The Old Girls’ Network by Judy Leigh Book Review

The Old Girls’ Network by Judy Leigh is an uplifting novel about two sisters in their seventies reconnecting after a lifetime of butting heads due to their vastly different personalities.

Good-natured Pauline’s peaceful life in an idyllic English village is about to be disrupted as her outspoken sister Barbara moves in to convalesce after an illness.

Village life is not what Barbara is used to and when Pauline brings home Bisto Mulligan, a vagrant, that she accidentally knocks down, she thinks her sister has lost her mind.

However, Bisto is more than he seems and his charm and kind nature soon have him breaking down Barbara’s walls and warming her to him.

Getting used to a new life with a disarmingly charming drifter underfoot is a challenge for Barbara, at 77 can finally let go and enjoy the moment or will she retreat behind her walls?

This book was a little off-beat and for me, that is always a great partner to stories that take place in small towns or villages. I feel that it gives you a great sense of place by building unique and quirky characters. It was also a nice change to have a book with older protagonists, which I feel don’t always get enough representation in the romance genre.

Read this book if you enjoy:

  • Gentle small town stories
  • Eccentric personalities




Excerpt from The Old Girls’ Network by Judy Leigh

The clothesline that hung just out of reach above her head was fraying and the ancient wooden prop with its two-pronged end was splintered. But this was the best drying space in the garden; gusts funnelled around the corner, blasts of fierce air, and a duvet cover would fill like a sail and dry in an hour. Pauline struggled with the weight of the wet laundry, but she was used to dealing with strenuous chores by herself now, leaning into the buffeting wind to haul up two towels, a blouse, a pair of jeans, some white underwear and her bedding. The washing flapped in the air, a tall ship borne out to sea, as she hoisted the prop to its fullest height and balanced it upright. She put her hands on her hips and thought about the underwear. She probably ought to buy a new bra. A lacy one might be nice, rather than the two-in-a-pack old plain design. She giggled at the thought of herself in racy red underwear and stared across the farmer’s field. Spring was approaching and there were already ewes grazing, with their lambs huddled against them for warmth.

Pauline thought for a moment, then she turned her back to the wind as it blew her hair, wrenching silver strands from her hair clip and smothering her face with dancing threads. The breeze was so cold her skin tingled, and she paused for a moment to breathe the chill air, allowing it to fill her lungs.

‘An icy wind from the north. Change is in the air.’

She nodded like a wise country woman, although she didn’t think of herself as being particularly wise. She could smell the sweet scent of spring, and with it the promise of summer’s warmth, new beginnings.

‘Change is always good,’ she reassured herself.