Friday, June 02, 2023

Blog Tour: The Silver Ladies Do Lunch by Judy Leigh


Welcome to the picturesque village of Middleton Ferris in Oxfordshire. Here we meet three women who have been friends since primary school, Josie, Lin and Minnie works as an academic in nearby Oxford. They regularly meet together for lunch, supporting each other all through their lives.

When their favourite school teacher, Cecily Hamilton, moves back into the village, their little circle expands to include her in their lunches. There are, however, other people who also still remember Miss Hamilton and soon we are getting to know many of the members of the village as well as their families. Soon, there are regular lunches which include many of the villagers. We are witness to the gossip (often the men are the ones most guilty of this), the changing nature of relationships, the scandals the prejudicesand more.

The main characters are the three friends, their former teacher and a young woman named Florence who finds herself in something of a pickle.  I really like the cross generational friendships that are described in this book. Whilst Josie, Linn and Minnie are all the same age, Miss Hamilton is obviously older, and the ladies also look after Florence.

Josie lost her husband the previous year, and I thought she was coping quite admirably, to the point that she went off a Caribbean cruise in honour of her husband Harry. She seems quite content most of the time but she is beginning to attract the attention of some of the men in town, although she doesn't  have any interest in romance.

Lin has been married to handsome Neil for nearly 50 years, and she has never had any reason to doubt him, but now he is spending a lot of time away from home, and she knows he is lying to her. She doesn't want to believe the worst of him, but evidence suggests that she has something to worry about, no matter how many times he tells her that everything is fine. I struggled a bit with Lin. She is portrayed as someone who can't even cook herself toast without burning it. I know that there are people out there who really don't like cooking but to not be able to do anything for herself seemed a bit strange. I understand completely why she jumped to the conclusions that she did, but still.

And finally we have unorthodox Minnie, who has never married. She went to college and then made her way into academia in Oxford, but she always makes time to see her friends.  She has a unique dress sense, and loves her life in Oxford with its museums, theatre, and history. Minnie was the character that I liked the most.

We do also get the backstory for many of the other villagers. Whilst this was fun at times,  there were way too many characters to keep track of, so for me it was sometimes a distraction to try to figure out which character belonged to which. Because there were so many characters, it may be that the most memorable character in the book may yet turn out to be Nadine the pig.

I couldn't help but think about my own childhood friendships as I was reading this. I don't have any friends from primary school that I am still in touch with.  I moved states when I was about 10 and then I was the only person from my primary school to go the high school I went to. I absolutely admire people who have managed to keep friendships for their entire lives. 

I did like the way that the author used music throughout the book covering ta range of music from the 50s through to now. I thought that was very cleverly done.

I have read a couple of this authors books now. I did like this one, but I think the previous one worked a bit better for me as it was more focused. Leigh seems to write quite a lot of characters who are around 70 years old. I have been reading quite a lot of books about older characters over the last few years but I wonder if maybe this book is at the upper end of my age limit to read about. Still fun and easy to read though.

Be sure to check out other stops on the tour to see more reviews of this book.

Rating 3.5/5

Thanks to Rachael's Random Resources, the publisher and Netgalley for the review copy of this book.

About the book

The Silver Ladies Do Lunch

When Lin, Josie and Minnie left Miss Hamilton’s class at Middleton Ferris County Primary School, sixty years ago, they could only dream about what the future had in store for them. The one thing they knew for certain was that their friendship would thrive.

Years later and life hasn’t always been kind. Josie is still mourning the loss of her beloved husband Harry a year after his sudden demise. Lin is hoping to celebrate her fiftieth wedding anniversary with husband Neil, but he’s suddenly keeping secrets and telling her lies, so she’s suspecting the worst And as for Minnie, well she loves her life in Oxford academia, but with no family to call her own, she sometimes wonders if the sacrifices were all worthwhile.

So, when the ninety-year-old Miss Hamilton – or Cecily as she lets them call her now – glides gracefully back into their lives on her glamorous purple mobility scooter, the ladies are in need of inspiration and fun. And over their regular lunches, the friends start to dream of leaving the past in the past and embracing the future, because there’s nothing you can’t achieve with good friends at your side.

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About the author

Judy Leigh is the USA Today bestselling author of The Old Girls’ Network and Five French Hens and the doyenne of the ‘it’s never too late’ genre of women’s fiction. She has lived all over the UK from Liverpool to Cornwall, but currently resides in Somerset.

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