Retired expat, Tony Metcalfe, is going through a three-quarter-life crisis. Viva España, his bar in a mountain village beyond Spain s Costa Blanca, is failing. Tony started the bar for the English post-war babies who retired early on good pensions – the por favors, as the Spanish call them – flocking to the dream of wine, rest and sun around the pool. But now their retirement paradise is shadowed by Brexit: the pound has fallen, pensions are frozen and the property crash happened long ago.
Tony wants to move back to enjoy the remainder of his life in his childhood home, but his tenacious wife Laney wants to stay in the happy valley and forget about England and the dark, unresolved feelings it provokes in their marriage. Sod it – he couldn’t go home even if he tried; nobody would buy an ailing bar during a recession.
But Tony s luck is about to change when his son Nick arrives for a surprise visit with his self-possessed wife, Jo, and their son. With the extra help, Tony thinks things are on the up, but Jo has brought along more baggage than just their family s suitcases.
This book made me really think. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect when I saw the blurb but it did intrigue me. I’ve read other “coming-of-age” novels but they tended to be teenage novels. I was fascinated to read a coming-of-age novel which referred to a different “age” to the norm.
This is a beautiful, thought provoking narrative with a great heart and warmth which emanates into your everyday life. I often found myself thinking about it when I wasn’t engaged in reading it, which is a very good sign. The emotions captured are very real and it genuinely felt like you were there living their lives with them. The characters are also extremely likeable, which really helps.
This novel remind me a little of novels such as “Elizabeth is Missing” and “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” – two other novels I enjoyed immensely. If you like novels like these, I would highly recommend you seek this out!