Joanna Nell’s books are something I only have discovered thanks to netgalley. And whenever I see a new one, I am always intrigued about what she is going to tackle next as it has at times a rather sad subject and in the main the character re those sprightly and determined older people who almost always get over looked.
The volunteers at the Marjorie Marshall Memorial Cafeteria have been raising money for various projects around the hospital for a number of years. As well as serving the traditional tea they have also provided the sympathy. The current volunteers are Hilary, manageress and with indominable spirit she runs the place with a rod of iron. She is also having to deal with elderly sister who insists on driving her to work every day and also the fact that she has left her husband after he spent all the money.
Working alongside Hillary is Joy. Joy by name and nature, never on time and with a wealth of observations about everything she will forever annoy Hillary. Then there is Chloe, seventeen years old, working towards her Duke of Edinburgh and determined to live up to her parents expectations and follow them into the medical profession. If only her heart was in it.
But longstanding traditions and volunteers don’t make good business sense. And it seems the Marjorie Marshall Memorial Cafeteria is earmarked for closure. Surely these three unlikely women can do what they can to save it.
But with their own problems as well, it seems personal and professional will cross over and have some interesting outcomes!
This book made me chuckle and cry. We learn more about the backgrounds to the three main characters as the book progresses and whilst I did work out what they all had to hide, what they gave within the pages of the book and the story made it all the more special.
This authors novels are unique, they are set in a place that you cannot really pinpoint (but if you do your research it will be Australia) but actually they could be any hospital, any cafeteria, any volunteers from anywhere in the world and the spirit and determination would be just the same. A wonderful story to add to the Joanna Nell oeuvre.
Thank you to the publisher via netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.
The Tea Ladies of St Jude’s Hospital is out now.