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When Joey Rubin, an ambitious New York architect, arrives in the Cotswolds to oversee the restoration of an old stately home, she is very excited. Not only is the project very prestigious, but it also gives her the chance to catch up with her oldest friend, Sarah, who now lives in London. What she does not expect though, is to meet a charming group of elderly ladies who will teach her a thing or two about life. Nor does she expect to fall in love. Life, as she is about to find out, is never without its surprises nor, unfortunately, its complications.
When Joey Rubin arrives at Stanway House to oversee its renovations she is looking forward to the challenge of preserving its ties with one of her favourite authors, J.M.Barrie. It also means a change of scenery from her somewhat lonely life in New York as well as the opportunity for catching up with Sarah, her oldest and closest friend. However, things don't go quite according to plan as Sarah has changed out of all recognition and everything Joey says or does seem to cause offence.
The work would be a good distraction if it were not for Ian, the surly unfriendly caretaker, who also happens to be extremely attractive. Mind you he has had a lot to put up with being widowed at an early age and left to bring up a teenage daughter. Luckily, his daughter Lily warms to Joey instantly and then, much to her surprise she meets the most wonderful group of plucky, inspirational lady pensioners who swim each day in the local pond even in the middle of winter and call themselves 'the J.M.Barrie Ladies' Swimming Society'. They welcome Joey into their small group and perhaps for the first time she comes to understand what true friendship really means.
This is the first novel from author Barbara J. Zitwer and I really enjoyed it. It is a slow and leisurely read but thoroughly satisfying. It's a great book for exploring the value of friendship and also for celebrating ladies of a certain age. My only complaint is the fact that this group of feisty old ladies is not featured enough even though the book is named after them. Having said that though, Joey is a fascinating main character and I did enjoy reading about her too.
I found the book very readable and enjoyed the style in which it was written. It kept my interest all the way through and with less than three hundred pages it is a very quick read. The storyline is very enjoyable and so are the characters. I really liked reading about the interactions between the lady swimmers and they were all fabulous characters. I also enjoyed the insights into the life of J.M.Barrie and the connections he was supposed to have had with the house.
Overall, this is a very satisfying read and I definitely recommend it.
THis review has previously appeared under my name at www.thebookbag.co.uk