So many of the books I read have main characters that are in the 20s and 30s and those days are long gone for me. I still enjoy them, but I love when I find books with characters that are closer to my age. (65). Judy Leigh is definitely a go to author for me when looking for more mature characters. I haven’t read a lot of Samantha Tonge’s books, but will be checking her backlist after reading Lost Luggage. If you enjoy books with older characters, a bit of romance, people enjoying life and friendship, check out these books.

The Highland Hens by Judy Leigh 

Published August 4th 2022 by Boldwood Books Ltd

5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

In the Highland Hen’s we meet eighty-eight-year-old Mimi McKinlay who lives in Glen Carrick House overlooking Scotland’s famous Loch Ness. Her three sons care for her; Hamish has inherited his mother’s musical talents, Fin is the responsible brother, and Angus has the complicated and brooding personality to match his dashing good looks. They are concerned that Mimi is living in the past when she was on stage, and not enjoying her present day life. Enter 59 year old, Jess Oliver, who has recently gone through an amicable divorce and is on holiday in the Highlands. She meets Mimi after answering an advert that Finn placed to find a companion for his mother, and they connect forming a friendship that will change both their lives.

The best thing about Judy Leigh’s books is that I can see myself in her characters. It is nice to read a book with characters that are more mature and still enjoying life. Mimi is an older character who fluctuates between her memories, periods where I wasn’t sure she wasn’t a bit touched, and regret for what she missed in her life. Her best friend Isabella kept her young, going out on the town and regaling everyone with their stories. Jess was smothered by her husband, so has not really lived much, this was her big chance. I loved Mimi’s sons. They were so dedicated to their mom, it was wonderful. They all have issues and things going on in their lives as well, that add to the story. There was a lot of emotion in this book, warmth, affection, humour, regret, love and sadness. The descriptions were wonderful and having stayed a couple of days in Drumnadrochit a few years ago, it brought back pleasant memories. I didn’t make it to Skye, but the description of that area has me wanting to go back to Scotland soon. As with all of Judy Leigh’s books there is some romance in this one, but that is not what this book is about. It is about friendship and living and enjoying life. I highly recommend this one.

Lost Luggage by Samantha Tonge

Published September 22nd 2022 by Boldwood Books

4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sisters, Dolly and Greta, have a tradition where every year they to go to a lost luggage auction and bid on a suitcase which they give each other as Christmas presents. This year Dolly is on her own since Greta has passed away. Dolly decides she will still go to the auction in honour of Greta. When she opens the suitcase she purchased, she finds a notebook of a reclusive woman who has hardly been outside for an entire year. Phoebe had planned a list of firsts, so with the support of her neighbours, retired Leroy and eleven year old Flo, Dolly decides that she will complete the list. At seventy-two, it is interesting to see if Dolly can have a list of firsts.

I found the idea of a lost luggage auction interesting. What would you learn about the person whose luggage you purchased? How would that affect your life? I’m pretty sure Dolly didn’t expect how her life would change. The characters were very well developed from Dolly to her gay neighbour whose partner had just left him, to the eleven year old girl who is having trouble fitting in with others her own age. I liked how these friendships were multi-generational. I did find the story slow to start, but once Dolly starts completing “the firsts”, the story picks up. As the story progresses we also learn about Dolly’s and Greta’s life together. I don’t want to spoil this book for you, so will say no more about the plot. I will say that this book made me feel good. It was definitely uplifting and I loved how all the various storylines come together at the end. There were a lot of secrets that were the source of why various characters lives were the way they were. There are also many issues that the author touches upon that will make you think. As much as this story is called “Lost Luggage”, once Phoebe’s suitcase is found, it sets the characters on a road to find many other things; finding themselves, secrets, friendships, connections, and finding out what really matters. Another winner from Samantha Tonge.

The Golden Oldies’ Book Club by Judy Leigh

Published December 6th 2022 by Boldwood Books

5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Golden Oldies is set in the small village of Combe Pomeroy. We meet a bookclub, The Golden Oldies, made up of Ruby, the librarian who feels like life has passed her by, Aurora, seventy-two years old and full of energy, Verity, married to a grump, Danielle, tired of her cheating husband and Jeannie, the owner of the local cider farm and heartbeat of her family and community. She is getting tired and contemplating retirement. All these women are a various ages, but most of them are mature characters. When discussing The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the group decide an exchange trip to France is just the thing for all of them to get a much needed getaway. A trip to a cider farm and other excursions spur the ladies on to make changes. After returning home they begin to move forward supporting each other along the way, and when some of the people they met in France come to visit them, even more magic and happiness occurs.

The Golden Oldies’ Book Club by Judy Leigh is a heartwarming novel about love and friendship, community and companionship, and of course how the love for books and reading can bring people together. I loved all the characters, except for the misogynistic Mark, who is Verity’s husband and the only male member of the book club. They were all older women, which I loved, and they wanted more out of the life they had. I enjoyed seeing them hop over to France for their trip, forgetting their troubles for awhile and making decisions of what they were going to do next. Their adventures were hilarious, doing some things I had not heard of. The scenes of them land yachting in their yellow helmets was so funny. Being a reader, I loved all the conversation around books and think maybe I need to read Lady Chatterley’s Lover. This was a wonderful, uplifting story where we learn it is never too late to start over, find romance or make changes in your life. Once again, Judy Leigh left me with a satisfying smile on my face when I finished reading this one.