The Not So Perfect Plan to Save a Friendship House by Lilly Bartlett
Publisher: Harper Impulse
Publishing Date: 31st August 2018
Source: Received from the publisher via NetGalley, thank you!
Number of pages: 229
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Romance
Meet Phoebe, who’s 28, and Laney, Dot and Maggie, who are 68, 78, and none of your business. Together they’ll prove that age doesn’t matter when it comes to friendship, belonging and an unquenchable zest for life.
A hilarious, uplifting novel about the ties of community, the strength of love and how nobody is truly ordinary.
When Framlingham’s famously all-female senior living home goes co-ed, a war between the sexes is declared.
Stuck in the middle, chef Phoebe Stockton is desperate to help her friends plot to keep the community that means so much to them. It’s become her life raft, too. She finds comfort in her beloved career that might finally make her parents proud. But Phoebe’s darling Nick is lining up on the other side of the battle, and their relationship is suffering collateral damage.
The stakes couldn’t be higher. If the home’s owner can’t improve business by moving the men in, he’ll have to evict everyone.
The women aren’t about to let that happen.
Phoebe is a chef at all-female senior living home. She loves her job and she loves the home’s residents, so when the new owner Max concocts a plan of opening its doors to male residents as well, together with her best friend June – and the women at home! – she decides to do something against it. She also works hard to make her parents proud of her, and there is also Nick – can there be a happy end for them?
Personally I had a problem with Phoebe. I just couldn’t warm to her, and sadly it didn’t change throughout the whole book. The way she was everywhere around the house was for me a little confusing because well, she was a cook, right, not a manager or something like this and I just couldn’t stop thinking that she was just meddling, she just wanted to know everything. I could understand her being a part of the Book Club but her taking part in all the confidential meetings? For me – too strange. Also, I couldn’t help the feel that she’s very pushy, that she’s expecting all people to like her and do as she wishes. The way she was around Nick – though it can also go the other way round because Nick was not much better – was incredibly childish, she was assuming things and she also was expecting things without telling a word. Phoebe’s family was also not the most charming one, what with her father’s first questions when she came to visit was what food did she bring this time for example. The whole thing with her mother who seemed not to value and appreciate her daughter’s job – why can’t you simply tell your daughter that you’re proud of her, instead leaving her in the belief that she’s a disappointment to you? Somehow strange, somehow not working for me.
The promised plan to save the Friendship House appeared on the pages somewhere around the middle – relatively late for my liking. Except for one or two chapters where the characters tried to sabotage the owner’s new plan there was actually nothing more on this subject. Sadly – it could be brilliantly refreshing. Some of the things happened so out of the blue, like the chapter when Phoebe meets Bill – it happened so suddenly and only because it was needed for the rest of the story, to complicate things a little – so convenient.
The intrigue was such a great idea however it lacked in execution, but throughout we got to know the residents of the house much better – and it doesn’t happen often but personally I think that the characters in this book were better developed than the plot – , together with their secrets and often poignant pasts. But there are also other things to keep you hooked to the pages, as there is are also some romances with happy – or not – endings, some broken hearts, some family secrets and lies.
It was this kind of book where – unfortunately – synopsis is better than the story. I loved this blurb and I started reading this book with great expectation, hoping for brilliant antics and fun. Maybe it’s me, maybe I’m expecting too much but if a book doesn’t work for me then it simply doesn’t work. altogether it was a light and uplifting read about friendship and second chances, about accepting people just as they are. If you like your characters to be a little overdone and for the things to go smoothly with a few predictable twists and turns, then don’t hesitate and go for this book. It has this feel – good factor to it and the background characters – the residents of the house – are wonderful, colourful bunch of characters, with their foibles and habits, that add tons of humour to this book.