Tess and Simon Sparrow may have a few more grey hairs and wrinkles than they used to, but that doesn’t stop them being swept up in a whirlwind romance and starting over again. Swapping their city lives for an escape to the countryside, they fall in love with a crumbling hotel and impulsively buy it as their forever home to grow old in together…
Renovating the glorious, wisteria-clad property on the gorgeous cliff-tops of Cornwall was meant to be a delightful retirement project. But the dream soon turns into reality and practical Tess and optimist Simon are faced with leaky bathrooms, creaky stairs and a roof that’s just about holding up.
Running out of money fast, the couple decide to rent out a few rooms to save their new home.
Along come mysterious Celia, hapless romantic Benedict and tarnished, lovelorn actress Titania – all looking for a fresh start. Everyone in this eclectic group has their own reasons for being in Cornwall and across the summer they each go on a journey of self-discovery at The Golden Oldies Guesthouse as they realize there is still plenty of time for love, life, friendship… and a few unexpected surprises.
While most people in their sixties are looking forward to the rest and relaxation that comes with retirement, newly married Tess and Simon Sparrow are looking for a new adventure. On the cliffs of Cornwall, Tess and Simon find exactly what they’ve been looking for, a run-down house that with, a good bit of work, will make a lovely bed and breakfast.
A good bit of work . . . . .
With their respective homes in London sold for a tidy profit and a whole host of hope, Tess and Simon begin contacting laborers for estimates and timetables. Tess and Simon quickly discover life moves a bit slower in the country than it does in the city. With a pressing need to open for business and recoup some of the immense expenses, Tess and Simon dive in and help the laborers in any way they can. Painting, cleaning, buying new furnishings, sewing new curtains and cushions, all while living in a small caravan isn’t exactly how Tess envisioned her retirement and new marriage. Be that as it may, Tess tries to keep a good attitude as she soldiers on and begins to see her fixer-upper come to life.
The guests arrive . . . .
After months – long, cold months – of soul-sucking and bank account draining hard work, Tess and Simon’s newly remodeled and renamed Sparrows’ Nest is open for business. Their four rooms are booked, and each guest is meant to stay for more than a month. On the roster, a publisher-turned-novelist, a would-be painter, an aging stage star, and a couple looking to rekindle their forty-year romance. Each guest has his or her own agenda, some for the better and some for the worse, and a desire to find some peace in their respective lives. The writer needs inspiration, the painter needs a lay over prior to her escape, the actress is seeking revenge, and the couple is on the verge of a major life change. While none expect to find a good bit of healing and clarity, that is exactly what each, in his or her own way finds at the Sparrows’ Nest. To Tess and Simon’s credit, they work hard not to pry and simply allow their guests the peace and solitude they have paid for; it isn’t until the lot of them has come and gone that Tess and Simon discover the truth of their guests.
The Bottom Line: I enjoyed every aspect of this book except one, SIMON!!! Simon is a complete and total ass who adds nothing but anger (on my part!) to the read. He is selfish, thoughtless, and somewhat unkind so when his part in the story lessened in the second and third parts, my enjoyment increased. Outside of Simon, I greatly enjoyed the descriptions of the old house coming back to life, the idyllic setting, the varied and wonderfully strange mix of locals and guests, and the various storylines associated with everyone. Except Simon 😊 I’m not sure there is a message or moral to be taken from this book, but it is lovely read that kept me turning pages at a fair clip. It is a rather long read at 500+ pages, but I found the pacing and the various plot lines to be sufficient and entertaining enough to not notice the overall length. A solid read to be sure!