Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Review: The Late Bloomers' Club

Summary: A delightful novel about two headstrong sisters, a small town's efforts to do right by the community, and the power of a lost dog to summon true love

Nora, the owner of the Miss Guthrie Diner, is perfectly happy serving up apple cider donuts, coffee, and eggs-any-way-you-like-em to her regulars, and she takes great pleasure in knowing exactly what's "the usual." But her life is soon shaken when she discovers she and her free-spirited, younger sister Kit stand to inherit the home and land of the town's beloved cake lady, Peggy Johnson.

Kit, an aspiring--and broke--filmmaker thinks her problems are solved when she and Nora find out Peggy was in the process of selling the land to a big-box developer before her death. The people of Guthrie are divided--some want the opportunities the development will bring, while others are staunchly against any change--and they aren't afraid to leave their opinions with their tips.

Time is running out, and the sisters need to make a decision soon. But Nora isn't quite ready to let go of the land, complete with a charming farmhouse, an ancient apple orchard and the clues to a secret life that no one knew Peggy had. Troubled by the conflicting needs of the town, and confused by her growing feelings towards Elliot, the big-box developer's rep, Nora throws herself into solving the one problem that everyone in town can agree on--finding Peggy's missing dog, Freckles.

When a disaster strikes the diner, the community of Guthrie bands together to help her, and Nora discovers that doing the right thing doesn't always mean giving up your dreams. -- Pamela Dorman Books

I loved THE CITY BAKER'S GUIDE TO THE COUNTRY by Louise Miller -- you can read my review here. So when I learned that she has a new novel out called THE LATE BLOOMERS' CLUB, I jumped at the chance to read it! I am thrilled to say that there was no followup novel let down -- I loved this charming little book!

THE LATE BLOOMERS' CLUB tells the story of Nora and her younger sister Kit. Nora is the owner/manager of a small town diner in Guthrie, and she takes great pride in serving her regular customers. She always knew she'd end up running the place after the death of her father, and she's never really thought about doing much else. However, when she and Kit inherit the home and land of Peggy Johnson, the town's cake lady, her life is turned upside down in an instant.

The two sisters learn that Peggy was thinking about selling her land to a developer who wants to build a big box store on the property. Kit who is a bit of a free-spirit (to say the least) is thrilled that she will have an immediate windfall of cash to help her fund her aspiring movie making business, but Nora isn't quite sure what to do. The town is definitely divided with some wanting the inflow of money that the store might bring while others want to keep their small town the same.

Nora and Kit don't have much time to decide what's best for them and Guthrie, and Nora finds that she actually loves this little house with the orchard and the hidden artwork. To make things even more complicated, Nora is falling for Elliot, the developer's guy on the ground who is trying to buy the land. When Nora's beloved diner faces a disaster, she is forced to make some difficult choices, but she also realizes just how special her life and the people in it are.

I adored THE LATE BLOOMERS' CLUB. It's a feel good book about a small town and what's important in life. I am tempted to use the words charming, delightful, etc to express my thoughts about this book, and they are all definitely true; however, those words almost seem to trite to explain just how good this book made me feel. The overall messages in this novel are ones of love, family, dreams, and finding peace in one's life... and I just really needed a book like this right now!

In addition to this novel being a type of coming of age story about Nora, it also had a few neat twists that brought the book to the next level for me. Nora really didn't know much about Peggy and was actually quite surprised to inherit her land. When she first visited the place, she discovered a hidden treasure trove of unique art. As the novel progressed, Nora realized who created these works of art as well as the special story behind them.

There was also a side story about Peggy's dog. When Peggy had the accident that took her life, her dog was in the car with her. He escaped and was on the run, too scared to let anyone near him. Nora (and eventually Elliot) were determined to capture the dog and assist him. Their desire and near-miss attempts to catch the dog were a recurring theme throughout the story, and I appreciated how the dog and this quest to catch him symbolized some other things that were occurring in Nora's personal life.

I am positive that fans of women's fiction, especially ones who enjoy Adriana Trigiani and Fanny Flagg, will appreciate this novel. Highly recommended!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.


bermudaonion said...

It sounds like I need to move this to the top of my nightstand.

The Book Sage said...

Funny that you should mention Fanny Flagg. I'm reading my 1st Flagg - The All-Girl Filling Station's Last Reunion. I am enjoying it. So I would probably like The Late Bloomers' Club.

Unknown said...

I just finished this book Tuesday night and also loved it! I needed a lighter fiction book after finishing The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. I was way more concerned about the dog than Nora and Kit most of the time :)