Do you need a gentle, low stakes story with zero surprises to get you through a brain fog? Have I got the book for you.
Plot: Leena’s sister died last year after a protracted battle with cancer and she has not handled it well. In fact, she’s handling it poorly enough that her work, some consulting company, insists on her taking a paid 2 month sabbatical to get her head on straight. Her grandmother Eileen is also reeling from her husband of 50 years leaving her for a dance instructor. It seems they both need a change of scenery. So they switch. Leena stays in Yorkshire for two months, dealing with Eileen’s various commitments, and Eileen gets to spend the time in London getting her groove on. Shenanigans ensue.
This book is what you read when you really want to read but can’t seem to focus on anything and find everything too stressful. The bulk of the book is set in an idyllic town in Yorkshire, and even the parts set in London seem to be in a very friendly part of London where everyone just wants to be friends and have a little old lady from out of town meddle in their lives. Pretty much no one makes a mistake, and if they do, it is nearly instantly resolved. Conflict is so low key as to be nearly non-existent and, again, is generally resolved within the same chapter. This also means that to fill out the length of a book, there are a LOT of these small conflicts. A dog gets loose and they have to chase it for a few pages. A neighbour doesn’t like an idea Eileen has for the building and a few pages are needed to get her on side. The locals don’t trust Leena right away and she she to spend a few pages learning how to bake brownies to win them over. There’s a catfishing incident with literally zero consequences.
Every plot line is telegraphed from space and every resolution is tied up with a bow just as you’d think *reasonable* people would (eventually) behave. And hey, a 79 year old woman gets to have a no strings affair in London. There are not enough stories out there that recognize that people have sex drives past 40.
That said, a couple of minor content warnings: Obviously, a big part of the story is a family recovering from losing a family member to cancer. I imagine many cannonballers can relate and your level of comfort with the subject matter may vary. There is also a reference to a controlling relationship, though it is very very low key and, of course, resolved nearly as quickly as it comes up – it’s like 4 dialogue lines of raised voices. Oh, and though O’Leary’s last book was very much a romance, and this book has romantic story arcs in it, this book is not a romance, so don’t read it expecting that kind of story. The men are beyond secondary. You could have easily cut them out of the book entirely and lost little.
This book is the definition of gentle reading of mostly sweet people doing mostly nice stuff for each other which they appreciate.