Second up today is a review of Friends and Neighbours by Ruth Torjussen; a wonderful story of self-discover that will get your emotions flowing…..

about friends and neighbours

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.

Formats: Paperback and eBook.  Available on Kindle Unlimited.

Purchase Links: Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

my thoughts

Jenny is excited that she has new neighbours moving in; she’s looking forward to making a new friend and having chats and coffees over the fence.  But she’s sorely disappointed when they turn up shouting and swearing – they’re not her sort of people at all.  After losing her best friend  in the last year Jenny is suffering with depression, and with 3 sons and a husband, is missing female company in her life.  But no-one is good enough, and no-one is her best friend, Sue.

When the Doctor suggests taking up a hobby, she heads to the local college but has no idea what she wants to do.  But when she sees a glamorous stranger, she enrols on the same course as her.  She’s exactly the type of friend she wants…….  Over the next few weeks, Jenny sets out to impress Trudi, but despite everything she remains elusive.  And she ends up surrounded by the people she’s judged as ‘not her type’.  But when she plans a party and things don’t work out according to plan, will her snobby, judgey ways come to an end?

This was a wonderful story of self-discovery.  At first, you’ll find it hard to like or bond with Jenny. She comes across as a full on snob – the way she judges her new neighbours is terrible.  But not only is she still grieving for her best friend, there are other things from her past that affect her.  Watching Jenny go on her journey is heart-warming, frustrating, sad, funny and enlightening.  I loved watching her grow, but at the same time it was heartbreaking watching her suffer.  The author has done a wonderful job of helping the reader to feel what Jenny is feeling.

Jenny’s husband Lonny is brilliant.  A lovely caring man, with a passion for everything environmental; he puts up with a lot from Jenny but just wants to support her and help her get better.  He is definitely loved by many of the neighbours and local women!!  The authors passion for the environment definitely shines through is this book.

I really enjoyed the storyline.  I wasn’t sure at the beginning, but I fell in love with it more and more as I read.  The only thing I found difficult at times, was that it’s written with a Stoke accent in mind, and being from right down on the south-east coast, I didn’t know what some of the words were! I found myself trying to put on an accent (which I’m terrible at!!).  The subject of depression is significant in this, and anyone that has ever suffered with it will completely understand where Jenny is coming from.  And if you haven’t, it will certainly give you a very real insight into what it’s like.

Overall, this is a lovely book that will take you on Jenny’s touching journey.  It will bring out so many different emotions in you, and you will find the way you feel about Jenny changing as your read.  So if you’re looking for a heart-warming, funny but moving read, then this is for you.  Recommended by me.



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 Ruth online: Twitter ~ Instagram ~ YouTube

follow the tour

Thanks to Love Books Tours for inviting me to take part and to the author for a copy of the book.  All views and opinions are my own.

Have a wonderful Monday and a great week all.

Chelle x

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