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The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett

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It's never too late to start living.

Infused with the emotional power of Me Before You and the irresistible charm of Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine and Be Frank with Me, a moving and joyous novel about an elderly woman ready to embrace death and the little girl who reminds her what it means to live.

Eudora Honeysett is done with this noisy, moronic world—all of it. She has witnessed the indignities and suffering of old age and has lived a full life. At eighty-five, she isn’t going to leave things to chance. Her end will be on her terms. With one call to a clinic in Switzerland, a plan is set in motion. 

Then she meets ten-year-old Rose Trewidney, a whirling, pint-sized rainbow of color and sparkling cheer. All Eudora wants is to be left alone to set her affairs in order. Instead, she finds herself embarking on a series of adventures with the irrepressible Rose and their affable neighbor, the recently widowed Stanley—afternoon tea, shopping sprees, trips to the beach, birthday celebrations, pizza parties. 

While the trio of unlikely BFFs grow closer and anxiously await the arrival of Rose’s new baby sister, Eudora is reminded of her own childhood—of losing her father during World War II and the devastating impact it had on her entire family. In reflecting on her past, Eudora realizes she must come to terms with what lies ahead. 

But now that her joy for life has been rekindled, how can she possibly say goodbye? 

372 pages, Hardcover

First published September 8, 2020

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About the author

Annie Lyons

10 books557 followers
Dear Reader,
thank you for dropping by to visit my Goodreads page. I am the author of seven novels and one novella. My first book, Not Quite Perfect was a Kindle number one bestseller and my most recent featuring octogenarian, Eudora Honeysett was a USA Today bestseller as well as being nominated for the RNA Contemporary Novel Award. My new book, The Air Raid Book Club is my first historical fiction novel and will be published on the 11th of July. I can’t wait for readers to meet Gertie and Hedy, who are thrown together by the events of the Second World War and who form a book club to support their community through these dark times. This book is particularly special to me as I’ve spent my life around books, from trips to the library with my Mum as a child to my early career as a bookseller on Charing Cross Road and then over ten years in publishing and now as a writer and creative writing teacher. If I’m not writing or reading books, I like nothing more than to lose myself for an hour (or two if I can manage it) in a library or bookshop. I love the quiet calm and the smell of books, old and new. My favourite writers are Anne Tyler, Ruth Hogan, David Nicholls, Rachel Joyce, William Boyd, Katherine Heiny and Maggie O’Farrell but I love anything which makes me laugh and cry. I try to reflect this in my own writing and for me, it begins with the characters. I work to get to know them as well as my own friends and family as I write and allow them to lead the story. My aim is to write stories which are uplifting and ultimately hopeful as these are the books I love to read. My stories feature families, friendship, grief, love, happiness, singing, loss, betrayal, forgiveness, death, hope, books, joy and plenty more besides, and they invariably include a beloved family pet! My favourite thing about being an author is when readers contact me to let me know that a book has touched them, made them laugh or just served as a companion for a while. I recently received a card all the way from New York from eighty-four-year-old Rita in praise of the story of eighty-four-year-old Eudora and that was my week made. If you would like to get in touch, you can also find me on social media (links below) where I mainly talk about books, writing, my garden and my black Labrador, Nelson.
Happy reading!
Annie x
Instagram: @annielyonsauthor
Twitter: @1AnnieLyons
Facebook: www.facebook.com/annielyonswriter
Website: www.annielyons.com

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Profile Image for MarilynW.
1,203 reviews3,052 followers
May 4, 2022
The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons is a special book. We meet eighty-five year old Eudora Honeysett as she is so very aware of her mortality and absolutely sure she does not want to have her last days in a hospital, on machines, kept alive well past the time she is ready to go. She has seen this happen to her mother and to other people and she wants no part of it, especially because she has no friends or family. If she doesn't take control of her death and the timing of her death, she'll be at the mercy of decisions and actions of strangers, so she needs to do something soon. Eudora has a plan and it involves being accepted to a clinic in Switzerland, where she can die on her own timeline, on her own terms. 

At the same time she is initiating the process to be accepted to the clinic, a new family moves next door. Her new neighbor, ten year old Rose, a self professed fashion guru whose fashion consists of wearing the most colorful, outlandish, sparkly clothes possible, immediately claims Eudora as her best friend. Rose is such a smart, precocious girl who sees no need to filter her words or thoughts and she is just what Eudora needs, whether Eudora knows it or not. Eudora is a cranky grump and she is in no mood for noise, happiness, adventure or friendship, this late in the game. But nothing can put Rose off and under all of Eudora's gruffness is a kind heart that isn't willing to hurt Rose's feelings. Added to this duo in a third person, heartbroken widower Stanley, who spreads cheer wherever he goes, while pining for his late wife. 

At the end of each chapter, we go back to Eudora's past and learn about the hardships that made her the woman she is today. It's all about family and the sacrifices that she felt she must make throughout life, putting others before herself while neglecting the chance to have an independent life of her own. Now, Rose and Stanley have roped Eudora in with friendship and love, just when she is finally going to do something for herself. Her memories and guilt weigh so heavily on her and she doesn't want these people pulling her into a life she never got to have in the past. I'm glad I was able to buddy read this book with my friend, DeAnn, because we both had a lot of thoughts to share.

Pub September 8, 2020

Thank you to HarperCollins Publishers/William Morrow and NetGalley for this ARC.
Profile Image for Will Byrnes.
1,310 reviews120k followers
November 4, 2021
“I am eighty-five years old. I am old and tired and alone. I have nothing I want to do and no one I want to see. I am not depressed, merely done with life. I don’t want to end up dribbling in an old-people’s home, wearing adult nappies in front of a shouting television. I want to leave this world with dignity and respect. Now, can you help me out?”
Life is precious and as long as we have a reason to continue, we should follow that path.
Eudora Honeycutt does not seem to have much reason to go on. She is quite the curmudgeon. Maybe not the broomstick-wielding (or shotgun-toting) crank, screaming “get off my lawn, you damn kids!” Eudora is far too proper for such behavior. But the inner resentment is there. She is uninterested in having the sort of death her mother endured when, a husk of her former self, she died, a frequent flyer (often. needlessly) in the ER, she was kept going by a medical system that cared less about the quality of one’s life than extending it at all costs. Sick of the world, fed up with its rampant and growing narcissism, and seeing no meaningful future ahead, she gets in touch with a clinic in Switzerland that might be able to help her end her life with the dignity she wants.

Annie Lyons - image from her site – shot by Harriet Buckingham
everyone is selfish and caught up with themselves these days. They have no time to notice her or others like her. They consume news or food as if they are trying to eat the whole world; they watch and judge and spit out their opinions as if they’re the only ones worth listening to. Eudora is invisible to these people, but she has stopped noticing them, too. They’re welcome to their “post-Brexit, Donald Trump, condemn everyone, be kind to no one” world. There is no helping them now. Soon enough she won’t be around to witness their continuous decline into moral torpor. Good riddance and good night.
But that is not all there is to Eudora. She has seen little kindness in the world, has endured more than her share of its opposite, and yet there is, inexplicably, still a lode of the stuff buried inside her. And she has stumbled across a crew of miners, happy to bring it to the light of day.

Dame Maggie Smith - image from Jewish News

There are new occupants in the house next door, primarily a ten-year-old girl. Rose is the bubbles in a bottle of champagne, the chirping birds that welcome dawn, sunshine after days of rain, an iced drink on a hot day, a huge jolt of distilled wonderfulness, rain after a drought, and a rainbow after a shower. The rainbow part of that is not much of an exaggeration, as Rose always seems to be dressed in a garish array of colors that may or may not go with any of the other eye-popping hues she is wearing. One typical ensemble is made up of buttercup yellow, ecclesiastical purple, and neon orange. Rose is exuberantly neighborly, and decides that Eudora is going to be her new best friend.
Rose may have the wearying positivity of a jack-in-the-box, but she is kindness personified.
The next new addition to Eudora’s life is Stanley, a widower, a gentleman of a certain age. It was Stanley who had come to her aid when he’d seen her fall recently. Made sure she was seen to. She remembers him not at all, finds him irritating even. But Stanley persists with Eudora, offering her interest, engagement, and kindness, with a persistence not unlike Rose’s, but without the flamboyance.

Haribo Cherries – image from Amazon – Eudora buys some for Rose

Like a wrestling tag-team, Rose and Stanley both engage Eudora individually (and sometimes together), seeing something in her that she does not see in herself. Rose’s exuberance is as delightful as it is persistent and overwhelming. It seems that when it comes to Rose, resistance really is futile. As Eudora, bit by bit, is drawn back into the world, she encounters even more people who offer kindness and understanding. She meets Hannah, a death doula, who gives a talk at a local community center, and has made a career of helping people near the end of their lives. But not all the kindness is delivered to Eudora by local folks reaching out to her. In her dealings with the Swiss clinic that provides help for people choosing a decent death, she engages with Petra, her contact there, who is also welcoming and supportive to Eudora.

Dame Judy Dench - image from The Hamilton Spectator

Throughout the novel we get looks back at Eudora’s life, (18 by my count) beginning in 1940, when she was five years old. Her beloved father took her out for a birthday treat, a memory that has lasted a lifetime. He is heading off to war, and mom is pregnant. What happens with her father impacts the rest of Eudora’s life and the lives of those around her. One inspiration for the character of Eudora was:
…my mum, who also lived through the second world war and had that sort of resilience and stoicism, but also that stubbornness and that refusal to ask for help, and I’m just going to get on with it, and I’m ok, and I don’t want to talk about it. My mum was a real sweetie. She was not as difficult as Eudora. But it’s part of that generation I think. To write her story, but then to juxtapose it with Rose was just…I love to read books about inter-generation friendships…It was my way of looking at it in an uplifting way. - from the Better at Home interview

Dame Helen Mirren - image from The Mayor's Fund for London

One of the inspirations for the book was Lyons reaching middle-age (no numbers have been offered), and realizing that half her life was over. It sparked a concern about (an interest in) death and how people view it.
[The book] explores our denial and inability to face death as a reality. However, through Eudora’s honesty and Rose’s curiosity, it also shows different ways to view death – whether it’s through Eudora’s discussions with Petra at the clinic in Switzerland or Hannah, the death doula’s talk on what it is to have a good death or Rose’s enthusiasm for the Mexican Day of the Dead. - from the Book Q&As interview
In alternating past and present, Lyons does an excellent job of linking todays realities to Eudora’s history. We get to see how life’s many disappointments shaped Eudora into the grouch she has become, with each section about her past explaining one of Eudora’s present-day reactions. We see, also, how Rose, Stanley, and others offer Eudora something far greater than resignation.

Michael Gambon - image from The Irish Examiner

In the Book Club Girl interview Lyons offered a few dame names for dream actresses to play Eudora. I have peppered the review with images of those. She offered a suggestion or two for Stanley. So, ditto.

This is a beautifully written, heart-warming novel, not just about death, our experiences with it, and thoughts on it, but about the value of kindness, of our connection to others, and what is important in life. Lyons has written characters we not only care about, but love. Trust me. Tears will be shed, more than a few.

Jim Broadbent - image from The Indian Express

By the time my father was my age he’d been dead for over a year. Not that I think about that much, not me, no. So, maybe it is easy to imagine that a book about a woman contemplating her personal end times might be of some interest. But, if I go with my maternal DNA instead of my paternal for projecting my likely mortality, it looks like I may have a few good years left. I hope I can fill them reading books as wonderful, as entertaining, hopeful, and uplifting as The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeycutt. It is a brilliant book and an absolute must-read.
For beauty lives with kindness.

Review posted – July 16, 2021

Publication dates (USA)
----------September 8, 1920 – (USA)
----------October 19, 2021 – Paperback – Morrow

It was published in the UK on September 8, 2020 under the title Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You

=============================EXTRA STUFF

Links to the author’s personal, FB, Instagram, and Twitter pages

-----Library Love Fest - An Interview with Annie Lyons, author of THE BRILLIANT LIFE OF EUDORA HONEYSETT – with Virginia Stanley - audio 28:24 – begin at about 1:00
-----Blblio Happy Hour - Talking with Annie Lyons + a dive into the week's new releases - by Victoria Wood - audio – 29 minutes - begin at the 6 minute mark
-----Better At Home - Annie Lyons
-----Book Club Girl - Discussion with Annie Lyons - Includes her US editor Emily Krump – video - 47:11
-----Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb Q&A with Annie Lyons
-----Library Love Fest - An Interview with Annie Lyons, author of THE BRILLIANT LIFE OF EUDORA HONEYSETT - audio – 28:24 – by Virginia Stanley

-----Oscar Seagle - Pack Up Your Troubles In Your Old Kit Bag (And Smile, Smile, Smile) - chapter 1
-----Dame Vera Lynn - We’ll Meet Again - chapter 3
-----This is Me - the greatest song from The Greatest Showman, Rose’s favorite film - It really should have won the Oscar for best song.

Items of Interest from the author
-----Writing and Wellness - Featured Writer on Wellness: Annie Lyons
-----Female First - Seven things I learned in lockdown by Annie Lyons

Items of Interest
-----Wiki for It’s a Wonderful Life - mentioned in chapter 4 (and my personal all time favorite film)
-----Wiki on the British TV Quiz show Pointless - referenced in chapter 7
-----Wiki on the film Coco - mentioned in chapter 7
-----BBC - Babycham - a popular drink of the time – Eudora orders one at a dance with her bff Silvie
-----A brochure from lifecircle - a Swiss organization that helps people with end-of-life decision-making. The author references this org as a source for her research on Eudora’s planning.
-----PopMaster - referenced in chapter 11

-----Chapter 2 - Cornish fairings

Reminds me of
-----Benediction by Kent Haruf - Dad Lewis is nearing the end of his life when he encounters eight-year-old Alice
-----Should We Stay or Should We Go by Lionel Shriver – a couple deciding whether to end it all when they hit 80 – review pending
-----News of the World by Paulette Giles – a 70-something escorts a difficult 10-year-old back to her family
-----Good Morning, Midnight by Lily Brooks-Dalton – A 78-year-old astrophysicist may be the last man on Earth until he meets a young girl, alone in the Arctic
-----Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney – An older woman takes a walk on New Year’s Eve, the stops along her way recalling her life
Profile Image for Jayme.
1,191 reviews2,268 followers
September 24, 2020
If you have been needing a cathartic cry....for any reason..this is the book for you! 😭🤧

There are happy tears 👵🏻 and sad tears 😿 but, I don’t think you can read this without shedding some tears!

First, let’s dispel with the comparisons.

This is the same book as Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You.
(Which is actually a fitting name, because that is always her answer if asked)

But, I was afraid that title was a play on “Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine” and I wasn’t sure that I liked that, so, I am glad that the name was changed for the U.S. version, as this book is no copycat.

It actually is more similar to “A Man Called Ove” as it begins, but with a faster pace and a main character who you will warm to more quickly.

A young new family moves in next door to 85 year old, Eudora Honeysett and just when she has begun arrangements to embrace death on her own terms, her 10 year old neighbor, Rose Trewidney, reminds her of what it means to be alive.

Most chapters end with a bit of history, explaining how Eudora had always put the happiness of others, ahead of her own, and why she is now alone with no family to share her last years with.

You have heard the expression “out of the mouths of babes”?

Well, that is Rose! Wise beyond her years, with happiness and love that is infectious!

She becomes Eudora’s fashion guru and best friend, insisting that she needs her more than she needs kids her own age, and asking her to various social engagements with the plea: “Please can you try to stay alive till then?”

Heartwarming and Charming, I was reading this book anxiously, hoping that Rose could convince Eudora, that maybe it wasn’t time to say goodbye, just yet...

Because, I certainly did not want to say goodbye to either one of them!!

I am sure this will be on my favorites shelf, this year!
Profile Image for Michael David (on hiatus).
656 reviews1,625 followers
November 3, 2020
All the stars for this book that states, “It’s never too late to start living.”

Eudora Honeysett is an 85-year old who is alone in life, with the exception of her seemingly grumpy cat, Montgomery. 🐱 She wants to embrace death on her terms, and is looking into an assisted death via a clinic in Switzerland.

Then, 10-year old Rose Trewidney and her family move in next door, and Rose barges into her life. Rose, along with recently widowed Stanley, push Eudora way outside of her comfort zone. As they all become close, Eudora can’t help but think about events in her past and all of the people who came and went.

Will the whirlwind adventures and new friendships in Eudora’s life be enough to make her reconsider her decision regarding her death?

I wasn’t expecting to love this gem as much as I did, but I absolutely adored Eudora, Rose, Stanley, and many other characters. It’s a very sweet and emotional story that had me smiling, laughing, and bawling at different times. It also made me think about my own life. I asked myself, “Self, are you living life to the fullest?” I don’t think I am, and I would love to change that (maybe if COVID ever ends). 😷

If you love a great cast of characters and charming scenarios, plus emotional depth, I recommend this to you.
Profile Image for Regina.
1,136 reviews3,341 followers
March 12, 2021
The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett is a lovely addition to what I like to call the “cozy coot canon,” which is the trending genre of fiction centered around an aging main character who’s had it with life until something (or more often, someone) shows there’s still beauty left in the world. A broader newish term for it is Up Lit - life-affirming stories that can kick you in the feels while also tickling your funny bone.

Welcoming Eudora into the club are characters like Britt-Marie, Arthur Pepper, Harold Fry, and of course King of the Coots - Ove.

We pick up with her at the age of 85 just as she's decided she doesn’t need to see 86. She’s putting a plan in motion to end her life in a manner of her choosing rather than waiting to die naturally and potentially painfully. Meanwhile, a family moves in nearby bringing unique and colorful 10-year-old Rose to the neighborhood. Rose is a breath of fresh air who causes Eudora to both get out of the house more and reflect back on her life starting in WWII when her father went off to war.

True to the genre, Eudora’s life has been quite sad. So sad, in fact, that her suffering has been almost Job-like. She never can catch a break, and tragedy abounds. While I was reading I kept thinking of all the people I WOULDN’T recommend this book to. If you’re sensitive to themes of suicidal thoughts, abuse, or encroaching spinsterhood, this probably isn’t one you’ll want to read. But if you enjoy books with quirky characters and quests for silver linings, The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett would do quite well.

3.5 stars rounded up since I'm looking forward to reading more from author Annie Lyons.

This review and other bookish content can be found on my blog: www.confettibookshelf.com and Bookstagram: @confettibookshelf
Profile Image for Larry H.
2,514 reviews29.5k followers
February 8, 2021
4.5 stars, rounded up.

The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons is one of those books that makes you feel like you're getting a big hug even as you may be tearing up.

Eudora Honeysett is 85 years old. She’s lived alone since her mother died 13 years earlier, and she has only a cantankerous cat to keep her company. She’s very particular of things, including the way people behave, and she doesn’t have friends. That’s just fine with her.

She’s decided she’s ready to die, and has found a clinic in Switzerland to help her reach the end of her life on her own terms. She has to convince them she’s not making this decision lightly or because she’s depressed.

The last thing she’s prepared for is new next-door neighbors, including an irrepressible 10-year-old girl named Rose. Rose takes an immediate interest in Eudora and wants to be friends with her, and before Eudora knows it, this whirlwind and her family—as well as another neighbor—have worked their way into her life.

But while Eudora genuinely enjoys the companionship and Rose’s constant enthusiasm, she’s not going to let anything derail her plans. And she also tries to keep her heart protected after it was damaged by hurt and guilt earlier in life.

This is a wonderfully heartwarming, emotional book, which shifts back and forth between the present and Eudora’s memories of growing up during WWII and her relationships with family and friends that still shape who she is and how she reacts to people and situations.

Yes, we’ve seen this story before. Eudora isn’t quite as curmudgeonly as Ove (of A Man Called Ove ) or other similar characters, but there are themes you’ll recognize. However, this didn’t matter one bit to me. This book made me smile and it made me cry a little (something was in my eye, lol), and I enjoyed it a great deal.

William Morrow Books provided me a complimentary copy of The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett in exchange for an unbiased review. Thanks for making it available!

Check out my list of the best books of the decade at https://itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com/2020/01/my-favorite-books-of-decade.html.

See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

Follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/the.bookishworld.of.yrralh/.
Profile Image for Sandysbookaday .
2,053 reviews2,105 followers
January 3, 2021
EXCERPT: When Eudora Honeysett hears the flip-clunk of her letterbox on this particular Thursday morning, her heart skips before she pulls it back down to earth like a rapidly descending hot air balloon. It will be junk mail as usual. Unsolicited junk. As she struggles to a standing position, retrieves her stick and anchors herself to gravity, Eudora marvels, not for the first time, at humanity's ability to fill the world with unwanted junk. The oceans are stuffed with plastic, the landfills with broken three-year-old fridges, and her doormat with an endless littering of pizza leaflets, advertisements for retirement homes, and flyers from individuals offering to re-pave a driveway she doesn't have. Occasionally, she casts a critical eye over the expensively produced retirement home brochures filled with photographs of smiling elderly couples toasting their successful move to the old person's equivalent of a Premier Inn. Eudora can't imagine anything worse. She was born in this house, and intends to die in this house, hopefully sooner rather than later.

ABOUT 'EUDORA HONEYSETT IS QUITE WELL, THANK YOU': Eudora Honeysett is done – with all of it. Having seen first-hand what a prolonged illness can create, the eighty-five-year-old has no intention of leaving things to chance. With one call to a clinic in Switzerland she takes her life into her own hands.

But then ten-year-old Rose arrives in a riot of colour on her doorstep. Now, as precocious Rose takes Eudora on adventures she’d never imagined she reflects on the trying times of her past and soon finds herself wondering – is she ready for death when she’s only just experienced what it’s like to truly live?

MY THOUGHTS: Initially I didn't particularly like Eudora Honeysett. We've all known an elderly woman like her, self-contained, forever correcting grammar and pronunciation, and complaining about everything. She doesn't join in with anything, doesn't associate with anyone. Her routine is rigid. She is lonely, but would never admit it. But as her life story was revealed, I began to understand her. By the end of the audiobook, I admired her.

This is the story of an elderly woman facing death, on her terms. This is not a depressing story. It is a story of hope. It is confirmation that it is never too late to start living, or to make friends.

It would have been easy to over-sentimentalise this tale, but Annie Lyons has adroitly avoided this trap. Instead it is poignant and touching, honest and realistic.

The character of Rose, the child next door, who inveigles herself into Eudora's life, is a breath of fresh air. Rose is full of life, of joy de vivre. She is a force to be reckoned with, impossible to resist. She is a child who prefers the company of adults after being bullied at school. Her family adopts Eudora, and Rose and Stan, the man who rescues Eudora after a fall, slowly broaden Eudora's horizons.

We all think about death and, naturally at her age, so does Eudora. Annie Lyons uses Eudora's story to introduce us to the concept of the death doula, and the option of the arranged death. There is a lot of information contained in this story, unbiased and unemotionally presented.

Narrator Nicolette McKenzie does a wonderful job of the many different voices and I will be watching for her name on other recordings.


#EudoraHoneysettisQuiteWellThankYou #NetGalley

THE AUTHOR: After a career in bookselling and publishing, Annie Lyons published five books including the best-selling, Not Quite Perfect. When not working on her novels, she teaches creative writing. She lives in south-east London with her husband and two children.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Harper Collins Audio UK, One More Chapter via Netgalley for providing an audio ARC of Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You, written by Annie Lyons and narrated by Nicolette McKenzie. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the about page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

This review and others are also published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and my webpage https://sandysbookaday.wordpress.com/...
Profile Image for Liz.
2,147 reviews2,767 followers
January 31, 2022
As I age, I better appreciate books where the main character is older. I especially appreciate characters who are prickly and alone, as opposed to those sweet old souls who are surrounded by loving families. Eudora Honeysett is such a character. She’s 85, never married and attempting to sign up for assisted suicide, so as not to be dependent on others, drooling while sitting in wet adult diapers. But life has other plans. Rose, all of ten years old, moves in next door and immediately befriends Eudora. Even Eudora is forced to recognize that Rose is a force of nature. Rose also brings Stanley into the mix, another elderly neighbor.
Intermingled with the current day are memories of Eudora’s younger years. Let me just say, if I’d had her mother and sister, I would have run away and joined the circus. Both are ugly, needy souls. Unfortunately, Eudora felt the need to put those two ahead of her own needs.
I liked that while Eudora isn’t warm and cuddly, she isn’t without feelings and actually enjoys Rose and Stanley. She felt very real and I loved watching her as her life grew with the addition of these two.
I recommend this for anyone interested in an emotional story that covers some deep topics, especially death on one’s own terms. There are enough chuckles to weigh against the sorrows presented.
I was very impressed by Nicolette Mackenzie as the narrator.
Profile Image for DeAnn.
1,359 reviews
September 8, 2020
5 Unicorn Stars

This is a terrific book! I truly enjoyed being part of Eudora’s life and watching her change through the book. Eudora is 85 and ready to leave this world and she’s found her path to do just that. She’s no nonsense and prefers her solitary life.

It’s funny how life sometimes gets in the way of your plans though. She gets a new wonderful neighbor family with 10-year-old Rose who in in close competition for my favorite character in this book. Rose loves fashion and dressing in amazing colors that match her bright personality. She also loves to visit Eudora and her cat, too often for Eudora’s taste. She also loves to hear about Eudora’s early life and finds herself more at ease with older adults than kids her own age.

Together with another older neighbor who has recently been widowed – Stanley – this trio builds a unique friendship and looks out for each other. I adored Stanley’s two dogs as well. These friends have some fun adventures with shopping, swimming, pizza parlors, and a senior group.

At the end of each chapter, we read about a part of Eudora’s life growing up and we start to understand how the events in her life have turned her into this woman at age 85.

For fans of “Eleanor Oliphant” and “Me Before You” this book was an engaging heartfelt read for me. It made me think about death and how to have a “good death” and made me aware that there are death doulas. We celebrate birth and shy away from talking about death. Eudora makes a big impact on Rose and Stanley and I find myself still thinking about her. I highly recommend this one along with a fresh box of tissues.

Thank you to Book Club Girls/William Morrow for an early copy to read through NetGalley. This one is now available.
Profile Image for Katie B.
1,352 reviews3,007 followers
November 11, 2020
Every once in awhile I fall in love with a fictional character and that's definitely the case with Eudora Honeysett. She's at the twilight of her life and as the reader you get to see some of the events that shaped her as a person. If you liked Maurice Hannigan from When All Is Said by Anne Griffin, I definitely recommend getting to know Eudora as well.

Fair warning, the story explores the topic of assisted suicide so it might not be the right read for everyone. In this case, Eudora Honeysett is 85 years old and is able to get around as well as just about anyone that age. She hasn't received a terminal illness diagnosis but she wants to plan her death so she can go out on her terms rather than potentially spend her final days wasting away in a hospital. So she calls a clinic in Switzerland that specializes in assisted suicide and is told she will need to go through a screening process to determine if she meets the criteria to be put on the patient list.

There are many words to describe Eudora and one that comes to mind is curmudgeon. She likes to swim and do crossword puzzles and is basically alone in this world. But then she meets her new neighbor, ten-year-old Rose Trewidney. Rose is a bundle of energy and sure seems fond of Eudora. It usually requires a bit of begging but Rose is successful in getting Eudora to hang out with her and Stanley, a widower who also lives in the neighborhood. Being around a young girl brings back memories of Eudora's childhood.

In the hands of a less talented writer, the characters of Eudora and Rose might not have worked but I think this author managed to make them interesting without venturing into annoying territory. Rose has oodles of energy and a vibrant personality and it came across as sweet rather than irritating. And of course Eudora easily could be considered grumpy but with all of the background history, you understand her personality better. The characters by far are the strength of the story and after I finished reading the book, it almost felt like a privilege to be a part of their fictional world for a bit. A wonderful read that touched my heart.

I received a free copy of this book from William Morrow. All thoughts expressed are my honest opinion.

Profile Image for Marilyn.
855 reviews276 followers
November 8, 2020
I can’t begin to tell you how much I loved The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett by Annie Lyons! If you are looking for a feel good book with lots of valuable lessons you should definitely read this book. It was a character driven book with several very likable characters. I fell in love with Eudora, 10 year old Rose and recently widowed Stanley. The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett will put a smile on your face. This book focused on the ideas of friendship, family, keeping promises, dealing with death, love and connections with others.

Eudora Honeysett was eighty five years old when she first appeared in The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett. She was adamant about taking charge of when and how she would die. After watching her mother die in a hospital connected to all kinds of machines surrounded by strangers and seeing older people in her neighborhood transported by ambulance to hospitals only to die in the back of the ambulances she was determined to choose for herself when and how she would leave this world. She would leave this world on her own terms. Eudora was not afraid of dying. At eighty five, her body was starting to break downbut she felt like she lived long enough. There was a clinic in Switzerland that helped people end their lives. With no family or friends, Eudora felt that this would be the perfect solution for her. She contacted the clinic and started the process.

Then a new family moved next door to Eudora. Before Eudora knew what was happening, inquisitive, fashion diva, ten year old Rose Trewidney entered her life in a big way. Eudora came across as a grumpy old lady. She detested loud noises and had no use for friendships or happiness. As much as Eudora wanted to be left alone so she could proceed to get the business of ending her life in order, she could not ignore or deny the irresistible charm of Rose. “There’s something about her tenacious character that she admires.” One day, Rose accompanied Eudora to the post office where they ran into Stanley Marcham. Stanley was a widower that lived down the street from Eudora and Rose. The three were soon inseparable and together they embarked on a series of adventures. Rose would soon come to consider Eudora and Stanley her best friends. Would these new friends come to influence Eudora’s decision to end her life?

Glimpses of Eudora’s earlier life were revealed near the end of each chapter. Without realizing how much responsibility Eudora’s father placed on Eudora’s shoulders before he went to fight in World War II, the words her father spoke to her that day would come to shape the rest of her life. Eudora’s life revolved around looking out for her mother and sister. That was the promise Eudora made to her father before he departed. Eudora would sacrifice her own wants, needs and desires because she would always put her mother’s and sister’s well being before her own well being. The hardships Eudora endured helped to shape her into the old, cranky, and lonely woman she became.

The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett reminded me a little of the book Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine. I found myself laughing out loud at times. My heart ached for Eudora at other times. The characters in this book were so brilliantly developed that it was easy to fall in love with them. Annie Lyons masterfully told a touching story that involved friendships that crossed generations. It was a very special book and I highly recommend it.

Profile Image for Kat (Books are Comfort Food).
235 reviews253 followers
November 15, 2021
3.5 stars rounded up.

Eudora is 85. She is lonely, tired of living and being old. She feels her mortality and she wants to die on her own terms rather than dying in a hospital with machines, robbing her of her dignity. She contacts a hospital in Switzerland that offers life ending options and begins the process for those options.

When Rose and her family moves in next store, Eudora gets a little more excitement than she desires. It’s impossible for her to escape Rose, a 10 year old with a gift of gab and colorful (to say the least) personality. I loved the friendship and how Rose brought out memories and fun that Eudora hasn’t experienced in years. I felt Eudora thawing some of her coldness and Rose being mature and interested in Eudora’s life.

The book has alternating chapters where we learn of Eudora’s past and upbringing. She had a hard life, full of guilt and self-sacrifices. While I understand things were tough during war times, I felt that Eudora should have taken better care of her own life and so there were some spots of annoyance for me.

In the end, Eudora has choices to make about her own ending. But which one she makes is based on what she chooses to let go of.

Overall, this was a lovely story chocked full of good characters, many of whom anyone would love to call friends.
Profile Image for Victoria.
412 reviews326 followers
February 7, 2021
Eudora Honeysett is ready to pull the plug on her life if only the irrepressible little girl next door and the widower who shares his feelings too willingly wouldn’t take up so much of her time.

Eudora doesn’t have time for this. She has a death to plan and can’t allow the distraction of human kindness to stand in her way.

This is a charming, witty and wise story with equal measures of joy and heartbreak. The present day adventures of this unlikely trio are interspersed with flashbacks of Eudora’s life, the sacrifices and sorrows, the promise that shaped her life. And through it all, the author asks us to look at aging through Eudora’s eyes and to consider on what terms we choose to live.

The older she gets, the more redundant she feels. It’s as if her life is a long corridor lined with different doors leading to activities past and present. In her youth, she could enter through any number of these doors. Everything was possible. Now, most of the door are marked with strict ‘no entry’ signs.

I loved these characters and this endearing story. There is a certain dignity in its telling and despite what may seem a grim subject, it was life affirming and joyful, a feel-good read and one I will long remember wistfully. Highly recommended for those who like their characters quirky and their fiction thoughtful.
Profile Image for Elyse Walters.
4,010 reviews623 followers
August 25, 2021
Totally irresistible — emotionally rich- filled with heart & warmth—
heartbreaking- ultimately, uplifting — gentle humor-

“I want death to find me tending my cabbages”.

Profile Image for Javier.
820 reviews212 followers
November 18, 2020
"Life is precious and as long as we have a reason to continue, we should follow that path"

Do you know how there are some books that while you're reading them you immediately know are gonna stay with you for a very long time? Well, "Eudora Honeysett is quite well, thank you" was that kind of book for me. Although it deals with some deep issues, it does it in a such a natural way that it was a delight reading it.

Eudora is 85 years old and done with this world. After many sufferings and with her health starting to fail she's decided she wants to end things on her own terms. Rose is her new neighbor, a 10 years old with an outgoing nature and a peculiar fashion sense. Along with Stanley, a recent widower, they make Eudora reflect about her past, her life and what lies ahead.

If this review contains some typos it's because my eyes are still blurry after finishing this. It's not usual for me to cry with a book, but I'm not ashamed to say that in this case I had to keep some tissues at hand while reading cause there were several moments were I found big fat tears rolling down my face and a lump in my throat. It is such a moving story.

Eudora, Rose and Stanley might be some of the most lovable characters I've had the pleasure to read. Ever. They were quirky, funny, well drawn out, managing to move you from laughs to tears in a matter of seconds. I specially loved Rose's character, such an insightful 10 yo, so full of life and at the same time with such an adult take in some issues, as her vision of death as something not to be afraid of. I would definitely want her as a friend and as a fashion guru!

I felt for Eudora so much during the whole story. Loved those glimpses into her past that showed us how she came to be the person she is now. It was so despairing seeing how she put the weight of the world on her shoulders, caring all the time about other people's needs, but what about her needs? I would have liked so much to be able to tell her to live her life for herself and not for others.

A moving story about friendship, death, and most of all life and how it pass you by in a blink, hencefore the importance of living it to the fullest, not letting you be held back by your own history.

Thanks to Netgalley and Harper Collins UK, One More Chapter for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kerrin .
306 reviews227 followers
April 28, 2023
A charming story about an 85 year old spinster who wants to die with dignity on her own terms. I would have given it 5-stars, but I didn't like Stella, Eudora's sister. I guessed that storyline quickly.
Profile Image for NZLisaM.
414 reviews414 followers
March 20, 2022
I guarantee Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You, will brighten any day – as rewarding and uplifting as it was touching and affecting.

Neither sick, depressed, nor fearful, eighty-five year old Eudora Honeysett is ready for her end of life. But, rather than waiting for it, she has made the decision to arrange her death on her own terms, at a time and place she chooses.

Then, like the whirlwind that she is, Rose moves in next door – a ten-year-old lively ball of energy, who never stops talking, and loves all things bright and shiny. At first Eudora is resistant to the little girl’s attempts to befriend her, just wants to be left alone, but Rose’s determination and positive nature is infectious, and little-by-little Eudora’s life is changing, whether she wants it to or not.

I delighted in reading this book – every page, every chapter was inspirational, without being sappy or fluffy. Keep those tissues nearby though for some sad, poignant moments. The friendships depicted in this book (in particular those that bridged the generational gap) were natural, real, reciprocal, amusing and heart-melting. All the characters were simply amazing, especially adorable Rose. Everyone needs a Rose in their life.

It dealt with some pretty heavy topics – WW2, the London blitz, depression, loneliness, bullying, domestic violence, grief and loss, not to mention some pretty frank discussion regarding death and assisted dying. The entire book was narrated by Eudora in the third person with every chapter ending with a snapshot of her childhood, early adult life.

The audio was spectacular. Nicolette McKenzie was magnificent as Eudora Honeysett – it felt like Eudora was sitting in my living room speaking directly to me. And she did a brilliant job of the various British, Canadian, and Swiss accents, and her child voices, and even her baby one, were all fantastic.

If you haven’t already, I invite you to read Eudora Honeysett’s story. I’m just sorry I waited so long. I’ll definitely be looking at other books Annie Lyons has written.

Published in the US under the title, The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett, which I personally think isn’t as catchy. The cover art for both editions is equally gorgeous though.

I’d like to thank Netgalley, Harper Collins Audio UK One More Chapter, and Annie Lyons for the audio-ARC.
Profile Image for Em Lost In Books.
905 reviews1,818 followers
December 15, 2021
I picked this thinking it was a light and humorous book. But as soon as I realized the protagonist was 85 year old and what she intends to do with her life, I groaned. After reading about 7-8 books in succession where death shaped the story, I was not ready for another one. In fact, I picked it specially to avoid all that. My bad luck that I went and started this thinking this would uplift my morose mood.

After reading this, I am happy that I didn't stop after my first meeting with Eudora Honeysett. She started as a grumpy old lady but once 10 year old Rose, child of her new neighbor, entered her life, she slowly starts to unwind. Add Stanley, her other neighbor, to the mix and this trio is the perfect antidote to boredom and loneliness, i.e. constant companions of Eudora.

I loved how the author explore the topic of old age and childhood. One life that is near death and other about to bloom, one about to extinguish from the world and other about to explore the world. They were opposite of each other and yet blended so perfectly together. This made me happy.

Highly recommended.
Profile Image for Dana.
716 reviews9 followers
November 4, 2020
What a beautiful book! I completely fell in love with these characters. All the stars!

Huge thank you to Sweetreads Box for another fantastic book choice!
Profile Image for Diane Barnes.
1,301 reviews450 followers
November 15, 2020
This book manages to be entertaining without being cute, inspiring without being preachy, and a good lesson for everyone without trying to serve up moralistic mumbo jumbo. We get the story of Eudora's life from 1940 on right alongside her life in the present as an 85 year old woman, ready to die. The characters were so wonderful and real. I would love to have a 10 year old Rose in my life. Recommended for young and old.
Profile Image for Mo.
1,628 reviews163 followers
March 9, 2023
Why am I reading this when I'm not enjoying it at all? It is completely predictable and feels like a poor man's Ove.

A Man Called Ove (The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett)
by Fredrik Backman (Annie Lyons)

A grumpy yet loveable man (woman) finds his (her) solitary world turned on its head when a boisterous young family moves in next door.

Meet Ove (Eudora). He's (she's) a curmudgeon, the kind of man (woman) who points at people he (she) dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his (her) bedroom window. He (she) has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him (her) the bitter neighbor from hell, but must Ove (Eudora) be bitter just because he (she) doesn't walk around with a smile plastered to his (her) face all the time?

Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two (one) chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove's mailbox (knocks on her door), it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul (laughter). All of which will change one cranky old man (woman) and a local residents' association to their very foundations.

I bailed on page 149
Profile Image for Meagan (Meagansbookclub).
404 reviews1,982 followers
November 22, 2020
Review ▫️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

I haven’t read a book like this in awhile. My heart grew about 100x by the time I finished. It was as if A Man Called Ove and a WW2 historical fiction book had a baby? I’m not even sure if I’m allowed to say that Eudora might be better than A Man Called Ove (because Backman), but I’m not not saying that, get it?

Anyway, grab a box of tissues, and cozy up with a blanket. You won’t be disappointed! (But don’t tell me if you are disappointed 😆).
Profile Image for Jasmine from How Useful It Is.
1,339 reviews352 followers
December 12, 2020
This book was a fantastic read! I liked Eudora. Rose was a great character as well as Stanley. Loved those carefree days where Rose just invited herself into her neighbor's house that she just met and made herself at home. It was hilarious when she invited her two neighbors: Stanley & Eudora to her house for tea and calling each other by their last name. Eudora's attitude to spite Stanley was funny. Just as the present day was full of humor, the past will tug at your heartstrings. Eudora was a good daughter and an awesome big sister. I enjoyed Eudora's kindness and no nonsense attitude towards unkind people.

This book started with Eudora Honeysett, 85 living an active life despite her old age and joint pain. She lived alone with her cat, Montgomery, and had no family or relatives. She didn't worry about death when it came to it and in fact, she's actually ready for it. The story then switched to the past, starting 1940 when Eudora (Dora) was a little girl around 7 years old and bombings in London by Hitler was happening. Her dad was called to war and she grew up before her age to take care of her mom and her new sister. The story switched back to the present day and Eudora finally made that inevitable phone call to take control of her immediate future because she doesn't want her future to be stuck wearing adult diapers or worse. Then Eudora met her new neighbors, Rose and Stanley, and little things started to change.

The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett was a fast paced read and one that got me giggling often. This story definitely pulled out all of my emotions from me. A thought provoking read, this book has an interesting idea about life and death, family and friendship. I liked how the story showed a full path taken by each woman: Beatrice, Eudora, Stella, and Sylvia. I loved that this story encourages kindness from people. A very well written book, I highly recommend everyone to read it!

xoxo, Jasmine at www.howusefulitis.wordpress.com for more details

I won a copy of this book from Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review.
Profile Image for Jane.
959 reviews62 followers
September 12, 2020
4.5 stars

You can read all of my reviews at Nerd Girl Loves Books.

I absolutely loved this book! It is so sweet and life affirming-I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend you read it.

Eudora Honeysett is 85 years old and is done with life. She wants to leave on her own terms and sets a plan in motion to do just that. Of course, when we make plans, God laughs... Enter 10 year-old Rose Trewidney.

Rose is a whirling dervish of energy, sparkles and color. She has an endearing enthusiasm for life and despite Eudora's desire to be left alone to set her affairs in order, Rose has other plans. Before she knows it, Eudora is swept up in Rose's wake. She suddenly has BFFs in Rose and neighbor Stanley, and is getting out and about attending parties, afternoon tea, shopping and going to the beach. Eudora is embraced by Rose and Stanley's families, which reminds her of her unhappy and difficult family life. Inserted throughout the book are memories of Eudora's past, explaining how she ended up alone and unmarried.

Eudora starts out a prim and solitary person. She's not exactly grumpy or cranky because she's not unkind, she's just very closed off and open displays of emotion makes her uncomfortable. There are probably a lot of people that can relate to Eudora. It was wonderful to see her learn to be more open with her feelings and more willing to put herself out there. She witnesses Rose and Stanley's loving and expressive families - a far cry from her own experiences - and appreciates basking in their glow.

Rose is such an effervescent and unique person - a true force of nature- and as she struggles with acceptance by her peers, Eudora helps guide her to become more confidant in herself. As a result, Rose begins to bloom in her new school.

I can't say enough wonderful things about this book. You just need to read it for yourself - you won't be sorry.

Thank you to NetGalley and HarperCollins Publishers for giving me a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Pauline.
777 reviews
August 17, 2020
Eudora is an 85 year old who is very set in her ways and feels that she has had enough of life.
When new neighbours move in next door Rose a ten year old girl decides to form a friendship with her and Eudora’s peace and quiet is now a thing of the past.
A feel good story to lift your spirits with some laugh out loud moments.
Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Collins - One more Chaper for inviting me to read this book, I enjoyed it immensely.
Profile Image for Lori Elliott (catching up).
747 reviews1,794 followers
July 3, 2021
“I always used to think it was silly when people said life was short, but I completely get that now. We’re here for such a limited time. The least we can do is try to be kind to the people around us. Humans seem to forget that so easily.” Annie Lyons- The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett

🦄🦄🦄🦄 4 unicorn stars for this gem!

I admit that Eudora did not adhere herself to me immediately… Lyons chose to write this story in a format that allowed the reader to understand where Eudora’s harsh bitterness came from. Each chapter ended with a short glimpse into her past and the challenges that made her view the world the way she did. The past sections did not stop the flow the the present storyline which I appreciated.

While I didn’t enjoy this one quite as much Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine I still think fans will find this one delightful. 4 stars.
Profile Image for NILTON TEIXEIRA.
896 reviews304 followers
October 5, 2022
3.5 stars.

What a lovely, endearing and heartwarming book.
I was hooked from the beginning and I was expecting to have my heart crushed.
I must confess that I did holdback some tears.
The writing is very, very simple but engaging.
The storyline, although thought provoking, unfortunately was not that original and it was quite predictable, but the characters are wonderful. The structure is clever, given us part of the main character’s past.
I loved Rose, the precocious and eloquent little girl.
And I loved the main character, Eudora, who reminded me of Ove (of A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman), although a more polite version.
Anyways, it was a good break from crime fiction.
Profile Image for Nursebookie.
2,192 reviews341 followers
April 28, 2021
The Brilliant Life of Eudora Honeysett (US)
Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You (UK)
By: Annie Lyons

This is one of my best reads this year and will rank as one of my top three books of 2020.

Eudora Honeysett is 85 years old and is so done with the world - the noise, anger, disrespect from others she has found herself having lived a full life and want to exit the world with dignity having no family or friends left. She will not pass away as her own mother did, with multiple hospital visits being poked and prodded only to die alone and miserable. Eudora wants to take control of her own death and exactly when she decides it to happen and has set up with a clinic in Switzerland.

While she is waiting for her affairs to be put in order, a family moves in next door and she meets an incredible ten year old Rose Trewidney, and an unlikely friendship blossomed - and with that, Eudora is opened up to meeting people in her neighborhood including a recently widowed gentleman named Stanley, and having trips to the mall, afternoon teas, shopping sprees and birthday parties.

What I loved about this is the way we learn about Eurdora's life through flashbacks in each chapter as we glean into what shaped her, her relationship with her family and friends, her love life and the many happy moments along with disappointments and hardships she has lived through.

This was such a tender and heartwarming story I enjoyed for the detailed character development, the brilliant writing, and the beautiful message of the story about life and friends as chosen families.
Profile Image for Susan Z.
668 reviews116 followers
November 29, 2020
If your heart can smile then that is exactly what happened to me while reading this book.

Eudora is 85 years old and feels like she is done with living. She lives alone but is not lonely. Or depressed. Or even sick. She just feels like she's done, it's time to go before she does get sick and ends up in a home.

She is content with life and doesn't need anything more from it. Or so she thinks. When she crosses paths with Stanley, a silver haired gent who recently lost his wife and Rose, her 10 year old lively non-stop talking neighbor, Eudora soon realizes that there was more to life than she was living.

This book was very similar to A Man Called Ove, so much so that this book could have been named A Woman Named Eudora. I certainly didn't mind the similarities since I loved Ove so much. I enjoyed a slightly different spin with the same premise.

The last 40 pages or so are so touching and emotional, I savored every word. This book will stay with me forever.
Profile Image for Jessica.
326 reviews392 followers
December 27, 2020
Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You is an enjoyable and comforting novel. Eudora’s life has been difficult and lonely. The story switches between present day and the past with Eudora’s family. The past ranges from childhood to young adult. Eudora’s family treated her bad. Her sister betrayed her. I felt bd for Eudora reading about her past especially as she was living a lonely life. Rose livened up Eudora’s life. Rose is so full of life and an entertaining character. Rose isn’t afraid to do what she wants. I liked how a young child was inspiring to an old woman. This book was very enjoyable and I recommend it to anyone that likes novels about friendship and struggling characters.

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Nicolette McKenzie and enjoyed her narration.

Thank you One More Chapter, Harper Collins Audio UK and NetGalley for Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You.

Full Review Coming Soon: https://justreadingjess.wordpress.com/
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