Life as a Marie Osmond impersonator living in Stoke can be challenging enough.
But when your best friend has died and your other friends have moved away it can suddenly get a whole lot tougher. Now heartbroken Jenny has a female shaped hole in her life which – despite the presence of many women – won’t go away. Grief has turned her into a first-class snob.
Husband Lonny preps the house for climate change and is unable to halt Jenny’s unravelling. Then gorgeous Trudi wafts into the creative writing class and brings some much-needed hope.
Feeling that this is the only way out of her depression, Jenny’s intention to befriend Trudi builds to an obsession while facing all manner of setbacks. A motley crew of unsuitable local women is encroaching while lovely Trudi remains elusive. Why is something that used to be so easy, now so hard?.
Mixing serious issues with much hilarity ‘Friends and Neighbours’ is a feel-good story for our times.
Friends and Neighbours follows the story of Jenny, a woman who is struggling after the death of her friend Sue. With all of her other female friends having moved away, Jenny is feeling rather isolated and alone, so when it seems as though everything is going wrong in her life she begins to act rather irrationally.
Jenny is determined to make herself some new friends, however the type of friends she has in mind – sophisticated, witty and well groomed, are few and far between in Stoke-on Trent. Her next door neighbours are certainly a million miles away from Jenny’s ideal friendship group.
Then Jenny meets the immaculate Trudi at one of the evening classes she attends, and in a desperate attempt to impress her she organises an organic beauty products party at her house, but then she is left with the troublesome question of who else she should invite. As the day of the party fast approaches, and the guest Jenny has invited cancel one by one, she finds herself slipping into a new level of desperation and depression. That is, until help comes from the most unexpected of people, and shows Jenny that friendship can be found in the most unlikely of places.
This was such a wonderful read. I found myself laughing out loud at many points throughout this book, something that you might not expect when you first learn that the central character in this book is a grief stricken woman. Ruth Torjussen has such a refreshing way of writing, bringing both humour and more serious issues to light throughout her novel.
As a reader, I found myself really feeling for Jenny and the situation she was in, despite her often seeming rude and at times unkind to others, you could sense where all of this was coming from. She is certainly a woman who is grieving the loss of her close friend, and in turn, despite having her husband, feels utterly alone and in need of female companionship once more.
The end of the story was beautiful, and I loved the message it portrays – I don’t want to give too much away about this book, but It really does emphasise the importance of not judging others by their appearances or wealth, and how true friendship can form in the places you least expect it.
Witty, dramatic and emotional. This book was an absolute joy to read, and I would urge others to pick up a copy, you certainly won’t regret it.
You can purchase a copy of this book here: Amazon – https://amzn.to/3dl2N48
About the Author
Ruth Torjussen grew up in Stoke but now lives and works in Brighton as a Shared Lives Carer.
She is a passionate advocate of eating local food grown through regenerative farming as the answer to climate change.
Follow her on Twitter @RTorjussen,
YouTube Torjussen Ruth