not always as it seems and that in the end family is important, that is the family we already have or the family we create over a lifetime. – Carolyn, WA, 5 Stars

I had fun reading The Grand Tour and getting to know the characters. Olivia Wearne has been able to tap into what makes families and friends tick. This is a good story about two lonely women sharing a friendship and how two unlikely people can become friends. As I read further into the lives of Ruby and Angela, I felt as if they were becoming my friends and I was going on this trip with them. I started to care about Ruby’s relationship with her daughter, Carol, and her granddaughter, Izzy. The story about Angela’s interactions with her brother, Bernard, will strike a chord with anyone who is or has had difficulties with their own siblings. There is enough suspense in what happens on the road trip to keep you reading and hoping that the sticky situation Ruby and Angela find themselves in gets sorted out. The story comes to the sort of ending where you would like to find out more about the lives of Ruby, Angela and the rest of their families. – Sherry, NSW, 5 Stars

Instantly I was wrapped in each character and their quirks. The story was such a mixture of emotion, heartwarming and intriguing, absolutely hilarious in parts and always entertaining. Once I began reading I couldn’t put it down. The characters were so well written that I honestly felt like they were my real-life friends, their unique personalities and characteristics are memorable and I hope there Will be a second story in the making, because I didn’t want it to end. I loved how all the characters were woven together in such unexpected and different ways, I really enjoyed everything about this book. It was a joy to read. – Sarah, TAS, 5 Stars

This story shows you can have a family in both the traditional sense and a family you can create. There are unexpected twists and turns with the storyline itself and it’s quirky characters that create an all-embracing warmth with just the right amount of humour for a memorable adventure. This novel really should be an official ‘manual’ for aging and growing old disgracefully and setting our grey nomads loose! – Catherine, NSW, 5 Stars

Olivia Wearne’s novel is a wonderful story about the reality of relationships in families and friendships. The journey of the nomads and troubles of a famous tv personality keeps you interested the whole way through and finding out how all of the character’s worlds are intertwined. Fascinating reading and I didn’t want to put the book down! Looking forward to your next novel Olivia. – Christine, WA, 5 Stars

This book was heartwarming and funny packed with interesting complex characters. A great read and the perfect companion to take on your own road trip. – Vanessa, NSW, 4 Stars

I really enjoyed this book – it felt like a little adventure. I would not hesitate to recommend it! – Laura, SA, 4 Stars

I really enjoyed The Grand Tour. The story is told from different points of view in a way that reveals links between characters as the story progresses. It feels timely to be reading of travel and adventure at a time when our own experiences of travel have changed in such dramatic ways! – Neralie, SA, 4 Stars

An enjoyable lighthearted easy read, perfect in these difficult times when you need a laugh. – Lisa, NSW, 4 Stars

A relative light and easy read – at times highly entertaining and laugh out loud, always thoroughly enjoyable – and the relationships we have and adventures available. Well worth the read! – Belinda, NSW, 4 Stars

I have to say the story about Angela and Ruby and their camper-van adventure has inspired me on how I may spend my retirement age when I reached 60ish. Thank you Better Reading for the book preview in exchange for a review. I really enjoyed reading this novel about friendship, family, ageing and adventure. It’s funny, heartwarming, refreshing, something to look forward to reading in my spare time. – Margaret, NSW, 4 Stars

The Grand Tour explores the true friendship and fun adventures of Ruby and Angela as they travel around Australia in a caravan. An exploration of family and community with wit and drama, I felt like I was hanging out with two old friends. This is the perfect book for a relaxing weekend at home. – Antonia, NSW, 4 Stars

Olivia Wearne’s debut novel The Grand Tour is about relationships, the dynamics of families and the friendships that get you through life when loved ones are gone and families get tricky. Through Ruby and Angela’s relationship, you get a real sense that friends are the family you choose. Wearne’s easy writing style draws you in, you want to continue reading to see how the characters lives intersect and what drama is going to unfold. There’s immediate intrigue as to the relationship between Angela and her brother Bernard, and similarly between Ruby and Carol, leaving you wanting to read more and discover their histories, and how their future will play out. The humour only adds to this, with many relatable laugh out loud moments, including the conundrum of how to communicate via texting and emojis. The colourful characters show that we grow older, but don’t necessarily grow up. The description of their lives and antics provide a clear picture of their likeable eclectic personalities. The Grand Tour is a fun, easy, humorous read. I hope Olivia Wearne is planning to write a sequel! – Kristie, NSW, 4 Stars

I was fortunate to receive an early reading copy of The Grand Tour by Olivia Wearne thanks to Better Reading and Harlequin Australia. The story is an enjoyable, light-hearted, and easy read, with quirky characters. It held a storyline that was witty and kept me captivated throughout. The story predominantly follows Ruby and Angela, retirees, friends, and neighbours, who opportunistically decide to undertake a road trip in an old Winnebago during their home renovations. Both women rely upon each other and hold strenuous and complicated relations with their family. Angela with her celebrity brother Bernard, and Ruby with her daughter Carol, leading to delicate circumstances for her granddaughter Izzy. This novel teaches the importance of restoring broken relationships, accepting changes, challenges and appreciating that there are always new things to learn, no matter your age and lifetime experiences. Thank you, Better Reading and Harlequin Australia, for this review opportunity. – Katherine, VIC, 4 Stars

The Grand Tour is an entertaining road trip ride about families grown apart and how to make them whole again. Angela has bonded with her widowed neighbour Ruby, and as two women of a certain age decide that there is still a lot of living to do (and there are house renovations to be done) so what better reasons to invest in a Winnebago and hit the wide-open road? Bernard, regional news celebrity and Angela’s semi-estranged brother, is dealing with a marriage breakdown, declining career prospects and is trying to fulfil a contract to record Voss as an audiobook. To add insult to injury, his ex is dating a younger man and after over-enthusiastically “researching” a local winery looking for a spokesman, he is outed as a celebrity gone bad. Throw in Angela’s granddaughter longing to escape from a not particularly maternal mother, who stows away in the van after unexpectedly meeting Angela and Ruby, and the fun begins. Initially, I expected it to be more madcap, but it managed a nice balance, never veering into the ridiculous. I particularly loved Bernard (Patrick White is a tough ask). Would certainly recommend it! Thanks to Better Reading for this ARC. – Juanita, NSW, 4 Stars

Thank you to Better Reading and Harper Collins for an advance reading copy of this debut novel by Australian author, Olivia Wearne. I really enjoyed this tale of two ageing friends and neighbours who bought themselves a camper-van and embarked on a Grey Nomads road trip together. There were plenty of laughs along the journey and I was able to identify with Angela and Ruby as I am in the same age group as them and my husband has recently retired. It is not always easy growing older but this novel shows that even though we are in our sixties we are not yet ready to be put out to pasture but can still have fun and enjoy life and retirement. The author made me feel as though Angela and Ruby were friends of mine and I was touring along with them on their grand tour. It was a pleasant, light-hearted, humorous read which I completed in a couple of days. I gave this book 4 stars and am happy to recommend it to others. – Ruth, WA, 4 Stars

The Grand Tour is about relationships and the changing landscape of these relationships as we age. A satirical look at ageing disgracefully. Ruby and Angela become firm friends after the death of Angela’s husband. They are complete opposites but they compliment each other. Ruby who is an introvert loves Angela’s flamboyance. Whilst their units are being renovated they take to the road in Ruby’s motorhome. Bernard, Angela’s brother, is a curmudgeonly washed-up newsreader trying to restart his career when he is pushed back into the limelight for all the wrong reasons. We are also introduced to his actress wife, Mia and her eclectic friends. An arty group of ageing bohemians. There are many funny moments as each character navigates the different relationships in their life. The book was a slow read for me. A character-driven story. Olivia Wearne’s debut novel is witty and observant. She expertly depicts human foibles and slots them into chuckle-inducing scenarios. – Veronica, NSW, 4 Stars

Expect the unexpected, a story about relationships interwoven with mischief and warmth, a reminder that you can’t choose your family. – Deanne, VIC, 4 Stars

A beautifully entertaining read about the fragile relationships of friends and family. Relatable characters to share the journey with. – Megan, NSW, 4 Stars

I recently received a copy of The Grand tour by Olivia Wearne thanks to Better Reading and Harlequin Australia as an early reading copy. It’s a fabulous book sometimes hilarious, sometimes filled with drama and misunderstanding. The story is about retiree friends Ruby and Angela who feel redundant in the world as their relationships with their families are complicated and so embark on a road trip together. Due to a misunderstanding, they inadvertently kidnap Izzy Ruby’s granddaughter and galivant across the country in an old Winnebago. Angela also has her celebrity brother to contend with who is going through a midlife crisis and can no longer get good gigs after being terminated from his news-reading job and his wife starts dating a younger man. It’s a story of repairing broken relationships, meeting new people who have the potential to lead you to find who you want and need to be as life changes with getting older and that although people often overlook older people’s opinions because they believe they are antiquated, they find that maturity and experience is usually the wisest course of action. I really liked this book and found it pleasant reading. I recommend it to everyone but especially those that feel they’ve lost their way and are at a crossroads in their lives. Thanks for the opportunity to review this great book. – Janet, NSW, 4 Stars

The Grand Tour was a thoroughly enjoyable read. The characters were varied but relatable with my favourite being the strong-willed Izzy. I enjoyed the journey of discovery that all of the characters undertook throughout the book and the complexity of family relationships that unfolded. A great read that I highly recommend. – Natalie, NSW, 4 Stars

Really enjoyed this, wasn’t sure what to expect but settled into Ruby and Angela’s little adventure really quickly. Loved the cast of characters, it’s not usual to see so many protagonists in their 60s which was a refreshing change and these characters were all super vivid and lifelike. Loved how rounded they all were, with their hidden moments in their pasts and lapses in judgement. The pacing seemed a little off, the big stowaway incident that the book revolves around happening quite late in the day and then the looming dread of it all kind of peters away at the end. All in all, I loved the characters even when they made me uncomfortable or I disagreed with their actions violently and I couldn’t put it down, managing to read the whole thing across a busy Saturday with my kids! – Richard, VIC, 4 Stars

I enjoyed The Grand Tour. It made me nostalgic for my childhood with its focus on family. A good book to read in these hard times, reminding us that we all face difficulties in life, but hope is always there. – Alice, NSW, 4 Stars

With our borders closed, how wonderful to do some armchair travelling as Ruby and Angela embark on their grand tour from Ballarat to Adelaide and back. We all wish to age gracefully but sometimes life gets in the way. These friends and neighbours take advantage of a two-for-one deal to get wooden floors laid in both their apartments and buy a Winnebago for a driving holiday. On their travels, we learn about the grey nomads’ lives and their dysfunctional families. Angela is communicating poorly via text with her brother, Bernard, who has his own problems with his failing career and estranged wife who is having an affair with Angela’s stepson, Lucas. Ruby has her own troubles with her daughter, Carol, who is living in a caravan park with her 8-year-old daughter, Izzy, but things get worse when Izzy is found to have stowed away on the Winnebago and Carol reports her mother to the police for kidnapping. With misadventure and misfortune, we can all relate to, The Grand Tour is a fun Australian story full of memorable characters and vivid descriptions of places and people along the way. A great read for our holidays at home this summer. – Sarah, NSW, 3 Stars

Thank you Better Reading and Harper Collins Publishing for my advance reading copy the The Grand Hotel. This is a quirky story of an eclectic group of people thrown together through happenchance and eventually discover their better selves. Tongue in cheek digs at a number of Australian icons give this easy-to-read novel a humorous tone. – Kim, QLD, 3 Stars

Thank you for the opportunity to read The Grand Tour by Olivia Wearne. It’s a book that jumps quite a bit and in places is hard to follow. Quite a few times I found it difficult to read and keep it straight. – Jodie, NSW, 3 Stars

A tale of estranged families intertwining in a small world. History repeating itself and misunderstandings. A series of events showing its never too late to repair relationships no matter how old and set in your ways you have become. A true depiction of how life goes-never as planned! – Kristen, NSW, 3 Stars

A relatable story that explores the truths about the family you are born into, the family you avoid and the family you choose as your own. I was warmly welcomed into Angela and Ruby’s life, and at times, felt like a passenger travelling with the two women in their Winnebago, listening to them exchange tales about their past. I came to learn about their past loves, losses and regrets and watched their friendship blossom throughout their journey, despite their differences. Being a news presenter, Bernard was easy to relate to. At times I wanted to hug him close and urge him to speak his truth, while other times I wanted to knock some sense into him for acting so foolish. Olivia cleverly paces the story so the reader has time to get to know the characters individually before they are swept into the reality of life together. A funny story that reminds us that not all families are perfect! – Priscilla, ACT, 3 Stars

When I applied to review ‘The Grand Tour’ by Olivia Wearne, I thought it would be an Aussie Road Trip Comedy but it is more a relatable relationship journey. New friends, Ruby and Angela, cram their lives into theIr new Winnebago with hopes of fabulous adventures on the road. However, they soon have to entwine their travels with pressing fractured family issues. The novel was an easy read and will appeal to anyone who likes their characters to be down to earth, flawed and provocative. – Christine, QLD, 3 Stars

I enjoyed this book, it was an easy read for a lazy Sunday afternoon. Full of very different characters with modern-day problems, the book lends itself to Australia life from all aspects. Whether it is 2 ladies in their twilight years enjoying their new lives or a neglected child, absent of education or love. The book struck a chord with me at the start and middle but ended on a high note with hopefulness to the future and the characters relationships with one another. What seemed to be high hurdles to each character was wonderfully overcome with clear writing and streamlined solutions. This book made me laugh, gasp and suffer second-hand embarrassment at times but in all, was a good read and leaves the door open to a possible sequel. – Chloe, VIC, 3 Stars

The Grand Tour is a witty tale about ageing mischievously, grey nomads campervanning and family, good and bad. Angela 64 and Ruby 62 have bought themselves a camper van for their retirement adventures, they are good friends and neighbours. On their travels, they encounter a stowaway who turns them into unwary kidnappers. Bernard is Angela’s brother, he’s an ageing ex-news presenter down on his luck and has just had a drink driving incident with a tree. A bunch of crazy characters and their relationships will give you a smile in this debut novel by Olivia Wearne. I wish to thank Better Reading for a copy of the book in return for an honest review. – Gloria, SA, 3 Stars

The Grand Tour makes for an easy beach read. It’s full of quirky characters with their own foibles and flaws. It explores the complexities of relationships, those between mothers and daughters, siblings, husbands and wives and those of friends. Love of all types is the overriding theme. – Melanie, VIC, 3 Stars

The Grand Tour Review Ruby and Angela, two retirees, enjoy road trips and visiting places deemed to have something you have to see in your lifetime. Whilst their units are being renovated, they’ll travel the backroads in their Grand Tour Winnebago and drop in on obscure and interesting places. First trip Ballarat to The Great Ocean Road, then Ballarat to South Australia. They’ll encounter a number of weird and wonderful characters, whilst coming to the realisation that life is a rollercoaster and the ride can be amazing. Olivia Wearne introduces identifiable characters. Those wanting to discover their place in retirement, those that fall from grace believing they continue to be a radiant star, and those that have struggled with familial neglect. We laugh at their idiosyncrasies and cry with their heartache. Ruby and Angela learn from Izzy that they aren’t as informed about life as they think. Sometimes youth trumps age and experience. Thank you to Better Reading and HQ Fiction for the advanced reading copy. – Cynthia, NSW, 3 Stars

The grand tour by Olivia Weanne A light-hearted story about relationships between family and friends. As you read the book it is easy to imagine the characters as the author reveals their individual personalities, traits, likes and dislikes. The story has curious undertakings that need the characters to work through to solve. The blending of everyone and their life stories adds to the enjoyment of the book. – Heather, SA, 3 Stars

An easy, amusing read. Ruby and Angela’s trip detours and they have to unexpectedly deal with broken family bonds and past mistakes. The whole cast of characters works their way through issues around aging, grief, regrets, relationships and what really keeps people together. Don’t be fooled by the title, most of the travelling happens internally instead of on the road. A book for anyone who enjoys books that focus on relationships. – Katie, NSW, 3 Stars

The Grand Tour is a good light read. It’s the kind of book that would be good to take away for a weekend to relax with. The characters are interesting and often amusing. It’s a good story about difficult family relationships as well as friends that become family. The friendship between Ruby and Angela is another highlight for me. They are opposite in many ways but are the best of friends. One of the things I really enjoyed about this book is that even though most of the characters are older they are still learning and growing as people. I found it an enjoyable read that will make you think about what is important in life. – Leanne, SA, 3 Stars

I do apologise for the low rating, but this book was just not for me. Don’t get me wrong, The Grand Tour is a very nice, pleasant read with occasional chuckle-out-loud bits, but I could not connect with the characters. I felt the introduction into the characters and their lives dragged out and felt sorry that Bernard was portrayed as a weak flippy floppy man in a story with loud over-opinionated women. I would recommend this book to actual grey nomads, or a mother/daughter book club. – Amanda, VIC, 2 Stars

I found the characters interesting at first but as the story continued they failed to hold my interest and seemed shallow. The writing was good and descriptive but The storyline was plodding and slow and overall the novel was not appealing. – Kristy, NSW, 1 Star

I found this book to be a mix between Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Bonnie and Clyde and Thelma and Louise. I couldn’t get into it at all and to be honest found it really boring. The characters were unengaging and there was absolutely nothing about this book that I liked. – Kirstie, WA, 1 Star


The Grand Tour by Olivia Wearne is Wonderfully Witty: Take a Sneak Peek Here

Review | Extract

9 December 2020

The Grand Tour by Olivia Wearne is Wonderfully Witty: Take a Sneak Peek Here

    Olivia Wearne's The Grand Tour is Warm, Funny, and Sharply Observed

    Review | Our Review

    8 December 2020

    Olivia Wearne's The Grand Tour is Warm, Funny, and Sharply Observed


      This vivid story of campervans, stowaways and mischief at any age is essentially about families: the ones you have and the ones you make.When Ruby and Angela embark on a Grey Nomads road trip, the last thing they expect is a tiny stowaway; one who will turn them from unsuspecting tourists into wanted kidnappers and land them in a world of trouble. As their leisurely retirement plans unravel, Angela's relationship with her brother Bernard goes from bad to worse.Bernard has his own problems to contend with. Adrift in life, his career as a news presenter has been reduced to opening fetes and reading Voss as an audio book (a seemingly impossible task). His troubles are compounded when his wife starts dating a younger man and a drink-driving incident turns him into a celebrity offender.As Angela and Ruby set about repairing burnt bridges and helping their unexpected guest, and Bernard attempts to patch together his broken life, they discover that even after a lifetime of experience, you're never too old to know better.A warm, funny, sharply observed story about aging disgracefully and loving the one you're with.
      Olivia Wearne
      About the author

      Olivia Wearne

      Olivia Wearne was born in Melbourne in 1977. She is both a novelist and a screenwriter with several film credits to her name and a Masters in creative writing. Olivia now resides in Ballarat, Victoria, where she writes at the kitchen table that she shares with her filmmaker husband and two young sons.

      Books by Olivia Wearne


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