Wednesday, 2 December 2020

Book Review: The Grand Tour by Olivia Wearne

 The Grand Tour
Olivia Wearne


Publisher: Harper Collins
Imprint: HQ Fiction AU
Publication date: 2nd December 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction 
Pages: 400
RRP: $29.99AUD
Format read: Uncorrected paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Better Reading
About the book
When Ruby and Angela embark on a Grey Nomads road trip, the last thing they expect is a tiny stowaway; one who will turn them from unsuspecting tourists into wanted kidnappers and land them in a world of trouble. As their leisurely retirement plans unravel, Angela's relationship with her brother Bernard goes from bad to worse.

Bernard has his own problems to contend with. Adrift in life, his career as a news presenter has been reduced to opening fetes and reading Voss as an audio book (a seemingly impossible task). His troubles are compounded when his wife starts dating a younger man and a drink-driving incident turns him into a celebrity offender.

As Angela and Ruby set about repairing burnt bridges and helping their unexpected guest, and Bernard attempts to patch together his broken life, they discover that even after a lifetime of experience, you're never too old to know better.
My review
The Grand Tour, although I did enjoy the story, wasn’t what I was expecting. The blurb tells me Ruby and Angela embark on a grey nomads road trip and I expected lots of funny on the road disasters whilst reading about amazing places around Australia.

The Grand Tour is about relationships and the changing landscape of these relationships as we age. A satirical look at ageing disgracefully.

Ruby is estranged from her grown daughter who she has never had a solid relationship with. She was always a bit wary of her wild, rambunctious child as she was growing up.

Ruby and Angela become firm friends after the death of Angela’s husband. They are complete opposites but they compliment each other. Ruby who is an introvert loves Angela’s flamboyance. They live in the same complex and whilst their units are being renovated they take to the road in Ruby’s motor-home.

Bernard, Angela’s brother, is a curmudgeonly washed-up news reader trying to restart his career when he is pushed back into the limelight for all the wrong reasons. We are also introduced to his actress wife, Mia and her eclectic friends. An arty group of ageing bohemians.

Eight year old Izzy lives with her mother in a caravan park. Izzy’s mother has trouble coping and Izzy is neglected. Thinking her mother would be glad to be rid of her she stows away in Ruby and Angela’s motor-home, making them unwary kidnappers.

There are many funny moments as each character navigates the different relationships in their life.

The book was a slow read for me. A character driven story.

Olivia Wearne’s debut novel is witty and observant. She expertly depicts human foibles and slots them into chuckle inducing scenarios. 
3.5 / 5    ⭐⭐⭐ ½
Meet the author 
Olivia Wearne was born in Melbourne in 1977. She is both a novelist and a screenwriter with several film credits to her name and a Masters in creative writing. Olivia now resides in Ballarat, Victoria, where she writes at the kitchen table that she shares with her filmmaker husband and two young sons. The Grand Tour is her first novel.
Challenges entered: Aussie author challenge  #AussieAuthor20
                                 Australian Women Writers Challenge #AWW2020

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