Characters! Characters! Characters!

The Beaches at Painter’s Cove (2017) by Shelley Noble has a little of everything going on throughout its pages…conflict, financial woes, mystery, a touch of romance, and a dysfunctional family.  Make that four generations of dysfunctional!

The opening pages of this novel had me a bit confused at first.  The introduction begins with a short paragraph dated 1962.  Then the storyline goes straight into the Present.  What stirred things up was the introduction of the characters.  Nine of the characters are mentioned, one right after another.  My head was spinning.  But, it all came together and was worth the read.

The setting of this fun read is the Whittaker family’s huge, old Connecticut mansion, Muses by the Sea.  Muses once played a very important role in history. Wes and Leo Whittaker had created a haven for those whose lives revolved around the arts.  The house is still filled almost to the rafters with reminders of those days gone by.

Now the mansion is not only showing its age but also its neglect.  Leo, matriarch of the family, still lives there.  Eccentric Aunt Fae also lives on the property but in an old guest cabin.  Fae is looked upon as the town crazy.  These two elderly women are unable to keep up with the ongoing repairs.

When Leo is taken to the hospital granddaughter Issy is called to handle the issues confronting Leo and Fae.  Issy is a very successful and busy exhibit designer for museums.  She is intimately familiar with the Muses.  You see Issy was raised by Wes and Leo when her mother Jillian took off and left her and sister Vivienne.

Vivienne seems to be following in her mother’s footsteps as far as child rearing goes.  She too recently dropped her three kids off at Muses by the Sea.  Vivienne does not say where she is going only that she will call.  Enter confused and scared Griffin, drama queen Mandy, and Stephanie, who appears sullen and angry.

More characters are woven into this tale of one summer in Connecticut.  Some not interested in what becomes of the rambling old home, or where Leo and Fae spend their final years of life. And, do not forget I mentioned mystery.  Afterall, what would a mansion be without some unusual happenings?

I did enjoy to my time spent with The Beach at Painter’s Cove, especially imagining the times that were once had within the walls of the grand mansion.  Of the many characters, I think my favorite was colorful Aunt Fae.  I think you will enjoy this fast read.

Sometimes you just have to take matters into your own hands to get a problem solved.  That is just what 79-year-old Martha Anderson had to do in The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules (2012) by Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg.

Martha is living and enjoying life in Diamond House, a retirement home.  It is a lovely place where the owners seem to have a heart for those living there.  The meals are highly satisfactory, numerous activities are planned, a gym is available to the residents, and the outdoor areas are open to those living there.

That all changes when a new company takes over Diamond House.  The residents are no longer the top priority.  Greed has moved to the top of the list.  The bottom line has become the goal.  Change comes.  Martha and friends are not happy.  I think we all can relate in some manner to similar changes in our own lives.

In fact, Martha and friends are extremely unhappy.  Bed times are now set to an earlier time.  Outdoor time has been cut.  The residents are given little red pills with the goal of getting them to sleep faster and for longer periods of time.  They are also given little blue pills so the old folks would lose their appetites.  The gym area has been locked, no more working out or pool use.  The meals are no longer an event, but sandwiches.

Everyone is doing a lot of grumbling.  But, Martha is so dissatisfied that she decided something must be done about the declining conditions.  But first, she must gather together some partners in crime.

The folks Martha spends time with happen to be members of the choir she so enjoys.  This is where you will meet Rake, Brainer, Anna, Greta, and Christina.  She talks them into not taking the little red pills.  Once they begin to regain more of their energy, the group decides to rebel against the rules.

The League of Pensioners, as the they call themselves, manage to get their hands on a key to the kitchen.  There they discover the kitchen is filled with food they are not being served.  The adventure was enjoyed until they were caught.

It was after viewing a documentary where they learn prisoners live under better conditions than they do.  The Pensioners set their sights to a different area and manage to gain entry to the gym/pool in order to work out every evening.  They do this for over a month.  Their plan was to become the most “troublesome oldies in the world.”

The League of Pensioners decide to commit a crime that will get them arrested and sent to prison.  Their plan involves the most luxurious hotel in the city along with stealing priceless paintings from the National Museum.  From this point on readers, you are on your own.

The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules is filled with twists and turns, fun, some comic relief, even silly.  It does get a little long and repetitive in places.  Martha and her gang of five geriatric criminals may just give the reader a little food for thought about how some of our seniors live out their lives.

 

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