The Bette Davis Club by Jane Lotter is for me a (late) coming-of-age story about a woman in her 50s as she embarks on an adventure that makes her re-evaluate her life and why it’s not the one she dreamed of.
While that description may sound a little depressing, the book itself is not, is vivacious and hopeful.
When her young niece absconds on her wedding day with a valuable family heirloom, Margo is sent to go find her along with the jilted groom. In a red 1955 MG, they take off on a cross-country road trip to hunt down the bride and for Margo, the meaning that has been missing in her life.
This is a well-paced, entertaining book with engaging characters and a great sense of humour that keeps you turning those pages.
Read this book if you enjoy:
- Books with mature leads
- Hollywood glam and workings
Excerpt from The Bette Davis Club by Jane Lotter
Below us, parked on the circular drive, is my father’s two-seater MG. Top down, candy-apple red, absolutely gorgeous. Rakish and wonderful, its wire wheels and chrome work gleam in the sun. I haven’t seen that car since I was ten years old. I forget that I’m broke and three thousand miles from home, that my half sister is a cocaine addict and my niece some sort of fugitive bride. Instead, I remember how our father looked at the wheel of his favorite automobile—elegant, laughing, full of life.
“Oh, Charlotte,” I say. “It’s beautiful. What fun it must be to own it.”
“I wouldn’t know,” she says impatiently.
I turn to her, but she avoids my gaze.
“I mean,” she says, “I never drive it. Even though Mama’s been dead for years, the only reason I keep it is because she did. I have Juven take it in regularly for service.” She pulls at one of her diamond earrings. “You know, Margo, Daddy’s car doesn’t hold the same memories for me that it does for you. I see it, and I think, There’s the little toy my father drove away in on all those bright sunny mornings—when he went to cheat on my mother.”
Well, I think, that’s your version. But this is no time to begin arguing again about our parents. I’m about to descend the stone steps, when Charlotte touches my arm.
“There’s something else I want you to do. Georgia took things that belong to me. I want them back.”
“You mean the wedding dress?” I say.
“That too. But besides the dress there are other things. Tell her I want my possessions returned immediately.”
“What are these items?” I say.
“Doesn’t matter, she knows.” Charlotte’s voice is controlled, but insistent. “Make it clear I’m not kidding around about this.”