I loved the tag line about being able to teach an old duck new tricks. It sums up this book in a nutshell; a group of older ladies on holiday, going home at the end having rediscovered themselves, eager to make changes at home and try new things. What a beautifully refreshing change from the formulaic approach of some modern fiction. I am fortunate in that I can pick and choose which books I review and so I enjoy the vast majority of books I scrutinise. This book I thoroughly enjoyed and struggled to put it down. (Mental note to self to keep the Kindle out of the bedroom at night!) I think that the things that I will take with me from this book, are that you are never too old to have fun, and regardless of your age, it’s good to learn to say ‘no’.
I was reminded of @judyleighwriter with this book, and that is a genuine compliment as I so adore her books. It is always refreshing when books steer away from the normal and have older characters as their mainstay. This book did not disappoint. Sophia was a fantastic main character, on her first holiday abroad by herself since the death of her Husband 8 years ago. She has ostensibly come to Rhodes to get away from a doomed affair and do some work. Her male counterpart, Theo, provides a potential romantic interest, and the way he is described and the way he acts towards Sophia is just beautiful. I found myself hoping for more and more interaction between the pair. I love that in this book, romantic interludes are not limited to ‘beautiful young things’ and the older ladies get a look in! I loved the comment from Sophia ‘I could still still learn new skills, find new friends, grab everything the world had to offer me. I was determined I wasn’t going to just give up and spend the rest of my life thinking about what I could have done.’ The author recognises that if there is to be some kind of relationship between Theo and Sophia, it will be different this time around; at their ages they don’t have time to dither around. I liked this recognition; I found it comforting and wholly appropriate for the characters involved.
Sophia has gone to Greece for a holiday, and also seemingly to get away from Lucian. Upon reading this Sophia endeared herself to me, as I love a strong female character that knows her own mind. Sophia certainly does know her own mind, having decided that she definitely doesn’t want to speak to Lucian. I think his condescending attitude and behaviour would wind me up too, to be honest! I don’t think Sophia realises it herself, but she is desperately in need of some female friends and a bit of fun. On a mission to complain about the partying noises well into the early hours, she meets the ladies of a similar age holidaying next door and they pretty quickly become friends, and ‘The Old Ducks Club’ is born. Sophia is struggling to get into the editing work she was meant to be doing for her ex, Lucian and instead finds herself out on a day trip around Rhodes with Theo, who owns her holiday let and is also a neighbour.
The new friends spend an increasing amount of time together, but as a reader I could not help but detect a hint of jealousy when on the day out with her new girlfriends, Sophia spots Theo in a restaurant with a woman. By this point I was feeling so interested in the book’s characters and Sophia in particular and found myself willing Theo’s lunch assignment to be an entirely innocent occurrence that wouldn’t get in the way of anything between Sophia and Theo.
I am disappointed in myself, but when characters come across so well in a book, I can’t help but feel invested in what happens to them! I know it’s only a book, but when the author draws you, the reader in so competently, like an angler landing his catch, you can’t help but care about these people!
Much as I liked both Theo and Sophia and would not be adverse to some romance between them, I did feel proud of Sophia and liked the assertiveness bestowed upon her by the author. I appreciated the way that women were shown as being able to speak their own minds, without having to be subservient to men! You will have to decide for yourself whether Sophia should have asked Theo straight out about the woman he had been seen with!
A nightclub trip for the Old Ducks? Manna from heaven for an author such as Maddie Please; ‘what can possibly go wrong?’ they said. ‘It’ll be fun’ they said. The potential content seems endless, from wardrobe malfunctions and general clothing disasters, to overdrinking incidents – the list of possibilities seems endless, but from what I had read I knew that Maddie would treat this subject matter with fun; I was surprised, to say the least at what happened; fun, laughs and originality abounded!
When 3/4 of the Old Ducks. Went home (it was. 2 week stay for most of them, but a 4 week stay for a Sophia), I thought at first that I was nearing the end of the book, but was pleasantly surprised to see I had nearly 1/2 a book left. I wondered at how the author could keep up the standard of fun, laughs and surprises throughout the rest of the book.
I laughed out loud, partly at the awkwardness of it all, when Sophia turned up for the lunch that she had been invited to by Theo’s Uncle Nico. She was expecting a cosy lunch à trois, only to discover that the whole extended family had been invited to a massive party! Sophia was only too aware of the family politics involved and just wanted to please everyone and be liked to them all. The scene was very ‘Vicar of Dibley-esque’ – the episode where Geraldine ends up eating several Christmas dinners on one day. Sophia found herself having to try every dish that had been brought to the lunch by various family members – she couldn’t get away with trying one person’s food without trying them all, for risk of offending someone. Theo practically has to roll her home! The scene was so descriptive I could close my eyes and imagine it was happening at that very moment in my own house!
I loved the sense of community portrayed in this book. On the one hand, as Sophia finds out, everyone knows what you are doing, but I also sensed that she was cosseted and no harm could come to her, due to the fact that so many people cared about what she was doing and what happened to her.
Was there any future in a relationship between Sophia and Theo, or with so many miles between them is this a story about a holiday romance? Will Sophia go back to the hideous Lucian. All questions that need answering…….
The next best thing to spending quality time with a superlative group of girlfriends must surely be reading about this kind of fun. In order to do just that and buy this book for yourself, please just click on this link: https://amzn.to/2P2uKDE