It’s always a good time for a road trip…
When 82-year-old Lil decides to book herself, her 65-year-old daughter, Cassie, and her friend Maggie on a bus trip across Europe, she hopes for a little adventure to counteract the monotony of life in sheltered accommodation.
Along with three members of the Salterley Tennis Club and the Jolly Weaver five-a side football team, whose ideas of a good time are rather different to Lil’s and strikingly at odds with each other’s, the merry band of travelers set out on their great adventure.
From moving moments on the beaches of Normandy, outrageous adventures in Amsterdam, to the beauty of Bruges and gastronomic delights of France, the holiday is just the tonic Lil, Maggie and Cassie needed.
And as the time approaches for them to head home, Lil makes an unexpected discovery – even in her
advancing years, men are like buses – there isn’t one for ages then two come along at once. Is Lil ready to share her golden years, and can the ladies embrace the fresh starts that the trip has given them. Or is it just too late to change…
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Judy Leigh is the bestselling author of A Grand Old Time and The Age of Misadventure and the doyenne of the ‘it’s never too late’ genre of women’s fiction. She has lived all over the UK from Liverpool to Cornwall, but currently resides in Somerset.
Lil’s Bus Trip is actually my first novel by Judy Leigh, even though her novels have been on my radar for a while. After reading this novel, I cannot wait to read her other works! The cover added to my anticipation to read the novel as there is just a sense of fun with the vibrant colors and the holiday back-drop. The novel even opens with the trip description, which I saved to add to my future travels. I have been lucky enough to travel to many of the destinations, but I still have many more to go. Although 82 year old Lil is in the title and one of the “official” main characters, the novel is full of a wonderful ensemble cast of all ages and personalities. While there is an overall light-hearted feel to the novel, it is balanced with a lot of heart and exploration into different obstacles that each character faces.
Lil is looking for a little excitement in her life after seeing the closed off life her friend Maggie leads where her life became about serving her husband. She hears about The Jolly Weaver’s bus tour while at the local pub and decides to sign up herself, Maggie, and her 65-years-old daughter, Cassie. They are joined by others from the pub, such as the owner and his father, along with members of the community. Together the tour takes the reader and characters through countries, such as France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. The pacing of the story, for me, was a little slow at first, but that was mostly due to an impatience of wanting to start the trip rather than the writing itself. In a time where I am anxious to travel, I wanted to skip ahead to the trip portion of the novel; however, when I actually took the time to read through the initial set-up it gave an excellent context for some of the characters. It was written well and was enjoyable, so the outline of the story worked well.
The characters along for the ride on the tour are all likeable in their own way. Some readers may love them all right away and others, like me, take some time to warm up to a few of them. The author created an excellent group as it felt very relatable to tours that a person would take in reality. While I have not done large scale tours, like Lil’s, I have done a few mini ones in places like Vietnam. My friend and I went on 5-day tour while there and our group was full of older and younger people, some couples, some traveling alone, and others with friends. It is the joys of being on a tour together as it brings together who may not have met in other circumstances. The novel does an excellent job of portraying this as the characters on the tour getting to know each other more as time moves forward. I also love that the characters were younger and older, but they all had a good time together as travel can be enjoyed by people of any age.
Overall, this is an excellent story about living life to the fullest. Each character, young and old, is on an amazing trip where there is unexpected moments of fun at every turn. I enjoyed that the writing did not limit the character growth just to the main characters and even the secondary ones went through their own journeys. Along with individual journeys, there is a lot of development in the friendships, both old and new, that form as well as some romantic subplots. All the different characters’ stories weave together well with Lil’s and Cassie’s at the center. The writing balances them well, so the reader does not become overwhelmed by the multiple plots and subplots. The story was an entertaining ride that brings together a wonderful cast of characters in some lovely travel destinations that makes me want to hurry up and travel again!
**I give a special thank you to Rachel @rararesources,, the publisher, and the author for the opportunity to participate with this enjoyable novel via Netgalley. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.**