The Great Escape from Woodlands Nursing Home by Joanna Nell #BookReview #HodderandStoughton #NetGalley #4*

At nearly ninety, retired nature writer Hattie Bloom prefers the company of birds to people, but when a fall lands her in a nursing home she struggles to cope with the loss of independence and privacy.

From the confines of her ‘room with a view’ – of the car park! – she dreams of escape.

Fellow ‘inmate’, the gregarious, would-be comedian Walter Clements also plans on returning home as soon as he is fit and able to take charge of his mobility scooter.

When Hattie and Walter officially meet at The Night Owls, a clandestine club run by Sister Bronwyn and her dog, Queenie, they seem at odds. But when Sister Bronwyn is dismissed over her unconventional approach to aged care, they must join forces – and very slowly, an unlikely, unexpected friendship begins to grow.

Full of wisdom and warmth, The Great Escape from Woodlands Nursing Home is a gorgeously poignant, hilarious story showing that it is never too late to laugh – or to love.

Poignant and Memorable!

Having read and enjoyed The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village, I’ve been looking forward to this one!

Hattie Bloom is dismayed to be forced to convalesce after a fall; she has lived in her cottage surrounded by wildlife all her life and really doesn’t fancy being stuck in a nursing home and dreams of ‘breaking out’. Walter Clements is already a resident in the home and all that stops him from returning home is the red tape preventing him from using his mobility scooter. When they meet Sister Bronwyn’s and Queenie, her dog, at the unconventional club, The Night Owls, Hattie and Walter don’t really get on but when Bronwyn loses her job, they need to work together and a friendship takes it’s first tentative steps.

As with her previous novel, Joanna Nell reminds us all that getting older doesn’t mean stopping living and there is never a dull moment! A great story, packed with memorable characters and beautifully written, this is a book which will also prod at the conscience of anyone who regards the elderly as having nothing to offer in today’s world. This is such good fun but with an undertone of reality throughout. There are some very poignant moments, adding up to a very good read and one I’m happy to give four stars.

My thanks to the publisher for my copy via NetGalley; this is – as always – my honest, original and unbiased review.

Tags: women’s humorous fiction

Joanna Nell is a Sydney-based writer, GP and advocate for positive ageing. Her bestselling debut novel The Single Ladies of Jacaranda Retirement Village was published in 2018 with rights sold internationally. Her second novel The Last Voyage of Mrs Henry Parker was published in 2019.

Joanna’s award winning short fiction has been published in a number of magazines, journals and short story anthologies including Award Winning Australian Writing. She has also written for The Sydney Morning Herald’s Spectrum and Sunday Life magazines.


Twitter: @Jo_nell_writer

Facebook: @Joannanellwriter

Instagram: @joanna_nell_writer

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