The Summer Seekers by Sarah Morgan
After crediting Sarah Morgan with ending my reading slump, I knew that I was quite keen to read another of her novels soon and so picked up the her latest novel. I'm not sure if it was the mood I was in, but I've had a run of reading novels that have all spoken to me in some way and this continued that trend. There is a lovely message here and the novel feels inspirational on many different levels.
Plot (From the Back)
Kathleen is 80 years old. After a run-in with an intruder her daughter wants her to move into a residential home. She's not having any of it. What she needs is adventure.
Liza is drowning under the stress of family life. The last thing she needs is her mother jetting off on a wild holiday making Liza dream of a solo break of her own.
When Martha sees Kathleen's advert for a driver and companion to take an epic road trip across America, she decided this job might be the answer to her prayers. Travelling with a stranger?...How much trouble can one 80 year old be?
Sarah Morgan writes believable women. I found Liza's story the most interesting and raw. Liza was a wife, mother, and teacher who looked after everyone else better than she looked after herself. There always being one more task, as she ran around after her husband and children. Her own passions being put to the bottom of the list. It's sensitively written as I imagine this speaks to a lot of women where stress is a huge factor in their lives. The story is encouraging though as Liza, close to breakdown, goes to her mother's cottage where she reconnects with her painting and the beautiful sea. You can almost feel her take a breath which springs out from the pages of the book.
Kathleen is fabulous. For those of us of a certain age, think Judith Chalmers, who was a travel presenter in the 1980s. She is written as hugely relevant. Intelligent, extremely perceptive about the lives of those around her. It is her who encourages Liza to take time out at her cottage. She is a reminder that a) you are never too old, b) You can always learn new things about yourself and c) Age is just a number and should never write you off.
Martha is a delight, young, full of life and with a fantastic outlook on the world and everything new she experiences. I loved her and Kathleen's bond. Once again it is the female friendships that come to the fore rather than the focus being on the romantic ones. And it is this, that is making me love Sarah Morgan's writing as I read each book.
The story is fun, not entirely what I was expecting it to be. But the message was definitely about valuing yourself. Whether escaping from a negative relationship (Martha), for finding your passions again (Liza) or for simply putting a flag in the sand to reconnect with that which you love (Kathleen). It's uplifting, fun and full of great women. Sarah Morgan is rapidly becoming one of my favourite authors.