At Myrtle House, the twin beds have never been so busy...The irrepressible Russell 'Buffy' Buffery has upped sticks from London and moved to a decrepit B&B in rural Wales.
He needs to fill the beds, and what better way than with 'Courses for Divorces', his new money-making wheeze.
Those checking in include: Harold, whose wife has run off with a younger woman; Amy, who's been unexpectedly dumped by her (not-so) weedy boyfriend and Andy, the hypochondriac postman whose girlfriend is much too much for him to handle.
Under Buffy's tutelage, these casualties of the marriage-go-round find themselves re-learning all those skills never thought they'd need again, and a whole lot more besides.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 304 pages
- Publisher: Vintage Publishing
- Publication Date: 14/02/2013
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780701187811
Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.
Review by DubaiReader
Love in your 'mature' years.Deborah Moggach writes with a shrewd wit as she describes the relationships of her cast of thousands at a delapidated old hotel in the country town of Knockton, in Wales. This is a lighthearted book that would unveil many of its hidden perceptive gems on a second read.To his surprise, aged Russell Buffery known as Buffy during his acting career, inherits an old B&B from his former landlady and friend, Bridie. Although he's a Londoner through and through, Buffy is becoming disillusioned with the way the capital is going and decides to up sticks to the country and try his hand at running a B&B.The place struggles to make ends meet, so Buffy decides to advertise the place as a haven for divorcees and the abandoned. Here they can learn the skills that their partners formerly took responsibility for. Various weeks offer car maintenance, cookery, gardening and 'How to talk to women'. As a bonus, Buffy gets his car serviced, his garden weeded and the cookery done by his paying guests.This very clever precept is the basis for a wealth of interactions and new relationships, as Ms Moggach lets her characters loose in Myrtle House.I listened to this on Audible, which didn't really do the book justice because of the problem with referring back to remember who is who. It's a bit chick-lit in many ways but it is the underlying wit and perception that raises this book above other books of this genre. Those of our book group who had read Deborah Moggach's best book, Tulip Fever, didn't feel it was of the same calibre, but this one felt as though it would make an excellent TV series.Deborah Moggach recently attended the Dubai Literary Festival and was hugely entertaining. I highly recommend seeing her if she comes your way.
Review by julia.flyte
Russell "Buffy" Buffery is a retired actor with a number of ex-wives and girlfriends (most of whom apparently made an appearance in The Ex-Wives, although it is not necessary to have read that previously). When he unexpectedly inherits a dilapidated B&B in the Welsh countryside, he decides to move there and start up a series of residential courses for people who have recently split up with their loved ones. The early parts of the book switch between Buffy's story and introducing various characters who are going through heartbreak, including Marion, who wasted many years having an affair with a man who wouldn't leave his wife; Harold, whose wife left him for another woman and Amy, who paired up with a man with whom she was never really suited but who is desperately lonely without him. Eventually they will all come to stay at Buffy's "Heartbreak Hotel" and much like a Shakespearean Romantic Comedy, they will all find new loves although in some cases it will come in quite unexpected ways.I very much enjoyed the early part of this book but for me it started to run out of momentum around the middle and then the resolutions to the various character's storylines inevitably came in a rush. It felt lopsided to spend so long developing a character in the first place but then have them pair up with someone in just a page or two, almost as an afterthought. There is one central romance which is expanded in more depth but the others feel perfunctory. It's a sweet book and an easy read, but it lacks something.
Review by PIER50
A funny freewheeling book of english eccentrics, manners and lives and loves. Great fun!