Sometimes happiness can be found where you least expect it…
Twenty-eight-year-old Lana Green has never been good at making friends. She’s perfectly happy to be left alone with her books. Or at least, that’s what she tells herself.
Nancy Ellis Hall was once a celebrated writer. now eighty, she lives alone in her North London house and thinks she’s doing just fine. But dementia is loosening Nancy’s grip on the world.
When Lana and Nancy become unconventional housemates, their lives will change in ways they never imagined. But can an unusual friendship rescue two women who don’t realise they need to be saved?
Thank you so much to Ellie at Avon Books for sending me a finished copy of this book, I realise it has sat on my shelf for far too long, but it’s here now!
This book started well and quickly I found myself absorbed in the story, this is contemporary fiction / women’s fiction /chick lit and it did what I expected it to. With warm female characters, a rubbish ex whose faults Lana was blind to, a lovely romantic lead, whose charms Lana was blind to and a plot linking the two fabulous women at the centre of this story.
Lana is struggling to write that dreaded second book but her love has gone and she can’t find the next romantic novel inside her. Broke, she is forced to leave her flat and through a chance meeting in a pub finds herself as an informal live in carer / companion to Nancy a former feminist writer in the early stages of dementia. Always outgoing and flamboyant, Nancy is now considered vulnerable and measures are put in place to ‘protect’ her, seen by those who care about her as limiting and restricting her. Lana gains employment teaching a romantic prose course and through this, an interesting cast of characters are introduced.
This book covers a number of issues, not least the conflicts around supporting someone older and potentially vulnerable whilst allowing them to live the fullest life of their choice. Overall I enjoyed this book and although I liked Lana, at times I found her naive and not entirely authentic as a successful writer. But it was a warm read with gorgeous relationships at is heart and for that reason it was both pleasing and uplifting. It didn’t hold a lot of surprises but books in this genre often don’t and that was fine, this uplifting book is one I will be recommending to fans of this romantic fiction genre.
About the Author
Sophie Jenkins is a serial joiner of writing groups and workshops and a prolific short story writer. To encourage her creativity she regularly enters half marathons and trains by running from her home in North London to breakfast in the centre of town with a notepad.
The character of Nancy in The Forgotten Guide to Happiness is based on her experience with her own mother, who was diagnosed with dementia fifteen years ago.