A Grand Old Time
‘Brilliantly funny, emotional and uplifting’ Miranda DickinsonA funny and heartwarming debut for fans of Celia Imrie and Dawn French.Evie Gallagher is regretting her hasty move into a care home. She may be seventy-five and recently widowed, but she’s absolutely not dead yet. And so, one morning, Evie walks out of Sheldon Lodge and sets off on a Great Adventure across Europe.But not everyone thinks Great Adventures are appropriate for women of Evie’s age, least of all her son Brendan and his wife Maura, who follow a trail of puzzling text messages to bring her home.When they finally catch up with her, there are shocks in store . . . because while Brendan may have given up on life and love, Evie certainly has not.'Lovely . . . a book that assures that life is far from over at seventy' Cathy Hopkins, bestselling author of The Kicking the Bucket List’Brimming with warmth, humour and a love of life… a wonderful escapade’ Fiona Gibson, bestselling author of The Woman Who Upped and Left

A Grand Old Time Details

TitleA Grand Old Time
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 3rd, 2018
PublisherAvon
ISBN-139780008269197
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Womens Fiction

A Grand Old Time Review

  • Dash fan
    January 1, 1970
    5☆ I Loved Evie... She has a Passion and Zest for life... I want to go travelling with her! At 75 years young Evie has a real zest for life and Sheldon Lodge care home is zapping the life right out of her!Lol i love Evie.... she's quick witted, independent, loveable, sarcastic, clever and had me laughing out loud pretty much the whole way through!Her swearing made me giggle she reminds me so much of my Nan. Speaks her mind, but has a heart of gold and likes the odd tipple! I so 5☆ I Loved Evie... She has a Passion and Zest for life... I want to go travelling with her! At 75 years young Evie has a real zest for life and Sheldon Lodge care home is zapping the life right out of her!Lol i love Evie.... she's quick witted, independent, loveable, sarcastic, clever and had me laughing out loud pretty much the whole way through!Her swearing made me giggle she reminds me so much of my Nan. Speaks her mind, but has a heart of gold and likes the odd tipple! I so want to party with Evie it would be a Hoot!!Her son Brendan, hen pecked by his wife Maura. Under the thumb and in a loveless Marriage.  Brendan is 39years old a P.E Teacher who also Teaches English at a secondary school.Maura a receptionist at the local G.P surgery. Evie really is having a fabulous adventure.With a made up alter ego, She steps into a back alley betting shop. Places five hundred euros on Lucky Jim (after her late husband) And wins over fifty thousand euros, by backing the outsider.Now On a plane to Liverpool from Dublin and drunk on champagne.Evie has a new Alter Ego... she is now Rock Star Bono's Mum lolEvie is brilliant! Her Alter Egos just keep getting wilder! She's full of mischief! She even has a Alter Ego called Eartha Windass, who is an Actress making Pornographic films. I laughed so hard I had tears!! She has such a vivid imagination. Evie also has had some tragedy as we uncover along the way. Her marriage to Jim left her with three miscarriages. Her forth pregnancy was the lucky birth of Brendan.You see the number 4 is Evie's lucky number. Ever since her father gave her a four leaf clover.As Evie settles in with Kat and Maddie who she meets in France as they rescue her.She realises she wants to travel and when she spies a Campervan she buys it and sets out on an adventure around France visiting the Vineyards, Mountains etc..Unbeknownst to her, Brendan and Maura are hot on her heels. Brendan is determined to track her down. Whilst Maura has other ideas... she's hoping it will rekindle their love for one and other in the beautiful romantic city of France.I want to take time to applaud Judy Leigh for creating such loveable memorable characters. That made me laugh and cry and laugh again.Judy really created the ambience of the places Evie visited perfectly.They was beautifully descriptive and I felt like I was actually part of the story alongside Evie. As much as Grand Old Time is a hilarious, heartwarming, crazy Mishaps and Mayhem it also highlights a very important message no matter what age you are loneliness is agonising and depressing.Also it highlights no matter what age you are you can still be young at heart and have a passion and zest for life. Just because you reach a certain age doesn't mean you can't have fun!Next time you see someone who is of the older generation maybe say hello or give a smile and acknowledge they exist. That might be you one day needing a friendly smile. A smile goes a long way when you are lonely.It really made a refreshing change to read a heartwarming story from the older lady.I have had relatives go into care homes and they are all so very different.I believe Evie did the right thing breaking free. She wasn't ready to be tied down.Grand Old Time truly is a gem of a book.One that has made an imprint on my heart that I will remember for a very long time. I can't wait to tell everyone about Evie and her crazy adventures.She truly is an inspiration and I hope I'm like her at 75! If you read one book that is a little different this month let it be Grand Old Time! You won't regret It! Thank you to Avon Books for this copy which I reviewed honestly and voluntarily.My Review is also on my blog website:https://dashfan81.blogspot.com/2018/0...
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  • Shirley Revill
    January 1, 1970
    I am so very sorry that I have finished listening to the story of Evie Gallagher and what a story it turned out to be.Evie recently widowed makes a very wrong decision in her life and in her grief moves into a care home. Her Son and daughter-in-law believe it is the right place for Evie for after all she is seventy five years of age and they believe she needs to be in care.One day Evie realises that everyone around her has given up on life and decides to leave the care home without t I am so very sorry that I have finished listening to the story of Evie Gallagher and what a story it turned out to be.Evie recently widowed makes a very wrong decision in her life and in her grief moves into a care home. Her Son and daughter-in-law believe it is the right place for Evie for after all she is seventy five years of age and they believe she needs to be in care.One day Evie realises that everyone around her has given up on life and decides to leave the care home without telling anyone what she has planned.Evie sets off in the quest to find life even buying a motor home on the way and what an adventure Evie has.This audiobook made me laugh and made me cry as it was such a soul touching story.I wish everyone i knew was like Evie because she certainly knows how to live.This audiobook deserves more than five stars. Highly recommended.
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  • D.M.
    January 1, 1970
    Evie is bored with her life. She lives in a care home, Sheldon lodge. Every day is the same. She wants some excitement. She doesn't want to live the life everyone expects. It's dull and too predictable. From Ireland to Liverpool and beyond. A little winning can go a long way. She meets some interesting characters and finds a second life. Evie's son Brendan loves his mother. His life has also become something he didn't expect. His wife doesn't look at him the way she once did. Their lives are too Evie is bored with her life. She lives in a care home, Sheldon lodge. Every day is the same. She wants some excitement. She doesn't want to live the life everyone expects. It's dull and too predictable. From Ireland to Liverpool and beyond. A little winning can go a long way. She meets some interesting characters and finds a second life. Evie's son Brendan loves his mother. His life has also become something he didn't expect. His wife doesn't look at him the way she once did. Their lives are too routine. Evie is about to shake things up for them too. Evie has run off from the care home and Brendan has to track her down. A road trip across countries is in order. Brendan and his wife need a getaway this just wasn't what they had in mind. At 75 life doesn't have to be predictable. Live life to the full and enjoy your self. A Grand Old Time wasn't quite the read I expected but it was an okay read. Evie is unpredictable and a risk taker. She has her son chasing her. It's what he needs he just doesn't know it at the time. This book is for the rebellion at heart. Evie wasn't really my cup of tea and I would recommend you start with a sample of this books first. Evie isn't really a book reader :s. She also didn't start with a plan. I felt she was a little too naive and this story quite easily could have ended in disaster. 3 stars out of 5.*I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • G.J.
    January 1, 1970
    This is a lovely warm story of Evie Gallagher, 75 yrs old who rebells at living in a care home and goes off by herself for an adventure, what is not to like ? Evie is fun, brashy and brave and, I imagine is a good tonic if the reader is feeling “old” ! The book is not only about Evie however, it is also about her unhappy son Brendon who appears to be in the throes of a mid life crisis and is desperately unhappy.When I started reading this book I thought “ oh, this is all a bit far-fetched” This is a lovely warm story of Evie Gallagher, 75 yrs old who rebells at living in a care home and goes off by herself for an adventure, what is not to like ? Evie is fun, brashy and brave and, I imagine is a good tonic if the reader is feeling “old” ! The book is not only about Evie however, it is also about her unhappy son Brendon who appears to be in the throes of a mid life crisis and is desperately unhappy.When I started reading this book I thought “ oh, this is all a bit far-fetched” but I was wrong, it turned out to be delightful :-)
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  • Saxonjus
    January 1, 1970
    I thought id love this book. i liked the blurb and thought of 100 yr old man who climbed out of the window & disappeared/Harold Fry/A man called Ove. I started to read and started to get irtitated and angry re the main characters traits. Family members have dementia and i found the aithor had made the character a very child like personality. Swearing and pulling faces. A ludicrous plot of follow stranger to dodgy betting shop! then this 75 yr old started drinking lots and buying loads of tbo I thought id love this book. i liked the blurb and thought of 100 yr old man who climbed out of the window & disappeared/Harold Fry/A man called Ove. I started to read and started to get irtitated and angry re the main characters traits. Family members have dementia and i found the aithor had made the character a very child like personality. Swearing and pulling faces. A ludicrous plot of follow stranger to dodgy betting shop! then this 75 yr old started drinking lots and buying loads of tbongs whilst being reported missing from care home! Police do not track cards or passports? It got even more far fetched in France. thumbing lifts! stumbling round countryside in a clapped out [email protected] 75 and driving ins? as escaped care home? drinking more and supposedly fumny escapades; meeting people in french towns adv a actress working on a porn film. I boiled with rage at this stage re the weird disturbing description by the author. I found it not a good light into a 75 yr old womans mind. The son a real meek and wishy washy character stuck in a dead end school jpb and having a late crush on colleague. His wife made out a sour pusd etc.... a few pages later and all characters change. From bordering insanity to wise old lady to wishy washy son makes good. no, no , no not for me. Left a sour note for me and i hated mockery of vulnerable older people
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  • Christine Allen
    January 1, 1970
    Pure drivel did not laugh once. Did not enjoy this book. Persevered to 40% but it didn’t get any better. Evie was a pain - her adventures were too far fetched and weren’t explained in enough detail. It just jumped along rather than flowed. The son and daughter in law were pathetic. Not recommended. NOT FUNNY AT ALL.
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  • CC
    January 1, 1970
    I'm in two minds about this book, because I genuinely loved Evie from the very beginning. She's witty and charming but also mischievous. Reading about her exploits for the first several chapters was great fun and I think if the book had carried on a bit more solidly in that vein I would have enjoyed it immensely. Unfortunately the side plot with Brenden and Maura felt like it plodded on, and I felt no particular sympathy for either of them. Frankly the villagers that we met later in France seeme I'm in two minds about this book, because I genuinely loved Evie from the very beginning. She's witty and charming but also mischievous. Reading about her exploits for the first several chapters was great fun and I think if the book had carried on a bit more solidly in that vein I would have enjoyed it immensely. Unfortunately the side plot with Brenden and Maura felt like it plodded on, and I felt no particular sympathy for either of them. Frankly the villagers that we met later in France seemed more interesting. Gripes aside, I thought Evie was completely lovable and even though her blissfully naive adventures are a bit far fetched even for fiction and yes, even though everything ends with a fairly standard neat bow, I'd still recommend this as an enjoyable feel-good type easy read.
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  • Elaine
    January 1, 1970
    What a brilliant adventure this proved to be - escaping from a care home, 75 year old Evie Gallagher sets out on a journey that will change her life and, inadvertently, that of her son and daughter-in-law, too! Evie had been depressed and given up on life after the death of her husband but she suddenly realises how boring life is in the care home she initially moved to in the hope of having more company. Unfortunately most of that company spends their lives sleeping! That’s when she packs her ba What a brilliant adventure this proved to be - escaping from a care home, 75 year old Evie Gallagher sets out on a journey that will change her life and, inadvertently, that of her son and daughter-in-law, too! Evie had been depressed and given up on life after the death of her husband but she suddenly realises how boring life is in the care home she initially moved to in the hope of having more company. Unfortunately most of that company spends their lives sleeping! That’s when she packs her bags, sneaks out and catches a bus at the start of her wanderings. The journey will have her travelling to Dublin, Liverpool and France, meeting people on her way. Some aren’t great folk but Evie has a way of influencing them as her confidence and zest for life - and love - is rekindled through her travels and the people she endeavours to help.Evie’s only child is her son, Brendan. He loves his Mum but his marriage isn’t what it used to be, it is too routine and the couple seem to have lost their joie de vivre together. However, setting off to ‘rescue’ Evie and bring her back home again takes this couple on their own journey to a very different HEA than they’d expected when they started!I can't believe this is a debut novel! It is a heartwarming, heartbreaking, funny and poignant story, taking the reader virtually along with Evie on the journey both physical and emotional. It shows that life doesn’t have to follow a set plan and sometimes shaking up expectations can prove life changing - rebellion rules! Although this could have been fraught with danger, things work out well and I found it an engaging, entertaining read, a great reminder that life is for living and not for vegetating to meet the expectations of others! There are plenty of twists and turns and I suspect this is one of those stories that I’ll remembered for years to come with a grin at the memories it evokes. I hope it'll inspire me to have adventures when I'm 75, too, though maybe not quite so unplanned!I requested and was lucky enough to be given a copy of this novel, via NetGalley, with no obligation. This is my honest review of the book after choosing to read it.
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  • Jemima Pett
    January 1, 1970
    There seems to be a growing rebellion among old people.  First The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, and now this.  I received an ARC from Net-Galley for this wonderfully funny and heart-warming (and heart-panging) book.Seventy-five year-old Evie starts her escape unsteadily, and finds herself regaining lost confidence.  That is a truth for many people who have been confined in some way, and then get the courage to say 'no'.  One of the many strengths of this bo There seems to be a growing rebellion among old people.  First The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared, and now this.  I received an ARC from Net-Galley for this wonderfully funny and heart-warming (and heart-panging) book.Seventy-five year-old Evie starts her escape unsteadily, and finds herself regaining lost confidence.  That is a truth for many people who have been confined in some way, and then get the courage to say 'no'.  One of the many strengths of this book is that Evie has many mishaps, and nearly gets herself into serious trouble.  Fortunately there are usually strangers (however strange) who help.  Having helped, they may be put upon for a while, until Evie finds the wisdom within herself to help them in return. And then she gets all sorts of ideas for further exploration - and since she has the means to do so, she gets going!A few steps behind is her worried son, and his inconsistent wife.  I say inconsistent, because she wafts from giving up on things (including her husband) to trying for one last time.  She's an interesting character, but not a likeable one. He's a bit of a wimp, but sees it as his duty to bring his mother 'home'.  It's all a great recipe for trials, tribulations, travel problems that are delightfully hilarious when you aren't involved in them, and anger from the reader who by now has sided entirely with his mum.I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it for anyone within planning distance of care homes, and for those who have had to consign a parent to one, knowing that she or she really cannot look after themselves.  If you have any doubts about that, take care not to let your guilt complex get worse by reading this. Although you may find it helps, in a strange sort of way!
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  • Tara
    January 1, 1970
    There are certain standout characters who stay with me for months (maybe even years) after I’ve finished a book – and Evie Gallagher is definitely one of them.The 75-year-old heroine of Judy Leigh’s debut is utterly captivating – she’s warm, funny, brave and real. Evie also gives a refreshing (and much needed) make-over to the image of older women; I want to be like her when I grow up!I find it hard to believe that this is a debut because the story is so accomplished with twists and There are certain standout characters who stay with me for months (maybe even years) after I’ve finished a book – and Evie Gallagher is definitely one of them.The 75-year-old heroine of Judy Leigh’s debut is utterly captivating – she’s warm, funny, brave and real. Evie also gives a refreshing (and much needed) make-over to the image of older women; I want to be like her when I grow up!I find it hard to believe that this is a debut because the story is so accomplished with twists and turns (no spoilers, promise) that kept me reading long into the night.Anyone who buys a camper van is already high on my list of people I would like to befriend but Evie is such a great character. It feels like she’s quite innocent, having led a rather sheltered life, but then she gets a glint in her eye that reveals she’s actually rather canny.And it’s not only Evie we get to meet, we also follow her son Brendan and his wife Maura as they journey to France to bring her home.Their troubled story is beautifully intertwined with Evie’s – and there are surprises in store for all of them.I laughed and cried but I also learnt a lot. While it might not be the done thing to mention film in a book review, I can definitely see A Grand Old Time being made into a film. It’s not that it isn’t a good read – it really is – but the characters are ripe for the big screen (I even spent some time picking who I would want to play Evie) as well as the plot itself. I would definitely go and see it and think it would be a crying shame if this is not picked up. I loved Evie. I loved this book. I can’t wait to read more of Judy’s work.With thanks to Avon Books for the ARC (via NetGalley) in return for my honest review.
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  • Fiona Mccormick
    January 1, 1970
    I adored this book! I want to be Evie! Evie is 75 and living in a care home in Dublin, mainly because she is recently widowed and thinks she will get some company by living there. She hates it! So she makes her escape, and has a grand adventure from Ireland to Liverpool and then on to France. Along the way, due to the luck of the Irish, she has a huge win on the horses, so is able to fund her trip comfortably. She shrugs off her old lady clothes, has a make over, makes friends, gets drunk and be I adored this book! I want to be Evie! Evie is 75 and living in a care home in Dublin, mainly because she is recently widowed and thinks she will get some company by living there. She hates it! So she makes her escape, and has a grand adventure from Ireland to Liverpool and then on to France. Along the way, due to the luck of the Irish, she has a huge win on the horses, so is able to fund her trip comfortably. She shrugs off her old lady clothes, has a make over, makes friends, gets drunk and becomes the independent women she always knew she could be.Her son Brendan is a right misery, married to Maura, they are coasting along in their marriage, but their journey to try to find Evie and bring her home leads them both to reevaluate their lives.Evie find happiness and heartbreak, and crams a whole lifetime into her few months of freedom. I love the descriptive writing in this book, Dublin, Liverpool and France come to life for me. The lifestyle in France is so wonderfully described, and Evie finds her true self here. There is a strong thread of humour throughout this book which really appealed to me, funny,moving, sad and real, this book is a real triumph and I wish the author every success with it!
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    My mum recommended this book to me, as a real feel-good tale, and I’m glad I read it. It tells the story of Evie who runs away from an old folk’s hold in which she is bored and stagnating, and goes on a road trip adventure in a camper van. There are so many lovely characters and idyllic descriptions of the places she visits so it’s a lovely summer read. Interwoven with Evie’s journey is the story of her son, who is also bored and stagnating in a marriage which has run out of love. The whole book My mum recommended this book to me, as a real feel-good tale, and I’m glad I read it. It tells the story of Evie who runs away from an old folk’s hold in which she is bored and stagnating, and goes on a road trip adventure in a camper van. There are so many lovely characters and idyllic descriptions of the places she visits so it’s a lovely summer read. Interwoven with Evie’s journey is the story of her son, who is also bored and stagnating in a marriage which has run out of love. The whole book explores the nature of love and what it is to be true to ourselves rather than to the roles society puts us in.
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  • Rachel Gilbey
    January 1, 1970
    This book is a lot of fun, and is one that I really enjoyed reading. Evie who is 75 has decided that living in a care home isn't really for her, and decides to leave without telling anyone. After a stroke of luck she ends up taking a fabulous road trip through France and meeting loads of great people. Her son Brendan whose marriage seems a bit rocky, decides he needs to set off in pursuit of his mum. So we have a book with two separate road trips going on, which takes in a lot of small villages This book is a lot of fun, and is one that I really enjoyed reading. Evie who is 75 has decided that living in a care home isn't really for her, and decides to leave without telling anyone. After a stroke of luck she ends up taking a fabulous road trip through France and meeting loads of great people. Her son Brendan whose marriage seems a bit rocky, decides he needs to set off in pursuit of his mum. So we have a book with two separate road trips going on, which takes in a lot of small villages in France and gives a great idea of the various places. Their two experiences are wildly different, and as much as I loved Evie's story, I just didn't take to Brendan and his wife Maura. He seemed like a real mummy's boy and just dissatisfied with everything and I really wasn't sure what to make of Maura. Evie on the other hand is a fabulous character, full of life and her imagination is wild! I loved Evies assorted antics and overall thought this was a very entertaining story and definitely an author to keep an eye on for future releases. Thank you to Netgalley and Avon for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.
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  • marlin1
    January 1, 1970
    A great affirmation that life can begin at 75!At 75 years of age, Evie has moved into Sheldon Lodge. She was transfixed by the Christmas lights and homeliness of it all as her family were selling her home after she became widowed. But now she’s realized she’s moved in far too early and she’s bored....and when she’s bored she gets mischievous. One morning, taking her purse with drivers licence, cheque card and a mobile her son gave her, Evie is ready for adventure.I really enjoy A great affirmation that life can begin at 75!At 75 years of age, Evie has moved into Sheldon Lodge. She was transfixed by the Christmas lights and homeliness of it all as her family were selling her home after she became widowed. But now she’s realized she’s moved in far too early and she’s bored....and when she’s bored she gets mischievous. One morning, taking her purse with drivers licence, cheque card and a mobile her son gave her, Evie is ready for adventure.I really enjoyed Evie and her experiences (no less because it’s what I would love to do one day in a little campervan myself). The descriptions of places and people she met while on her trip in France were quite vivid. Her son Brendan is worried about his mother and he and wife Maura travel to France to try and find her. Evie has been keeping in touch via text but she thinks they are back in England enjoying a summer holiday. Over time, this story becomes Brendan and wife Maura’s story as much as Evie’s and I loved that aspect, as they try and find a way through a stale marriage.A thoroughly enjoyable story, about setting priorities in your life and that you are never too old for love.Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for an ARC to read.
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  • Jeanette
    January 1, 1970
    A very enjoyable read! I rarely read this genre, but I was drawn to this book due to working in a care home myself several year's ago. I recall one persistent resident who had managed to drag dustbins to a wall to make his escape. It was surprising how far he managed to travel by buses, considering he had no money. This book certainly had me smiling and is a book that I would happily read again one day. Recommended.My thanks to Netgalley and the Publishers. This is my honest review.
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  • Sammy Jackson
    January 1, 1970
    What a really lovely read, Evie is wonderful character and dare I say on a par with the lovely Eleanor 😍
  • Amanda
    January 1, 1970
    ‘A Grand Old Time’ appealed to me on so many different levels. Firstly because it is a romantic comedy and secondly because I just love the idea of an elderly lady growing old somewhat disgracefully and rebelling by challenging the stereotype of the nice little old granny in a nursing home. I absolutely loved reading ‘A Grand Old Time’ but more about that in a bit.I have to say that Evie Gallagher sounded like a right old hoot. Life with her would be anything but boring. She has moved into ‘A Grand Old Time’ appealed to me on so many different levels. Firstly because it is a romantic comedy and secondly because I just love the idea of an elderly lady growing old somewhat disgracefully and rebelling by challenging the stereotype of the nice little old granny in a nursing home. I absolutely loved reading ‘A Grand Old Time’ but more about that in a bit.I have to say that Evie Gallagher sounded like a right old hoot. Life with her would be anything but boring. She has moved into a nursing home but she quickly realises that it isn’t for her. She wants to be out and about and doing stuff rather than just sat in a chair in the dayroom watching the television day in day out. When she escaped from the nursing home, I almost started humming the theme tune to ‘The Great Escape’ because it felt as though the nursing home was like Colditz and that Evie had escaped the guards. Evie is a game old bird in that she tries anything once and nothing is off limits. She’s the sort of granny I would have loved to have had as she sounds like a right laugh. After her great escape, Evie goes wild in that she bets on a horse for the first time, she flies on a plane on her own for the first time, she shops for Ireland and she gets a pretty radical haircut. That’s just some of her behaviours. She certainly had me chuckling along. She has one son, Brendan who is married to Maura. She loves Brendan to bits but I get the sense that Evie tolerates her daughter in law. Brendan panics when his mother goes AWOL, as you might expect, and he is worried sick about what she is up to. The roles have certainly been reversed in the relationship between Evie and Brendan, with Brendan taking the role of parent and Evie becoming a naughty child. This had me nodding along in agreement as I find myself doing the same sort of thing with my own mother. Brendan and his wife Maura have been desperate to have children and their apparent failure to conceive has placed the marriage under a great deal of pressure. Their sadness and grief over their lack of children seems to have driven a wedge between them. I had real concerns that Brendan and Maura had fallen out of love with each other. Will Evie succeed in her quest to live an exciting life with lots of laughs and romance? Will Brendan and Maura track Evie down and bring her back to Ireland? Does Evie want to go back to Ireland? Is Brendan and Maura’s marriage over for good? Well for the answers to those questions and more you are just going to have to read the book for yourselves to find out as my lips are sealed and I am not going to tell you.‘A Grand Old Time’ is one of those books that does what it says on the tin. By that I mean that it is described as being a laugh out loud, feel-good, heart-warming, romantic comedy and this perfectly describes the book. In fact I couldn’t have described it better myself. The author’s writing style is such that you can’t fail to be drawn in to the story from the first word on the first page and before you know it you are hooked on the story. The characters are so well written that you can’t help but take to them and I found myself really caring about what was happening to them. In fact, the characters were so well written that they seemed to come alive and be real. I became seriously addicted to reading ‘A Grand Old Time’ and because I was rooting for Evie and I wanted to see what big adventure she got up to next I had to keep reading on and on and on and you get the picture. ‘A Grand Old Time’ has a serious message too and that is that life doesn’t have to end just because you are old, it can actually be the beginning of a whole new life/ chapter in your life story and you don’t have to conform to stereotypes of the elderly.I absolutely loved everything about this book. The only negative thing about the book is that it had to end. I loved the writing style, the story and the characters so much that I just wanted the book to continue. I would definitely recommend this book to others. The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is 5* out of 5*.
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  • Rosemary Standeven
    January 1, 1970
    A lovely book about an older person finding a new lease on life. Evie’s life seemed to be at its end when she moved into the Sheldon Lodge Care Home. It probably wasn’t a bad care home, as these things go, but it was unbearably boring and lifeless. The books on offer chosen to sedate rather than excite the reader’s mind, (poor) wine restricted to one glass an evening (if that), and most of the residents spending their days staring blankly at a TV screen. So, Evie, at a youngish 75 and still in p A lovely book about an older person finding a new lease on life. Evie’s life seemed to be at its end when she moved into the Sheldon Lodge Care Home. It probably wasn’t a bad care home, as these things go, but it was unbearably boring and lifeless. The books on offer chosen to sedate rather than excite the reader’s mind, (poor) wine restricted to one glass an evening (if that), and most of the residents spending their days staring blankly at a TV screen. So, Evie, at a youngish 75 and still in possession of all her marbles, rebels – and walks out. Her first move is to go to Dublin, buy at hat and then follows a man she has only just met, down a dark alley … [alarm bell start ringing!] to a betting shop, where she impulsively puts five hundred Euro on a rank outsider – and wins. With now vast sums at her disposal, there is no way she is going to return to a life of unbearable tedium. She wants a new life, a makeover, an adventure. Next stop Liverpool, then France. Evie is such a gregarious, sociable person, who is always open to new experiences. She does take some risks, that even a much younger person might think twice about, but everywhere she goes, she makes new friends, and these friends come to her aid when it is needed. Away from the stultifying Mills & Boon books of Sheldon Lodge, she is introduced to the joys of real literature, and decides to model herself on Simone de Beauvoir, who “had strong views on a woman’s place and what to expect from the world; she believed that women should demand more of life and of themselves”. So, Evie matures from a staid elderly Irish housewife and mother into an independent, free-spirited, free-thinking (and drinking) feminist woman, who is ready for anything the world chooses to throw at her. Her son, Brendon, is horrified when Evie absconds, and vows to save her from herself. He and his wife, Maura, set off to bring her home, and end up chasing her across France. Brendon and Maura’s marriage is on the rocks. At first, I felt sorry for Brendon – but then realised that for the first third of the book, everything is reported from his (or Evie’s) point of view, and Maura gets little look in. Part way into their trip across France, my sympathies completely switched to Maura, who was desperately trying to keep their marriage together. Brendon came across as a prevaricating, spoilt, selfish, mummy’s-boy, who cannot decide whether his marriage is worth fighting for or not. He sees himself as his mother’s knight in shining armour, and refuses to see that neither his mother, nor his wife need to be saved, they just need his love, and respect. When Evie decides to settle down again, it is in an area so far removed from Sheldon Lodge as possible. But she is ecstatically happy – maybe for the first time ever – surrounded by good friends, living a good and worthwhile life. The years have fallen away from her, and she is a productive member of a community once more.I loved this book. Evie reminded me of a number of elderly female relatives, who have never seen age as a barrier to new experiences. One aunt, aged about 85, travelled alone from New Zealand to Italy to go on a language course for several weeks, returning via a three-day stopover in Bangkok. My mother-in-law (UK), now widowed, travels into Europe at least twice a year, although she has said that, now at ninety-one, she may stop. Evie’s travels in her camper van, bring back wonderful memories of the trip around Europe, that my husband and I made, living in a caravan for 15 months, deciding our next destination on the spur of the moment, meeting so many new people along the way (many were older citizens rejoicing in their retirement). Wine played a major part in our trip too.My only wish, at the end of this book, is that Evie would go to Amsterdam and meet Hendrik Groen and his Not-Dead-Yet” club, so my two favourite elderly fictional characters could share the same story.I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
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  • Rebeka Várnagy
    January 1, 1970
    4.5? My heart is so happy
  • Lora Carney
    January 1, 1970
    This reminds me a little of a senior version of Ferris Beuller's Day Off. A 75-year-old woman is bored with life at a retirement home and regrets getting talked into selling her house and moving into the facility. One day she takes her purse and cards and wanders out for a day in the city of Dublin for a change of scene.Her adventures start pretty quickly. She buys a hat and coat to change her image and falls into 'interesting' company who leads her into trying things she has never d This reminds me a little of a senior version of Ferris Beuller's Day Off. A 75-year-old woman is bored with life at a retirement home and regrets getting talked into selling her house and moving into the facility. One day she takes her purse and cards and wanders out for a day in the city of Dublin for a change of scene.Her adventures start pretty quickly. She buys a hat and coat to change her image and falls into 'interesting' company who leads her into trying things she has never done before, like gambling. It all escalates from there and becomes a fascinating journey with many twists and turns, sometimes relying on the luck of the Irish in ways that nudge belief a little far.I like Evie, the main character. I also like that she was an older character and brought both life experience and attitude to her role. There were a lot of surprises in her story and I enjoyed the read for the most part. I thought a secondary storyline about her son and his wife was drawn out a little too long in the later chapters. I started out not liking Maura and ended not thinking much of Brendan either, but they did add some comic relief to the story.The later part of the story settled into predictability but I'm glad all the loose ends were tied up. The majority of the tale was great fun and appealed to my sense of rebellion and the sort of old lady I aspire to be when the time comes.
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  • Joanne D'Arcy
    January 1, 1970
    Evie has moved into a care home. She is only 75 and cannot see why she is in there when she looks round at all the other residents. So she decides to leave and carrying on living her life.Trouble is she doesn't tell anyone. A trip from Ireland to Liverpool and a lot of luck on the way finds Evie with money to burn and making her way across France.Brendan is Evie's only son. His marriage is in crisis, his career is stagnant and he appears to have lost the zest for life and Evie has moved into a care home. She is only 75 and cannot see why she is in there when she looks round at all the other residents. So she decides to leave and carrying on living her life.Trouble is she doesn't tell anyone. A trip from Ireland to Liverpool and a lot of luck on the way finds Evie with money to burn and making her way across France.Brendan is Evie's only son. His marriage is in crisis, his career is stagnant and he appears to have lost the zest for life and the love of everything.When he discovers his mother's disappearance he sets out to bring her home. Just as he thinks he is getting closer, it seems he is actually further away.We follow Evie as she makes her way across France, discovering new friends young and old as well as new tastes in food, music, culture, wine and a simpler way of living. She has nothing to lose and tells it how it is, whilst her abruptness might be despised by many, it brings her a new lease of life. I enjoyed this part of the book, I felt I was reading almost a travelogue and a self-help book all rolled into one.Then you get to Brendan's story and I wanted to cry,because I could see the deep depression he was in and I felt it. I felt he was trapped and could not find any joy in life anymore. Despite being a beautiful part of the world looking for his mother. Maura, his wife was rather irritating at the beginning but as the story progresses as they go to France to find Evie, I changed my mind about her, ironically just as Evie does.This is a beautifully subtle novel which deals with many emotions: fear at getting old, at losing someone or something. A deep-rooted sadness which looks like it will consume once it has got hold. Balancing it out with joy, love, trust and admiration for others who can help you find your own self and your own way.I thought this was a seasoned author with many novels to her name. No this is her debut. Her characters are strong and weak, they have their faults and the author has not been afraid of exposing the harsher side of ageing but she also shows that life goes on and in fact you can start or restart living it at any age.Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for the opportunity to read this novel. 
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  • Kim Shelley
    January 1, 1970
    Firstly thank you to Netgalley and Avon for this ARC copy of A Grand Old Time for my honest review.I loved this book! It's a laugh out loud read, and yes I did get some funny looks at the train station when I laughed out loud! This book also left me crying as I really felt for Evie towards the end. I want to be Evie when I'm 75 and if I'm anything different to Evie, someone needs to step up and say something! This was so much fun and such a lighthearted read! I definitely needed some Firstly thank you to Netgalley and Avon for this ARC copy of A Grand Old Time for my honest review.I loved this book! It's a laugh out loud read, and yes I did get some funny looks at the train station when I laughed out loud! This book also left me crying as I really felt for Evie towards the end. I want to be Evie when I'm 75 and if I'm anything different to Evie, someone needs to step up and say something! This was so much fun and such a lighthearted read! I definitely needed something like this and it truly didn't disappoint. I didn't like that fact that a lot of people Evie met on her travels were very stereotypical and because she is "old" she shouldn't be allowed to travel on her own. She had the right idea and I think I'd have to say "feck the lot of em!"Evie also found love at 75! Who said you're too old for love? On her trail is her son and daughter in law, Brendan and Maura. I felt for this couple, they were trying so hard, neither of them happy in their marriage but they go on this road trip anyway and 6 weeks later finally catch up to Evie.I loved the characters and certainly grew attached to them all. This book just flowed and I really didn't want it to end. This is a heartfelt, summery, emotional read. I loved every second of it! For this reason I'm going to have to give a 5/5 rating and I'm now going to have to keep an eye out for more by Judy Leigh.
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  • Katja
    January 1, 1970
    It was not lough-out-loud, nor did I find it comedy, really. A lovely enough read, mostly, and definitely more drama than comedy. Leaning towards irritating with Brendan character - I was hoping it was more of Evie and the son to be mainly an afterthought character.
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  • Mrs. Moira McGeough
    January 1, 1970
    I have a weakness for stories about naughty elders.... I'd like to be one myself. Evie Gallagher fits the bill perfectly. Realizing that moving into a care home after the death of her husband was a big mistake, she leaves without telling anyone. There follows a series of mad adventures in which she recovers her zest for life, makes friends and finds love. Her son Brendan, who has got into a discontented rut, and his wife Maura, who is desperate to find the "old Brendan", try to track her down. T I have a weakness for stories about naughty elders.... I'd like to be one myself. Evie Gallagher fits the bill perfectly. Realizing that moving into a care home after the death of her husband was a big mistake, she leaves without telling anyone. There follows a series of mad adventures in which she recovers her zest for life, makes friends and finds love. Her son Brendan, who has got into a discontented rut, and his wife Maura, who is desperate to find the "old Brendan", try to track her down. They have their own adventures but Brendan seems determined to remain sunk in gloom, (in fact you feel like giving him a good slap!). All works out in the end with everyone's problems resolved.A funny, uplifting and sometimes moving story.
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  • Agi
    January 1, 1970
    "A Grand Old Time" is Judy Leigh's debut novel and as soon as I've spotted it and read the synopsis I just knew I want to read it. I had a feeling I'm going to adore the main character Evie - basically I love characters like hers, already a little older than your average characters, experienced but not trying to teach the whole world their only truths, not patronizing and behaving as if they were knowing everything better. Besides, anyone who buys a camper van on the spur of the moment is really "A Grand Old Time" is Judy Leigh's debut novel and as soon as I've spotted it and read the synopsis I just knew I want to read it. I had a feeling I'm going to adore the main character Evie - basically I love characters like hers, already a little older than your average characters, experienced but not trying to teach the whole world their only truths, not patronizing and behaving as if they were knowing everything better. Besides, anyone who buys a camper van on the spur of the moment is really high on my list.Our Evie is seventy - five and living in Sheldon Lodge, a care home. She's unhappy there. She feels she has still a lot to live and see but the care home just clips her wings and makes her sad. She wants excitement. So Evie runs off on a road trip across some countries - just my kind of a girl. She wasn't afraid to take a risk and I liked it so much in her.I am not sure how we should feel about Maura. I had a feeling the author wanted us to dislike her, especially at the beginning, and buddy up with Brandon instead. However, I was on Maura's side to be honest. Yes, at the beginning she came across as a little spoiled and whingy and demanding but the more I got to know her and the more I got to know Brandon I found myself changing my mind. It was Brandon who was spoiled and whingy and demanding, and if the world's attention wasn't focused on Brandon he was offended. So basically it was also more Brandon's than Evie's journey to finding himself and it took him a lot of time (A LOT) to eventually realise what is really important for him. He was just like a little child, with his "Mammy" and moods. He liked to see himself as a knight in shining armour, be a saviour to his mother and his wife, not seeing that they don't need a rescue, they only need him and his love.It was a very descriptive story. There were not many dialogues, more inner monologues, and it took me some time to get into the flow of the story. I think I prefer when there are more dialogues and conversations, it just makes the reading quicker - and though the book was mostly a fast - paced one, there were too many passages that felt too slow and the tale dragging a bit. However, when I got used to the way the book was written, it didn't bother me and in the end I can say that I really like Judy Leigh's writing style. It's rich, but not over - done, and she brilliantly balances humour with seriousness and mixes funny moments with the most poignant ones.This book takes us on a journey from Dublin to Liverpool, from France to Spain, and you really couldn't be sure where Evie is going to stop, find new friends and something new to learn. The lifestyles of the French and Spanish friends are really well captured and realistically and vividly brought to life by the author. Sure, there were things that happened oh so conveniently on Evie's way, and yes, those unpleasant situations were probably made to counter - balance the Irish luck and make the journey a little more believable, but even with the things happening just like at your beck and call it was a lovely and warm story.Altogether, "A Grand Old Time" was a charming and unpredictable story, with a great cast of characters, very vivid and colourful. It was full of hope and despair, humour and emotions story about exploring life, love, friendship and relationships. I loved to see the twinkle in Evie's eye again, how she started to breath out again - life really doesn't end at 75! Copy provided by the publisher in return for an honest review.
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  • Pauline Coulthard
    January 1, 1970
    I loved this book, not the laugh out loud as stated, but charming and entertaining, I felt transported to France by the author, quite sad in places but thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
  • Anne
    January 1, 1970
    I will admit that I started this book not quite sure if it would be “me”. I’m 62, not 75 and the world of nursing homes is my mother’s territory, not mine. But Evie was such a great character that she won me over in the first few pages, an Irish mammy with wit and charm, and a total disregard for convention – the initial visit from son Brendan and his dragon-lady wife Maura was just fantastically written, and when Evie gathered together her essentials and decided to run, I found myself enthusias I will admit that I started this book not quite sure if it would be “me”. I’m 62, not 75 and the world of nursing homes is my mother’s territory, not mine. But Evie was such a great character that she won me over in the first few pages, an Irish mammy with wit and charm, and a total disregard for convention – the initial visit from son Brendan and his dragon-lady wife Maura was just fantastically written, and when Evie gathered together her essentials and decided to run, I found myself enthusiastically cheering her on.Her journey from that point on is absolutely wonderful, the people who cross her path all individually and perfectly drawn – many of them are on their own journeys too, trying to find their way, and Evie has her part to play in each of their stories. Journeys are a bit of a theme really. Brendan and Maura, following in hot pursuit, have rather lost their way – Brendan over-obsessed with a fellow teacher and unhappy with his lot, Maura cold and brittle, their marriage falling apart through neglect.I can’t tell you how the story turns out – it needs to be the reader’s journey too – but by its end I’d laughed, cringed, felt really concerned, giggled, cried (rather a lot) and emerged into the rosier future with a heart broken, mended, and singing with joy. The themes of never too late, second chances, finding joy in the little things and the complexities of marriage and family were so beautifully done, and this lovely book was everything I wanted it to be, and more. I have my role model for when I reach 75 and put on my own red beret – Evie, I loved you, and hope you have a long and happy future.
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  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    A Grand Old Time by Judy Leigh is a really fun contemporary novel that will have you in stitches. It debunks all the myths about seventy five year olds being 'over the hill'. Life is for living, no matter how old you are.The main theme is carpe diem - we are a long time dead - so seize the day and do something different. Begin to live again. Do not wait around for the future, grab the present with both hands and try something new.Judy Leigh has created a marvellous lead character in A Grand Old Time by Judy Leigh is a really fun contemporary novel that will have you in stitches. It debunks all the myths about seventy five year olds being 'over the hill'. Life is for living, no matter how old you are.The main theme is carpe diem - we are a long time dead - so seize the day and do something different. Begin to live again. Do not wait around for the future, grab the present with both hands and try something new.Judy Leigh has created a marvellous lead character in the form of seventy five year old Evie. She is fun. She is mischievous. She is brave. She is not content to live out her days in an old people's home that was "sucking the soul out of me." Evie shows how to grow old disgracefully. Life is an adventure to be had.There are two stories running parallel as the reader soon becomes acquainted with Evie's son Brendan. The cruel irony is there is more life in Evie than in Brendan. His staid life contrasts sharply with her life that is lived in colour.Life is what we make it. We can choose to live each day or we can wallow in despair. The choice is ours. It is never too late to begin again.I loved A Grand Old Time. It was fun. I 'lived' the novel with Evie. She had an air of joie de vrie about her and was really fun to be around.A pure escapist novel that I could not put down.I received this book for free from Net Galley. A favourable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
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  • Lynn Brown
    January 1, 1970
    What an absolutely charming book this is. We meet Evie in Sheldon Lodge - a care home where she is unhappy. She makes a bid for freedom and what follows is a real rip tide of an adventure for anyone let alone a 75 year old. Don't get me wrong I don't think 75 is old but the life Evie has led has been a little sheltered and so for her to embark on any journey let alone one on her own is inspiring to say the least.When Evie had a few knocks at the beginning I feared this was not going What an absolutely charming book this is. We meet Evie in Sheldon Lodge - a care home where she is unhappy. She makes a bid for freedom and what follows is a real rip tide of an adventure for anyone let alone a 75 year old. Don't get me wrong I don't think 75 is old but the life Evie has led has been a little sheltered and so for her to embark on any journey let alone one on her own is inspiring to say the least.When Evie had a few knocks at the beginning I feared this was not going to be a good read, realistic yes, but not enjoyable. However, that soon changed and I was routing all the way for Evie in her camper van. Most of all I loved all the little white lies (well some big lies really) that she told all she encountered, police officers included - daring of her, which I feel comes with age and nothing to lose.Meanwhile Evie has a son Brendan and he has his own unhappy life - married to Maura and stuck in a job he doesn't love. He and his wife take off to rescue Evie and have their own adventure in the meantime, as they never quite manage to catch up to Evie's last location.I loved the descriptive writing, it was a little escapism and at times with great sadness but I adored it all the same.I'm giving this book 5 out of 5 stars and my thanks go to Netgalley and Avon books for an advance copy for review.
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  • Alison Cairns
    January 1, 1970
    Evie Gallagher is a hero! Breaking stereotypes, showing age is no barrier to adventure or love. How she ended up in an old folk's home is ridiculous, healthy at a relatively young 75. I love how she comes to the realisation that she had never achieved her potential, but it didn't mean her life had been a bad one. I laughed out loud so may times, and I mourned with Evie too. I felt sorry for Brendan, always too serious. The book also showed human decency is still flourishing with all the help Evi Evie Gallagher is a hero! Breaking stereotypes, showing age is no barrier to adventure or love. How she ended up in an old folk's home is ridiculous, healthy at a relatively young 75. I love how she comes to the realisation that she had never achieved her potential, but it didn't mean her life had been a bad one. I laughed out loud so may times, and I mourned with Evie too. I felt sorry for Brendan, always too serious. The book also showed human decency is still flourishing with all the help Evie got on her travels, and I'd love to visit O'Driscoll's pub, sounds just like a bar I frequented during a year in Brittany! Such an enjoyable read.
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