January 15, 2021
Genre/Categories: Contemporary Fiction, Humor, Friendship
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Hattie Bloom is eighty-nine and she prefers birds to people and loves living alone in her small (although decrepit) home surrounded by her trees, plants, and feathered friends. Hattie is especially worried about an owl nest in a tree that the neighbors want to cut down. While climbing the tree, Hattie falls and ends up in a nursing home for rehab. She doesn’t adjust well to her new environment and entertains ideas of escape. Harold is another resident of the home that also dreams of escape. Hattie and Harold meet at the Night Owls social hour organized by a beloved nurse who desires to provide services for the residents who have a difficult time sleeping at night. Hattie and Howard join forces in unsuspecting ways.
Quirky Characters: I love quirky characters and especially more mature quirky characters! Click here for a list of a few of my favorite quirky characters. Hattie and Harold will definitely have a place on my list! Hattie is grieving the loss of her privacy and independence. She’s determined, a nature lover and nature writer, a reader, self contained, blunt, reclusive, and mentally sharp. Harold is a people person, a ladies’ man, humorous, determined, a proud driving instructor, a wannabe standup comedian, determined to acquire a license to ride his mobility scooter, and a good friend. Completely opposite, will reserved Hattie and optimistic Harold become friends? Will they make their escape? Can they work together to save a beloved nurse?
Don’t underestimate them!
“Everyone expects so little of us, expects us to be completely incapable. That’s our secret weapon. Our disguise, if you like.”
Writing: Joanna Nell writes a heartwarming and uplifting story filled with humor, insights, and empathy. She draws complex, likable, and relatable characters. Although The Great Escape was thoroughly enjoyable, the ending really landed it! The ending is strong, compelling, poignant, and pulls everything together nicely, landing this in the “memorable read” category.
I also appreciate that Joanna Nell’s experience as a GP and her nursing home visits informs a great deal of her research and writing for this story. You can sense that she admires, respects, and adores her characters.
Themes: Thoughtful themes in The Great Escape include friendship, taking risks, determination, adjusting to life’s circumstances, kindness, independence, and the nursing home environment.
Recommended: I’m highly recommending The Great Escape From Woodlands Nursing Home for fans of quirky characters, for readers who love more mature characters, for those who might have an interest in the mental health of nursing home residents, and for those looking for a heartfelt, feel good, “uplit” story! Book clubs might love it!
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Meet the Author, Joanna Nell
Joanna Nell was born in the Midlands and graduated from Oxford University with a medical degree in 1991.
In 2003 she moved to Australia where she now works as a GP with a passion for women’s health and care of the elderly.
Joanna writes character-driven stories of self-discovery for women of a certain age, creating young-at-heart characters who break the rules and defy society’s expectations.
She lives on Sydney’s Northern Beaches with her husband and two children. THE SINGLE LADIES OF JACARANDA VILLAGE is her first novel.
Is The Great Escape From Woodlands Nursing Home on your TBR or have you read it?
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