The Mercury Travel Club by Helen Bridgett
Publisher: RedDoor Publishing
Publishing Date: 16th March 2017
Source: Received from the publisher in return for an honest review!
Number of pages: 308
Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction (Adult)
‘Hi, I’m Angela. My husband ran off with the caterer we hired for our daughter’s graduation party – pleased to meet you.’
Meet Angie Shepherd who, after 24 years and 11 months of marriage, finds herself divorced and driven by friends and family to move on. From hangover to makeover, Angie steps firmly away from the sensible knitwear, and launches into every adventure on offer – from baking classes and book groups, to speed dating, and even ‘The Granny-Okes’, a 1980s tribute act and YouTube sensation.
But Angie needs more than a bar of galaxy and a night in with Murder She Wrote… what she dreams of is entrepreneurial success. Channelling her inner Richard Branson, the light bulb moment happens: it’s time to take the plunge and invest her divorce settlement into The Mercury Travel Club, an exciting new business venture. But as the Travel Club gets going, things never go according to plan, and in this digital age a little chaos brings the fame she’s been looking for.
Set in present-day Manchester, this classic mid-life journey features the 1980s soundtrack from Angie’s youth, and sees her travel the world whilst coping with life after the Ex. Angie’s journey is the catalyst her friends need to examine their own lives; as they start to find their true callings, will Angie find hers? Witty, entertaining and laugh-out-loud funny, this feel-good debut novel shows it’s never too late for a second.
Every once in a while you see a book, you love the cover, you love the title, then you read the blurb and you immediately fell in love with it as well, and you know that you MUST read this book, no matter what. Well, it was like this with me and “The Mercury Travel Club”. It is a debut novel by Helen Bridgett and I love discovering new authors, as you already know, and I can assure you that we should all keep our eye on this author – she freely and easily delivered a light – hearted novel with a feel – good factor.
I also love to read about mature characters, who have already really experienced something in their live and not only have big mouth, and this book delivered them in dozens, and they were all so colourful and full of life. They are prone to accident, they have flaws and they seem to have an odd moment or two. The only character that I didn’t warm to at the beginning was Angie’s daughter Zoe, who was behaving like a spoiled child, even though she was over twenty, usurped the right to dictate how her mother should live and coming to terms with her father having a new life after divorce but not allowing her mother to do the same. Fortunately, later she seemed to grow up and she changed, and after all turned out to be a supporting daughter. But altogether, oh my word. The characters, they were brilliant, and the author put them through many ups and downs. There were baking classes, book clubs, speed dating, life coaching, travelling – they really had no time for boring in their lives. Patty, loud, taking no prisoners and always saying as it was, she complemented Angie in a great way and was a great support to her, but also with the most tender side to her. Angie’s mother, with her big mouth, the same as Patty with no holding back but she would do anything for her daughter. And then Angie herself – I loved her. She was so normal! She grieved over her marriage, she cried, she was deep down on her knees but she also always found her strength to stand up for herself. She had a great sense of humour and a heart in the right place – just have a look at Socks. Even though she felt hurt she was positively looking towards the future and she wasn’t afraid to take risks. She was really great and inspiring, just my favourite kind of character.
But. This book. It started brilliantly, full of things happening and with tons of hilarious sense of humour. But unfortunately later on it went a little downhill for me. Maybe it didn’t slow down, as there was always something new, it was really full of surprises, this novel, but it started to feel a little too flat and there was nothing new and refreshing. It actually took 60% to get to the cruise itself. Don’t get me wrong, please, I still adored this story, and I still loved Angie, my new best friend, but I just had a feeling we’re stuck in the rut. Some things took a lot of time, some were too rushed but altogether it was a great read, light and uplifting, just what the doctor ordered for me at the moment. What I really liked is that the author in a brilliant way managed to keep the borders between hilarity and too far – fetched. There were moments that the story balanced at the verge of being grotesque but Ms Bridgett always knew her limits and while the book is laugh out loud – y, it is still the greatest kind of humour. For example the Granny – Okes: it could go so, so wrong but they turned out to be wonderful, and Patty was just the best!
The chapters are short, which for me always makes the reading much quicker and more interesting – and also with a risk of addiction, you know this one, only one chapter more, and then you find yourself spending your beauty sleep on reading. They were also cleverly titled, always giving a small hint of what can happen. Also, the idea of the Mercury Travel Club was fantastic! Totally new and totally interesting and Angie was determined to make it successful, as it was her “baby”. I liked that the author made it so realistic, showing that starting a new idea is not only a walk in the park but that’s also a struggle requiring commitments and sacrifices sometimes, but Angie was then ready for the challenge.
“The Mercury Travel Club” was a lovely read with such a natural humour in the writing style. It was inviting, it was warm, full of scenes that made me snort with laughter but also full of poignant moments and I loved this mix. The cast of characters is unforgettable and Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” is playing in my head over and over again. Helen Bridgett’s writing style is warm and inviting and it flows effortlessly and seamlessly. The dialogues are hilarious, sharp and spot – on and make the story sparkle even more. If you are in a need of a story about being ready for challenges, for fighting the problems, finding your own feet after starting afresh, going after things that you dreamed about, or just of reading an uplifting, incredibly funny story, then “The Mercury Travel Club” by Helen Bridgett is your book! Highly recommended!