Eudora Honeysett – 85 years old and increasingly troubled by the usual ailments, vulnerabilities, and indignities of old age. Eudora has never been married and still lives in the London house she grew up in – her only company is a cantankerous black cat named Montgomery. She feels like she is ready to meet death ‘head on’ and she has no fear of its mysteries. Alone, with neither family or friends, Eudora feels that she is done with life. She despairs of the modern way of life with lack of manners, its technology, and public displays of affection.
“It’s such a nuisance that elderly people have to look so old. This shrunken, prune-like appearance, as if someone is slowly deflating them, is most unprepossessing.”
Rose Trewidney – a 10 year old, precocious, talkative, relentlessly cheerful girl with a colorful and often ill-advised dress sense. She has just moved in to the house next door to Eudora, and she makes it her mission in life to ease Eudora’s loneliness and become her best friend.
Though Eudora tries to resist Rose’s persistent attempts at forming a friendship, she realizes quickly that Rose is a ‘force of nature‘ who is impossible to resist.
Stanley Marcham – an elderly widower who lives near Eudora. Though he is very gregarious, he too is lonely, and grieving his beloved wife. He lives with two King Charles Cavalier spaniels who he walks regularly on Eudora’s street. When he comes on Rose’s radar, she adopts him as another of her ‘best friends‘.
“Life is precious and as long as we have a reason to continue,
we should follow that path.”
The unusual trio of Eudora, Stanley and Rose become true friends and their journey together is a joy to read. The importance of inter-generational relationships between the very young and the very old are showcased in an absorbing way.
The narrative switches from the present day to frequent flashbacks of Eudora’s life throughout the years. This gave the reader a comprehensive understanding of Eudora and her way of thinking.
The book discusses death, a topic that is usually avoided at all costs. It approaches this often taboo subject with empathy, compassion and levelheadedness. Also stressed in this novel is the paramount importance of being kind to others.
This lovely novel engenders all the emotions with its straight-forward Eudora and her dry humour. It is a book that I think everyone should read, regardless of their age as it clearly describes how it feels to get old – a state that is often neglected and ignored by society at large.
While reading Eudora’s story I was strongly reminded of Fredrik Backman’s “A Man Called Ove“. Fans of that book will surely love this one as well.
A heart-warming, life-affirming novel of inter-generational friendships. I laughed – I cried. It was a book that you feel like hugging at the end. ‘Uplit‘ at its finest! All the stars!
This novel was also published under the title “The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett” with a different cover.
This review was written voluntarily and my rating was in no way influenced by the fact that I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel from One More Chapter/HarperCollins UK via NetGalley.
ISBN: 9780008405373 ASIN: B083JKT5XH 380 pages
After a career in bookselling and publishing, Annie Lyons published six books including the best-selling, Not Quite Perfect. When not working on her novels, she teaches creative writing. She lives in south-east London with her husband and two children.