My Rating ~ Five Stars
RELEASE DATE: 31 August 2021
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Today is my tour stop on the Happy Hour tour thanks to DMCPR Media and Allen & Unwin. Head to my Instagram page for your chance to win a copy of this book!
Growing older doesn’t necessarily mean growing wiser.
Gin in one hand, paintbrush in the other, Franny Calderwood has turned her back on the world, or at least the world she used to love. Having lost her husband, Frank, in tragic circumstances three years earlier, 65-year-old Franny copes the only way she knows how: by removing herself completely from the life she had before. Franny lives a life of decadent seclusion, with only her two dogs, Whisky and Soda, a stuffed cat, cocktails and the memory of Frank for company.
Then the Salernos move in next door. The troubled but charming trio – beleaguered mother Sallyanne, angry teenager Dee and eccentric eight-year-old Josh – cannot help but pull Franny into the drama of their lives. But despite her fixation with independence, Franny’s wisecracks and culinary experiments hide considerable trauma and pain, and when her eccentric behaviour has life-threatening consequences she faces a reckoning of sorts. Yes, Frank is dead, but did the woman he loved have to perish with him?
Thank you so much to DMCPR Media and Allen and Unwin for providing me with a copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review!
Franny isn’t dealing with the loss of her husband particularly well, but don’t people understand she just wants to be left alone, with her dogs, her paintbrush, Frank’s photos (which she talks to every day) and several drinks. She spends a considerable amount of time avoiding the many invitations to outings, requests to visit and phone calls, but she feels it’s worth it to escape having to talk about Frank. When a new family moves in next door, there’s no reason for Franny to meet them. What would she want with a grouchy teenage girl and an 8 year old boy who’s a bit different? Except she does.
Equal parts hilarious and heartbreaking, Happy Hour is the story of how everyone copes differently with grief and sometimes fights the very help they desperately need. I loved Franny’s snarky personality and her reminiscing about her lovely marriage to Frank. The relationship that developed between Franny and the neighbours, especially the children, was really special – if not a bit misguided on Franny’s part at times. The pain felt by not only Franny but her closest friends and family was so well written. As the story developed and we were given glimpses into Franny’s past, we got to see a woman who had experienced tragedy and love on grand scales. One of the things I loved the most about Happy Hour was there were several times I thought the book would turn into Franny just suddenly ‘moving on’, but that didn’t happen. The gradual, and unfinished process, of Franny’s journey through her grief was realistic and for that I was grateful.
This is the type of book you want to just curl up with and read until the end. I was sad to leave Franny, Dee, Sallyanne and Josh behind at the end!
Image from my Instagram account