The Vintage Springtime Club by Beatrice Meier

 „Newly retired Philip returns home to Cologne and is thrown into emotional turmoil upon bumping into his long-lost sweetheart. In the midst of a domestic crisis, Ricarda confides in Philip that she is looking for somewhere to live. And there and then, Philip suggests that she move in with him – he is setting up a flatshare. Will she join him with his mischievous dachshund named Ralf?

To his surprise, Ricarda agrees, leaving Philip to scramble together a crew of retires in time for spring, for the most unlikely of social experiments. There’s grumpy cigarette-smoking grandfather Harry; quiet and discreet Eckart, curiously carting around his late wife’s headstone; Uschi, brimming with life, harbouring a passion for leotards and aerobics, along with sausages and outrageous knitting patterns; and then, ever-practical and warm-hearted Ricarda, towards whom Phillip is developing real feelings.

Despite their differences, the flatmates thrive and embark on a series of new adventures. But when Uschi falls unwell, familiar cracks begin to show and this uniquely spirited club of friends must work together in order to survive – and truly blossom.”


Doesn’t it sound brilliant? I can’t wait to read the whole book, and if you are the same, here is the good news: I have an excerpt for you! Enjoy!


Paper plates. Paper plates on their first evening! Somewhat

annoyed, Ricarda fetched her last three psychology books

from the bottom of the box and slotted them into her bookcase.

All because Harry couldn’t look where he was going.

She pulled one of the books forward a tiny bit. She liked

them to be perfectly aligned with the edge of the shelf. That

way she could be sure no dust would settle there. She took a

step back. Her new bookcase looked pretty good.

She folded the empty cardboard box and carried it to the

front door. She couldn’t help but smile as she passed the

kitchen. Uschi was sitting at the kitchen table, absorbed

with folding green napkins into fans to liven up the plain

white paper plates. She was a real darling, that Uschi. And

there were some nice smells coming from the stove, too.

Yet Ricarda’s surge of contentment was immediately dampened by the sight of the piles of pans, pots, chopping

boards, kettles and cutlery trays next to Uschi’s pasta sauce,

which was bubbling away on the stove. Why had they only

followed her instructions about the crockery? They’d ended

up with three or four of everything else.

She put her folded box with the others by the entrance.

She was just about to close the door of the small loo when

her gaze fell on the toilet bowl. She put down the lid and

called out: ‘Friends, please shut the toilet lid. It really

isn’t—’ Boom! Eckart rammed into her, muttered, ‘Excuse

me, please,’ and backed a hand trolley into the flat.

‘—feng shui,’ Ricarda said, finishing her sentence with

some bemusement. She stared at the unusual item Eckart

was wheeling backwards along the passageway.

‘A headstone?’ whispered Philip.

‘A headstone!’ Ricarda nodded. She had taken refuge in

Philip’s room.

‘His own?’

‘No, Lotte’s.’

‘Who’s Lotte?’

‘His wife!’

‘Oh, my God.’

‘You can say that again.’

Philip took a deep breath to gather his wits. ‘Ric, death

is part of life. The Africans—’

‘I don’t want to sleep in this flat with a gravestone!’

‘Dinner’s ready!’ came the call from the kitchen.

They tiptoed over to the door and watched Uschi make

her way towards Eckart’s room. She stopped outside

Eckart’s door. Ricarda and Philip held their breath. Uschi

stood there for a while, staring into Eckart’s room, before

nodding slowly and turning on her heel. From the hallway

she trilled, ‘Everybody want some of my scrummy pasta?’

She caught sight of Ricarda and Philip hovering in the

doorway before they could duck back inside.

‘That includes you,’ she said.

No reaction?

Admittedly, you had to be prepared for many things

in a flatshare like this. But no reaction whatsoever to the

discovery that one of them had furnished his room with

a headstone? Ricarda swallowed hard. Hadn’t the two

weekends by the North Sea been long enough to check

everything? Philip at first seemed equally stunned by

Uschi’s acceptance – but then, not by a bit of it.

‘See,’ he said, nodding. ‘All part of life.’

Golly! Ricarda shook her head resignedly.

What had she let herself in for?



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