The Impulse Purchase by Veronica Henry
Grandmother, mother, daughter; a precious set of relationships that Veronica Henry celebrates in this novel. Yes, there may be tensions, even arguments, but this novel is about how generations of women can and do work together for their own good and those around them. This novel is based around Cherry, Maggie and Rose, and what happens when they join in a venture to resurrect a village pub as the centre of a community. The strong ties between them, and back to Catherine, Cherry’s mother, and Gertie, Rose’s daughter, transform the narrative of this book, as well as other characters that are drawn in; each character is consistent and well written and has a solid reality. Mainly set in contemporary Britain, this is a book that looks at things that can affect lives for years, can be positive and negative, but always genuine. It is escapist and reassuring, but also surprising and even challenging, as certain actions and events have the familiarity of real life. This is the sort of book to give to the significant people in your life, as I have done with my daughter, and to certainly enjoy it yourself! I was very pleased to have the opportunity to read and review this memorable book.
The Prologue is set three years before the start of the main novel, and features Rose giving birth at home with just the midwife for company. Not that her mother, grandmother and great-grandmother would be unwelcome, but Rose is determined that her baby will come into the world quietly and with as little fuss as possible. She thinks of her late and much loved father, Frank, whose sudden death had rocked her and her mother Maggie. As Cherry and Maggie turn up, and Catherine is told of Gertie’s safe arrival, the women are drawn together by their strong bond. In the first chapter the scene changes to Cherry and Mike’s house. They have been together for many years, the art professor and the capable house buyer and transformer. Mike is about to retire, and Cherry has organised a suitable celebration of his decades of work. An incident occurs which subtly changes Cherry’s view of life, so when she pays her last visit to her late mother’s house the following day she is more easily overwhelmed by memories and sadness. As she passes the Swan, the pub in the centre of the village of Rushbrook, she realises that the pub where she had worked as a teenager is looking defeated and is about to be redeveloped.On the strength of the money she has inherited, she quickly offers to buy it. She has plenty of experience at refurbishing and transforming houses, and the combination of her memories and vision makes her confident of her ability to return it to its glory days. Maggie, meanwhile, is struggling with her PR company, and is perhaps receptive to another project. Rose is an anxious young woman who has been working as a volunteer while Gertie has attended nursery school, but has finally hit a crisis. In Rushbrook, Chloe is a teenage girl who is struggling to cope with her own mother’s issues, and who cannot see a way forward. Possibly the pub gives a potential focus for more than one woman in the immediate future. It soon becomes evident that relationships outside the building are anything but straightforward, so can the pub really be transformed and change lives for the better, or is it an impulse purchase too far?
This is a really excellent read based on the realities of contemporary relationships and the need for a community to have a real focus. It handles a multitude of issues sensitively, and gives a real impression of the strength that women can find together and within themselves. I really enjoyed this book, and recommend it.